11 Answers – Part 1

Recently, I was kindly tagged in this ’11 Questions’ meme by Ian Guest. Once tagged, you are encouraged to answer 11 questions, then pose 11 further questions of 11  unsuspecting victims worthy recipients. As I have been somewhat AWOL on the blogosphere lately, I also owe DJ Thompson answers to his 11 Questions, so I will get to those in my next post! Best you get a cup of tea and make yourself comfortable…

The following are Ian’s questions. Read his full blog post here.

1. What teacher had the most influence on you and why?

Both of my parents are teachers, so I think I would have to name them as having the most influence on my life! My father is/was a Music teacher (can you ever really STOP being a teacher?), and my mother is currently a teacher of the deaf. While I could list endless things I learned from both Mum and Dad, in the interest of brevity, I will cut it down to one main thing: my parents are both learners and value learning.

I am the eldest of 3 girls, and there was a point when I was the least educated member of my family – Mum had M. Special Ed, Dad had a Doctorate, my middle sister was (is!) a Doctor and my youngest sister had an M. Business & Finance! I HAD to get an M. Ed just to keep up! They don’t just care about academic learning though, they are always learning new things, which is a fabulous model, especially for my children. I love the way my Dad teaches my kids the ukulele when we visit them at Christmas, and my Mum teaches them outdoorsy things like how to dig up potatoes. In turn, they are incredibly responsive when my two want to show them the hotel they built in Minecraft…


My lovely family at Christmas 2013

2. During your career, which student (without naming them!) most sticks in your mind and for what reason?

Upon reading this question, a number of faces flashed up in my mind. Some students really stick with you over the years, don’t they? Breaking the rules, I can’t choose just one. Here are some vignettes:

An 11 year old boy came to mind immediately. For some reason, we both kind of clicked. I got him, and he got me. He was a gentle soul, very bright, thoughtful, funny and kind. I used to have a post box in my class, and would encourage the class to write ‘letters’ to each other, and each Friday we’d deliver the mail. I know that I wrote to all my students, and I’m fairly certain they all wrote to me, however it is his letters that I remember the most. They made me feel like I was making a difference. I left for England midway through that year, and it was quite heartbreaking leaving that class and him in particular. He was the first to teach me about MSN Messenger, and I was fairly enthralled with technology from then on.

A 12 year old girl is another student I will always remember. She was mercilessly teased throughout her primary years for being quite different. She had closely cropped hair, a very deep voice, and had come out as gay early on. By the time she arrived at our middle school, teasing her was almost an expected norm. Although fiercely intelligent and an incredible writer, she didn’t understand the social mores of middle school. I would like to say I stamped out all the bullying – I certainly tried – though I suspect it never went away for long. I did my best to make her feel like she was not alone and that she had someone to talk to.

A 12 year old boy from South Africa was in that same class, and he had the highest emotional intelligence of any kid that age I have ever met. He was incredibly polite, having just arrived from a country where “Yes ma’am,” or “No sir,” was the norm. Very unlike most NZ students! I asked him once, why he never joined in with some others in teasing the girl above. He said, “I just don’t see the point in making her life any worse.” I wish more students felt the same way.

The best part for me, is being able to see these wonderful students grow up to be impressive young people. I am connected to each of these 3 via Facebook, and I am grateful I am able to still be a part of their lives, all these years hence.

3. What was your most abiding memory of school dinners?

This question made me laugh. We never had any! Not growing up! That’s not how NZ schools work. You bring a packed lunch every day, or buy something at the school canteen (IF your school had one).

However, when we worked at a boarding school in England, we had school dinners. Generally we thought they were pretty fantastic (they sure beat sandwiches), especially roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings. Worst thing: turkey twizzlers. Jamie Oliver would have kittens!

4. Two Harry Potter inspired questions now. If you had Harry’s cloak of invisibility, what educational event would you like to unobtrusively observe and why?

