Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A short conversation with...Chris Kennedy @chrkennedy

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.

Chris Kennedy

How long have you been teaching?

I have been teaching for fifteen years. I have had the chance to teach in Richmond, Coquitlam and now West Vancouver. I am one of those teachers who has two parents who were also teachers, so it often feels like I have been in public education my entire life.

Has your educational philosophy changed since you began teaching?

In my first year I taught Math 8 and Math 9 as part of my assignment (my background is Social Studies and English). I remember being so concerned about being right and having all the answers. I had a really hard time admitting I didn’t know something. I thought the teacher was the person with all the answers.

I have become much more comfortable with not knowing the answers.

That said, a lot hasn’t changed for me - I still think teaching is more than a job, it is a way of life and is the greatest job in the world.

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

Absolutely - it helped get me my job -

I am about four years in to using Twitter and was actually an early adopter. I was one of those people who was having conversations about what we were having for lunch. It has been over the last two years that I have really found the power of Twitter. It is absolutely the best professional development. I love how roles and geography don’t matter - it is about ideas. I find I will often go to Twitter before e-mail and I now only check-in on Facebook once or twice a week.

Twitter has exposed me to ideas that have pushed my thinking and helped me stay current. I think my job is absolutely about knowing what is around the corner and Twitter helps me to see what is coming.

I also just love connecting face-to-face and continuing relationships on Twitter, and also with those I have met through Twitter building on these relationships face to face. I am participating in several projects now that are a direct result of Twitter relationships.

What's the best advice you have received as a teacher (or can give to a new teacher)?

My best advice for new teachers is to not believe the advice that you should just focus on your teaching and not get involved in the school. Getting involved - whether it is running a club, coaching a team, helping with a musical, organizing a talent show or anything else outside the classroom helps you know students in a different way, and helps students know you in a different way and it will create memories for you and them.

Chris Blogs Here

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