Thursday, March 10, 2011

A short conversation with...Tom Hierck @UMAKADIFF

I recently discovered a website named Teachmeet New Jersey: Fresh Ideas for Education. The site introduces educators to its readers by conducting short interviews. I really like that idea so I asked a few people from my PLN to answer a few questions about education. Enjoy.

Tom Hierck

How long have you been teaching?

This is my 28th year in a career that started as a high school science teacher and flowed through being a special education instructor, vice-principal, principal, president of the BCPVPA, project manager for the Ministry of Education, and to my current role as Assistant Superintendent. I always think of myself as a teacher but do note that my classroom has changed considerably.

Has your educational philosophy changed since you began teaching?

Interesting question as I was reviewing this just recently. Here is part of what I wrote some time ago and that still resonates with me today. My philosophy of education is summarized by this belief: every student is a success story waiting to be told. All of us in the education system have a responsibility to help them tell that story. The role of the school in society is an ever-changing one. We live in a time where change is rapid. Schools are charged with the responsibility to meet the demands of this society. Within the least restrictive environment possible, schools must provide opportunities for all students to enjoy success. Every student who enters our classrooms in September will be different in June. How they change rests, in part, with the experiences they have during the school year. School needs to be a place where students want to go and where they feel they are accomplishing something of value.

If so, what led to this change? Was it a gradual process or a specific event?

As I said above, it wasn’t so much a change as a reaffirmation. I think I may have lost my way a bit as a teacher when I was building my career and the different vantage point I had moving into an administrative role highlighted for me again the absolute necessity to create positive relationships in order to add educational value to the lives of others.

Has Twitter played a role in your evolution as a teacher? If so, how?

Late to get started but thoroughly enjoying the insights shared by others. It’s a great tool that augments other aspects of the work I do. As a presenter and authour I’m always looking for others’ reaction to events or changes in our environment. I’ve seen some brilliant things come across the twittersphere in the short time I’ve been a part of the community.

Tom's Blog

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