My name is Rebecca Chambers and I am a high school teacher in Ottawa, Ontario Canada. I currently work in the Social Sciences dept and work with amazing students in grades 10, 11 & 12. I am originally from Hamilton, ON and went to University at The University of Western Ontario and The University of Victoria where I completed my undergraduate degree in History. I attended teachers college at Queens University and landed a full time teaching gig in Ottawa in 2003 and have been teaching ever since.
I wasn’t a huge fan of high school, so I became a teacher….
My goal as a teacher was to make my classes a place where students could feel good about who they were, gain self-confidence and to know that I cared about them. I also wanted to make it a place where students were engaged and could get out of their seats to learn the material. In the first half of my teaching career, I did the traditional PowerPoint Presentations, projects, tests and added in some fun hands-on activities to keep students engaged. I truly believe that I was quite successful in completing what I had set out to. BUT in 2011 I was introduced to Sir Ken Robinson and his TED Talk “Do Schools Kill Creativity” and I knew that things had to change. Since then I have continued to follow so many different progressive educators and have taken pieces from all of them to work on my ever-evolving classroom.
I am not completely sure how to describe my classroom other than controlled chaos. I am attempting to create a student centred, experiential, innovative and creative environment that values skills over content and reflecting on process over testing, doing things for a purpose, encouraging my students to help solve problems (Become Seekers and Peekers as Don Wettrick says) to become changemakers, to learn to embrace failure and learn from it, all while using social media….does that make sense??
PS I have wanted to write a blog for years but have an inferiority complex when it comes to writing. All the feedback I ever got from teachers and professors was that the content was excellent, but the grammar was brutal…for all you language nazi’s out there I apologize in advance, but be prepared for some not so pretty, grammatically incorrect writing. On a daily basis we expect our students to take risks and tell them not be afraid to fail, so if I continue to keep my writing to myself I am nothing but a hypocrite.
PSS I have recently taken a leave of absence from traditional teaching and have opened up a virtual alternative high school called R.I.S.E. (Reach Inspire Soar Empower) Academy. Check it out here. https://riseacademy.ca/