About Me

My photo
Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


ABC Wednesday is brought to you by Mrs. Nesbitt. Check out her blog and see who else contributes. Be sure to go by and comment.

Pedagogy is the art, science, or profession of teaching. The term generally refers to strategies of instruction or a style of instruction.

Some people learn how to be a teacher and some are born. I'm one of the lucky ones that was born a teacher. When I was a little girl, I used to round up all the neighbourhood kids to "play school." I was always the teacher! I made desks and chairs out of boxes if we didn't have enough little tables and I would lead "my class" in all the subjects by having them read aloud, do arithmetic skills, sing, and would even lead them in PE (running, throwing a ball, tumbling on the lawn, etc.)

My university courses weren't as effective in making me a good teacher as actually being in the Profession. Promoting effective learning can be complicated at any age or grade level. Research has found that students learn more when they:

* are actively engaged with the work
* have high but realistic expectations and goals
* receive regular, timely and specific feedback
* focus on what's most important
* are aware of their learning
* experience a balance of intellectual challenge and academic support
* are explicitly aware of preconceptions and prior learning and are willing to unlearn when necessary
* connect new and prior knowledge
* organise their learning in a meaningful way
* apply their learning to real-world situations
* they are assessed appropriately and understand the assessment criteria
* work regularly and productively with instructors
* work regularly and productively with other students
* invest time and make a committed effort.

A lot of the above came naturally to me, but I learned a lot more during my years in the profession of pedagogy. I loved every minute I spent with my students, even the ornery ones. Sometimes, they can be the most stimulating and rewarding part of a teacher's life. When you see a lightbulb go on or you see a positive change in attitude or effort you can't help but have a sense of Pride. I always felt that the best way to teach was to make the whole process FUN. If I wasn't having any fun, then the kids probably weren't, either.

I was looking through my HUGE Portfolio of photos, cards, and notes that I've received over the years from students and their parents, and there are so many fond memories there. On Saturday, in the local newspaper, there was an article about one of my former students who is now 20 years old and a student at a Canadian Christian college. My heart was full when I read he had received a special award for his work with underprivileged youth. I always knew he had it in him.

I occasionally see some of my former students around town. Some are working their way through university by waiting tables in local restaurants or in the grocery store. Some have even gone all the way to France, Germany, and/or Switzerland for higher education. I'm so proud of them. One day as I was out for a walk, a young man caught up to me and from his approximately 6'4" height, said, "Hi, Mrs. C!" He had been one of my favourite students who had a really playful way about him in school, but was not necessarily the "best" in the class. He is now a plumber's apprentice and is very happy with his life. To be remembered enough for him to stop and speak to me made my day!

But then there has been some sadness, too. In 2006, when I was at Vancouver International Airport, I ran into a former student and her mother. Mrs. V was sending her daughter Kate to England to stay with her aunt for a few months. She was so excited about her adventure and I was hoping we'd be on the same flight, but we weren't. Then when I was staying with my friends in Andover, I received word that Kate had become very ill and her aunt was sending her home. However, at Heathrow Airport, Kate collapsed and an ambulance rushed her to the hospital in London where she passed away within a few hours. So tragic! I wept for Kate and for her whole family. But I have photos of her and this note from her Mom the first year I taught Kate, which will help me to always remember her.

I wish you could see the photos, but of course I can't publish them here for privacy reasons. But here are just a few more little notes I received from other students. I love the ones that are handmade but I treasure all of them.

If anyone wants to know about "Backward Design" I'd be happy to explain it to you. It was one of my major assignments a couple of years ago when I went back to university to study higher levels of pedagogy.

NO? That's what I thought! Ha Ha


ellen b said...

Yikes I left a comment and it got eaten. I can remember all my really good teachers and I've forgotten many of the others. It's a gift to be able to teach and a wonderful experience to be taught by a gifted teacher. I'm glad your students and parents acknowledge your good efforts!

david mcmahon said...

What a beautiful post, and what sorrow I share for your student.

I often pay tribute to my teachers - they are mentioned by name in the acknowledgement page of my first novel... and I sent the first copy to my grade five teacher, who encouraged me to read my essays aloud to my class.

granmal said...

What a great legacy. You have obviously touched a lot of lives as they have yours. Beautiful written post.

Neva said...

What a wonderful post! I know you must have been a wonderful teacher! Thanks for sharing!
Mine are posted!
Neva 1
Neva 2

leslie said...

Ellen: yes, parents did acknowledge me by having their kids bring me gifts at my birthday, Christmas, and Valentine's Day along with Easte and the end of the year. I got quite spoiled.

David: I still remember some of my teachers and the impact they had on my life.

Granmal: and they touched my life, too, more than they will ever know.

Neva: Well, I hope I touched a few lives and made their time in my classroom memorable and enjoyable.

Josie said...

Leslie, I saw you in action as a teacher when we went to Phinnaeus's presentation, and I could see how professional you were, and what a good teacher. I'm sure you must have received so many accolades throughout the years!

That is a sad story about Kate. My gosh! I'm so sorry to hear that.

leslie said...

Hi Josie, yes it was a terrible shock the way Kate passed away. Her family was absolutely heartbroken! And her mother had to fly to London to bring her home. Unfortunately, I was still in England and was unable to attend the funeral but I heard there were hundreds of people there. She was only 17 years old.

Picturing of Life said...

great post

My P post in here Thanks

Paulie said...

I am sorry about your former student's demise but knowing how she spent her last days, enjoying a country you did also, should make for good memories. Your pedagogy post was excellent. I miss teaching now that I am retired.

photowannabe said...

I can tell you have the passion for teaching. Its beautiful to be remembered so fondly by so many.
That was a sad story you told. Life seems too short for some.

babooshka said...

