|Ms. Lee & Mr. Roberts on PJ Day|
Let me tell you a little bit about Dean. I first met him when he was a student teacher. Teaching is a second career for Dean and he took to it like a duck takes to water. We "lost" Dean a couple of times as a permanent teacher due to surpluses and seniority numbers, but somehow he always made it back to our school, for which we all should be incredibly thankful.
Dean is willing to do almost anything for his students, staff, and school, even if it means looking a bit ridiculous or sacrificing what little of his free time he has available. (He teaches Grade 6-7 and is often one of the last ones to leave the school at night because he stays behind to mark and plan.) Let me provide just a few examples. When I was teaching the ESL self-contained class for history, the students needed some fun but concrete ways to understand the type of people populating New France. I asked Dean if he could pretend to be a coureur de bois and answer questions from the students. Dean gave up his prep time to do it and even improvised when he forgot his special clothes.
|Dean the coureur de bois and Diana the nun|
|Taking it on the chin (literally) for a good cause|
I've mentioned the ball hockey tournament - it is now a school tradition and Dean organizes it all, from the "draft pick day" to refereeing the games, from publishing the statistics to paying for the engraving on the trophy. This takes a lot of time and effort but Dean gladly performs this service because he knows how much it means to the community.
|Dean presents the trophy to Siobhan's winning intermediate team|
Here's the deceiving thing about Dean - because he has such a jovial nature and comfortable rapport with his students, sometimes people don't realize what a talented, competent, committed, professional teacher he is. His students love to joke with him and tease him, which for me is evidence about how much they like him. They feel perfectly at ease to complain about a math lesson or try and persuade him to give extensions to assignments. They talk to this male role model in ways that I suspect they dare not with their own parents. Dean is fun-loving but Dean is also serious - about teaching and learning. A lot of what he does pedagogically happens behind the scenes. For instance, Dean approached me last spring about a student that he had some concerns about regarding his reading. Dean asked for book recommendations that matched the student's passions and strove to read these books himself so he was more knowledgeable about what he could suggest. This student, now in his second year in Dean's class, has become an incredibly motivated reader who reads constantly instead of minimally and shares books with his fellow students to support their love of reading. I can't place all of the credit for this transformation on Dean; sometimes it's a matter of the right reader finding the right book to launch the love. However, Dean's unwavering support, positive reinforcement, and determination to help this student reach his potential has been important to his development.
I am very fortunate to co-teach regularly with Dean for a shared library-media period this school year and I can testify to the amount of consideration he puts into making the best learning environment to help all of his students succeed. Dean, I hope I haven't embarrassed you too much by devoting today's blog post to you, but you deserve the recognition. Keep up the good work!