I think ISTE. It’s huge, which I find a bit intimidating, and I don’t know very much about it. All the more reason to go!

5. What aspect of education or the classroom would you most like to wave your wand over and why? Educatio revisiorum!

Urk. What to choose? Probably standardised testing, especially when having to handwrite exams. I see the insistence on handwritten tests/exams to be outdated and unfair. Students should have a choice.

6. For any historical figure of your choice, what might they have tweeted at a significant moment for them?


Kate Sheppard – Check her out!

7. What’s your favourite online video (for any reason) and why? (A link would be good)

So very many to choose from, but Miss Representation needs (and deserves!) a wider audience.

8. In Horizon report style, which technology-enabled educational activity is likely to be becoming more mainstream in 3-ish years?

Gaming. Hopefully games for change. I’d encourage all teachers to try out gaming (here’s a good place to start looking if you want to use games at school). It’s a lot of fun, and you can even learn a thing or two!

9. Which fictional character would you most like as a work colleague and why?

My work colleagues are pretty amazing, I have to say! Perhaps Hermione Granger, on account of her vast knowledge, and, let’s be honest – it’d be cool to have a wizard on your team.

10. What educational movement or initiative, currently in its infancy, will endure and why?

I hope the equivalent of Google’s 20% time: Passion Projects. I hope that students will be encouraged to delve deeply into their passion, and that it will be seen to be of value both for the students themselves, and the people with whom they share their passion.

11. Which educator (dead or alive, real or fictional, famous or not) would you most like to interview or enjoy the drink of your choice with and what would you be chatting about?

Dead Poets Society

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo by jdxyw: http://flickr.com/photos/jdxyw/4887363555/

John Keating, the amazing teacher in Dead Poet’s Society, played by Robin Williams. It’s one of my favourite movies ever. I loved the way John Keating diverged from the text book and made poetry and other literature come alive for those boys. When they all stand on the desks and say, “Oh captain, my captain,” it gives me shivers every time! I’ve watched it countless times.

The bonus is, I wouldn’t say no to chatting with Robin Williams either, so this is kind of a 2 for 1 deal for me.

What would we be chatting about? If it were John Keating, poetry, books, pushing boundaries, connecting with students, fabulous plays… If it were Robin Williams, well, anything he wanted to! He’d have me laughing regardless, I’m sure.

Are you still with me?

If so, here are my 11 Questions:

  1. Who was your most memorable teacher, and why?
  2. Who is one of your educational mentors, and what makes them so special?
  3. Which song describes how you are feeling today? Add the youtube clip if possible 🙂
  4. What is your favourite restaurant/place to eat in the city in which you live, and why?
  5. Which video is *cracking you up right now? (*making you laugh) Give us the link!
  6. What is one thing you learned recently, that wouldn’t have been possible without technology? How did you learn it?
  7. Can you please snap a picture of one of your everyday views, and share the photo here?
  8. What is the next place you want to visit and why?
  9. Complete this sentence: Teaching is a wonderful profession because…
  10. Can you please list 5 of your favourite movies? Feel free to elaborate on why you like them. Or not!
  11. How do you unwind on a Friday after school?

Ok peeps, I’d love to hear from the people below (and anyone else who is brave enough). Please know I understand how busy you are, and that this may be too much right now. I hope it’s a bit of fun we can share. No. Pressure! Post a link to your post in the comments so we can track them easily.

  1. Nicki Hambleton @itsallaboutart
  2. Holly Fairbrother @MrsHollyEnglish
  3. Stephanie @traintheteacher
  4. Shruti Tewari @sbtewari
  5. Erin O’Rourke @eorourkeca
  6. Joe Sergi @pep073
  7. Louise Phinney @louisephinney
  8. Dave Caleb @davecaleb
  9. Uzay Ashton @uzayashton
  10. Mel Shurtz @melshurtz
  11. Megan Graff @megangraff