The most informative P ost so far.
Fabulous all round.

Blue said...

What an interesting post.

Ellee Seymour said...

What a tragic story about Kate. I can tell you were a very devoted teacher and really inspired your pupils.

Ida said...

First of all- i know that you have been a good and inspiring teacher! :)
That`s important for the pupils.
Sad to read about the one who died.....
I am a supply teacher at the school here. I like it. My daughters love it! ;)


Lone Grey Squirrel said...

It is clear that as a teacher, you have been a real blessing to so many and it is only appropriate that their gratitude should in turn bless you. Thank you Mrs. C.

kissa said...

I too have kept some of the letters and cards from pupils I have taught. I also was born to the profession and loved every day I worked. I had to leave early due to health issues and would so much like to return but that won't be possible. My health issue is physical not mental so my brain thinks I can do it still but the body just can't.Hey ho I have happy memories. What a tragic story about Kate -so sad.

Gunilla said...

Oh so smart! I´ll will read more exacly when I come home from work!

Dirty Knees said...

I'm not a teacher but I AM a perpetual student. LOL It's teachers like you that inspire us. ;-)

Andrea said...

What a beautiful post.

Pernille's ting og tang said...

Very nice P!

Have fun:)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the personal post. Teaching is a rewarding and challenging experience. It is an intense year in the life of a child where you spend intense time, have personal involvment and investment and then you say good by and have to move on the the next group of percious cargo. I loved it too!

Kjerstis Hjørne said...

Smart choice for todays letter.

Pernille Police car is a car from a tv-show for kids, it's not a real police car.. I guess I should have wrote that..

Have a nice day.

Katney said...

You are so right about pedagogy. It can help a born teacher to be a better teacher, and it can help someone learn to be a teacher. But the best are those who are born teachers.

When I was a child, I had pockets and check out cards in all my own books. Though I spent some great years in the classroom, I think I was a born librarian.

I share your sadness in losing a student and shed a tear today. I was teaching first grade when, eight years ago today, one of my students was hit by a car in front of his home. It was Mother's Day. He died a couple of days later. The whole class was devastated. I was prepared that year for the possible loss of a student, as I had a child with cancer in the class. She is now a healthy teenager, and a healthy seven year old was the one we lost.

:-Daryl said...

How lovely ... teachers are the most under paid profession in the US .. I hope things are different in Canada .. you have every right to be proud of your past students, pupils .. and you continue to teach us here in blogland with your warmth and grace!


RuneE said...

Very important post and subject. Teaching is difficult at the best of times and the point you have made are very important, though not always appreciated by those who should do it.

Helena said...

My partner is a primary school teacher and I love reading the little messages and cards he gets at the end of the school year!!!

Trubes said...

Hi Leslie, That was a lovely 'post', thankyou for sharing it with us. How terribly sad, the loss of the student, so young.
My heartfelt thoughts are with her family and Friends.

You must miss your teaching, although, judging by your busy lifestyle, I doubt that you would have the time to work now!
The pictures of Eden are lovely too, isn't she pretty?

I've left youa reply to your comments on my last post. Sorry it's a bit late. We've had a very busy, long family weekend, so, I too am exhausted. Lovely time though. Wonderful for them all to be here, together, at the same time.
Happy days !


Petunia said...

A very informative post:D
It think that almost every teacher is doing a great job:)

Dragonstar said...

Wonderful post Leslie. A good teacher is a powerful influence on a young child.

Anonymous said...

Oh what a nice story! I´m sure you´re a very very very good leader and pedagog!
Today I´d a little girl at my job doing just like you´d describe you did when you where young.She collected 13 children and had a lesson with them! It was so nice listening to her language use and explanations how she wanted them to act and listen to her. Love your post today Leslie.

Janet said...

What a great choice for P. I'm going to be 65 years old this year and I still remember my first grade teacher! She was a wonderful woman and had a great influence on me. I'm sure you have many more lovely memories and hopefully not too many sad ones.

zetor said...

You must have been a great teacher. A pity all teachers aren't like you.

John said...

What a beautiful "P" post, Leslie!

Liz said...

It must be very rewarding at times. And how lovely to be appreciated like that.

Kelly said...

Thank you for this! This was terrific reading! I have in the past year rediscovered my fourth grade teacher. She was the one I remember most, very high standards, and I have been reproducing her activities with my children for years. It was extremely satisfying to tell her thank you for helping me to become me.

Suburbia said...

Hi Thanks for visiting. I'm off to bed, but will return to read more soon! Good night.

Ruth D~ said...

Backward design . . . a new name for common sense. so much in education is common sense that has been resurrected with current buzzwords. But maybe I'm jaded?

I can tell you are/were a natural born teacher. Those are the best kind.

AVCR8TEUR said...

How rewarding to teach young minds. The letters from students and parents are priceless. I applaud anyone who is/has/will become a teacher. It is a difficult profession. I can never do it.

Jan said...

What a great post. Thank you.

kRiZ cPEc said...

Thanks for sharing. :)

Gordon said...

What a great post; informative and with lovely memories.

Miss_Yves said...

A profound post.
It's a great pleasure for teachers to receive so kind letters from their puplis or students !
If you want to see some "Monet"on my blog :
you can clik on the link /Label

"Images de Paris "

I visited a few months ago
le musée de l'Orangerie
were are exhibited the famous "nymphéas"
miss Yves

Miss_Yves said...

Sorry: "pupils" of course
miss Yves

Diana said...

I never heard that word before. good post on P.

Deslilas said...

P was the letter for your Pedalogue blog.

VP said...

I'd often wondered about the name of your site. Thanks for explaining the Pedagog part. A particularly passionate P!

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