Our past molds our present but reflection changes our future

This week has been a very busy week (coming off of parent interviews, Ignites, following along with Bit, starting a new course with OISE) but after some awesome Ignite presentations by Fair Chance Learning I couldn’t help but think how our past molds who we presently are.


During my Ignite I mentioned my Father and how he taught (or really didn’t teach) me. You see my father is not a teacher by any means and being an immigrant whose own father had to stay in England to work made him learn on his own. To him learning was individual. What I need to know I go out and get and this is how he taught us. Don’t understand how to rotate the breaks, just go do it. Don’t understand calculus read the book and do it. There was no step by step procedure, someone sitting beside me telling me what to do or helping me, it was just me.

I often wonder if this is the reason why I feel very passionate about letting students explore and create their own understanding. Now please let me preface I also think that learning needs to be in a safe, inclusive and monitored state but that was not always so. I remember when I first volunteered and questioned shouldn’t students just know “it” (it being the subject).

I see it with my parenting and to a degree my classroom management. I grew up in a very strict household. In fact, my Dad often quoted , “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” (please note that it may seem like I had an awful childhood and my Dad was a mean old ogre but in truth, he was the most loving father I could ever have). Now I didn’t take this philosophy to that degree with how I raise my children or students but I have for the longest time taken the stance that a strict firm presence is what all children need to follow the line (boy was I wrong).


Being an unsuccessful parent (in my eyes) has taught me that a lot comes to understanding my children’s needs, stresses and how they respond to that stress. Reflecting on this has changed me for the better, both as a parent, a person and a teacher.

Which brings me to the last point, reflection. It has been through some very hard soul searching and reflecting that many of my teaching changes have happened. I also mentioned in my Ignite that I was afraid that my students were becoming complacent. I was afraid that every year they were just coming because we told them too and I didn’t think that was the students’ fault. For so many years I would ask this:


Leaving the only common denominator, me. If I was the common denominator then it was me that needed to change and it was because I was willing to change that I am where I am today.

I know I may be rambling here but I have been thinking about all the various debates we have in school (coding, parenting, math) and try very hard now to see the various perspectives at play. What has shaped these discussions? Is it to flee how we have been taught? Is it that it never worked for me so I must find something different? Is it this is how I was raised so I keep on trucking?

All of these questions come into play in our everyday. Each experience we have plays an impactful role in how we handle stress, how we react to people and make-up who we are. However, our past does not define us. It molds us but reflection allows us to create the futures that we need.

I find it interesting to think on this:

  1. What past events or stories has molded who you are today?
  2. How do those events impact you as a person, teacher and all around being?
  3. Do you like the path? or What would you change?
  4. How has reflection changed who you are today?

Thanks for listening to some of my rambles. Love to hear your stories.

Bottle Flipping in Grade 6

I know I know more bottle flipping! But you know what? The kids love it and it has so much math.

I first got the idea from Jon Or who I think got the idea from Dan Meyer┬ábut their lessons were geared for High School students. This got me thinking what can I do for my 6’s. So this is what I decided to do:

After getting over the annoying factor of bottle flipping this was one of the best lessons that I have ever done. There was so much math and learning it wasn’t even funny. I know we all try to find these rich tasks but this was one that turned out great.

Take a look at the amazing week:

<br data-mce-bogus=”1″><br data-mce-bogus=”1″><br data-mce-bogus=”1″><br data-mce-bogus=”1″><br data-mce-bogus=”1″>[<a href=”//storify.com/MrSoclassroom/october-24th-to-the-28th” target=”_blank”>View the story “October 24th to the 28th” on Storify</a>]

If you do this lesson would love to see your results or any other variation of it.