DAVID McFARLAND is a high school IB humanities teacher at Pacific Academy in Surrey, BC, Canada. Follow him on Twitter @MrMcFTeaches.
In our conversation, David talks about how “We don’t even know you!” challenged him to rethink the importance of building relationships with his students. He describes some of his passions in education today: helping students navigate knowledge critically instead of merely absorbing content, using digital tools to customize learning experiences, and continuing to advocate for some reading on paper. David also shares some of his lifelong learning outside of the classroom, a daily ritual that builds relationships, and his top picks in books, Twitter, Youtube, and more.
Find the highlights from our conversation at the timestamps below:
- 0:49 – David describes his current teaching situation as a high school humanities teacher at Pacific Academy in Surrey, BC, Canada.
- 1:18 – Three or four classes into the school year at a new school, he recalls a student bursting out with “We don’t even know you!” That experience challenged him in a positive way and helped him think more deeply about the relational component of teaching. Today, he takes more time and makes more intentional investments in building relationships with his learners.
- 6:05 – There’s a lot that gets David excited about education today: a new curriculum in BC, better options for course customization, helping students think critically and navigate knowledge instead of dumping content on them, interpreting content in a world that is becoming entirely digital, and still advocating for some reading on paper.
- 11:25 – One area of learning for David outside of his teaching is the art of cooking. He’s had fun this summer playing around with different cuisines while working his way through the New York Times cooking app. It’s a hobby his family appreciates, because there is always a product everyone can enjoy at the end of every experiment!
- 13:02 – A personal habit that contributes to his success is based on a fine taste for coffee. He explains how this can be a “ritual that is relational” – an activity that invites others into the creation and enjoyment of the teacher’s go-to beverage. Another habit that feeds him is regularly reading books while at school.
- 15:53 – David recommends following high school social studies teacher Glen Thielman (@GThielmann).
- 17:06 – The edtech tool that has made the biggest impression recently is Google Classroom.
- 21:04 – David’s pick for books is You Are What You Love by James K. A. Smith (@James_KA_Smith).
- 24:01 – A podcast to add to your podcast line-up is The Way of Improvement Leads Home by (@JohnFea1).
- 25:40 – If you’re a Social Studies teacher, you need to subscribe to John Green’s Crash Course on YouTube. Follow @TheCrashCourse on Twitter as well.
- 27:35 – When he’s got time in the summer to enjoy the pleasures of Netflix, David’s watching the The Office and Better Call Saul.
- 28:42 – David reminds us of where to find him on Twitter @MrMcFTeaches.
Subscribe to the Teachers on Fire podcast on your mobile device: iTunes | Google Podcasts | YouTube
Follow the podcast on Twitter @TeachersOnFire and on Instagram @TeachersOnFire.
Song Track Credits
- Intro: Relax (by Simon More)
- Outtro: Starley – Call on Me Remix (by DJ Zhorik)
Listen to this episode on YouTube and subscribe for more episodes!