Upon Recognition, I Say Keep Pushing

These last couple of days have been a whirlwind for me.  I am very pleased that my classroom was featured in the Hamilton Spectator this week for our efforts in coding.  In 12 years of teaching, I never sought or endeavoured towards any reward for my work.  So all the tweets and emails are really overwhelming.  Some people would say I was “deflecting” praise by thanking so many people.  But the truth is, no good idea or accomplishment in teaching was ever achieved alone.  I thank Brian Aspinall, Lisa Floyd, Jonathan So, Aviva Dunsiger, Sonya Clarke, Sean Kelly and Jared Bennett.  Also, I feel very grateful to have such a lovely group of students.  What would have happened if they did not embrace coding?  There would have been no article!

Maybe the one thing I can say about myself is that my focus on teaching has increased exponentially this year.  I think about teaching constantly and I never feel like I’m doing a very good job.  It is so easy to get distracted in education with politics, job demands, the social needs of students and gossip.  This year, I have turned away all distractions to fixate on teaching and assessment like never before. In my personal life, I am big fan of Formula 1 racing.  I think about Ayrton Senna who used to drive for McLaren-Honda.  To paraphrase his words, he once said that drivers must always find a gap to push themselves forward.  If they sit back and allow things to happen, you will not win.  Drivers have to keep pushing the performance of their car.  He also said that he is so focused on racing that it has become part of him.  Couldn’t you say the same thing about teaching?  If you can’t, then it’s no longer teaching.  So as a teacher, I’ll keep pushing.


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4 Responses to Upon Recognition, I Say Keep Pushing

  1. Thanks for including me as part of this post, Enzo! I have to say though, I feel very fortunate to learn from all of you (and I giggle constantly at the fact that Brian’s name self-corrects to Brain 🙂 ). Until this year, coding was always something that I heard about, but never really thought about using (or really considered how to use). I’ve spent more time contemplating it and trying it out this year, as a way to meet curriculum expectations and help students develop thinking skills. I continue to critically contemplate how best to use coding in primary grades, but I applaud all of those that make it work so well in their classrooms.

    From the article and the video, it showed that you’re using coding as a way to help students understand curriculum content, while thinking, problem solving, persevering, and meeting with success. I love that! You’re making it clear to your students that you’re learning along with them, and you’re showing them that need to reflect, make changes, and try new things. How would you recommend that people become comfortable with always “find this gap” and making the necessary changes to “push forward?” What caused you to make such changes this year, and what impact have you seen on kids?

    Keep on blogging, sharing, and doing wonderful things! You are making a difference, Enzo, for your kids, and through what you share, for ours!


    • I have no clue why I have become so fixated on teaching. I probably realized what’s so important and noticed potential distractions. I also think EQAO has had that positive result on me . . . ironically. But why over analyse, it’s important to push forward. As for Brian’s name, I have quickly fixed it before he noticed. Though I’m sure his brain is in constant overdrive too.

  2. I was told once that “the best teachers never think they are doing enough”. Words to live by.

    Thanks for the mention. I will keep pushing on as well!

  3. I would agree with Brian. I’ve never met a teacher I would consider a skilled practitioner who claims they have it figured out. Part of that is humility. Part of that is that teaching is really hard. As soon as you think you have a facet figured out something emerges that leads you to question whether your approach can be improved. The best teachers — those who are truly aware of the complex nature of learning — can constantly look back as see something they could have done better; see a student they could have pushed further; see an opportunity they missed.

    It’s that meta-cognition that separates those who see teaching as a profession, from those who consider it a job. And professionals — like doctors, and lawyers — are called to constantly update their understanding, and change their approach based on the most recent laws, or the most recent medical research. Teaching is no different; and research tells us that classrooms should empower students to solve complex problems collaboratively.

    It looks to me like that is exactly what you are doing.

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