Episode 43 – David McFarland

43 - David McFarland

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.

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Song Track Credits

  • Intro: Relax (by Simon More)
  • Outtro: Starley – Call on Me Remix (by DJ Zhorik)

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Episode 22: Diana Williams

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22 - Diana Williams

Diana Williams is an elementary teacher at Bayridge Elementary School in Surrey, BC, Canada. She is also a speaker, a consultant for her school district, a student of PBL, award winner, and constant innovator.

In our conversation, Diana speaks candidly about the challenges teachers face during labor disruptions and shares some frank advice for up-and-coming teachers. She talks about some of the initiatives that really excite her about education today, describes some key habits that contribute to her success, and offers some awesome recommendations regarding books to read, Twitter personalities to follow, YouTube channels to subscribe to, and more.

Follow Diana on Twitter @TeacherDiana1 and on her blog at teacherdiana.com.

In this episode, Diana discusses …

Song Track Credits

Intro: Relax (by Simon More)
Outtro: Starley – Call on Me Remix (by DJ Zhorik)

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Episode 19: Gallit Zvi

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19 - Gallit Zvi2In this episode of the Teachers on Fire podcast we speak with Gallit Zvi. Gallit is currently a principal intern in Surrey, BC, Canada, and a co-author of The Genius Hour Guidebook.

In this conversation Gallit describes how she overcame the challenges of transitioning into a new grade level earlier in her teaching career. She talks about the things that really ignite her passion in education today, including the magic of Genius Hour and how it supports the shift toward inquiry-based learning. Gallit also shares about an area of interest outside of education and gives us some great recommendations for Twitter personalities to follow, a book to read, a funny YouTube channel to subscribe to, and more.

Follow Gallit on Twitter @Gallit_Z and check out her blog at GallitZvi.com.

In this episode, Gallit discusses …

  • 0:49 – her current education situation
  • 1:38 – how she navigated the challenge of transitioning to a new grade level
  • 4:07 – her passions in education: new curriculum, inquiry, the 4 Cs, genius hour
  • 6:08 – an area of interest and learning outside of education: travelling the world
  • 7:13 – a habit that contributes to her success: learning, reading, researching
  • 8:28 – amazing educators to follow on Twitter: Denise KrebsJoy Kirr, and Hugh MacDonald
  • 9:25 – her edtech tool recommendations: iMovie, Explain Everything, Puppet Pals
  • 10:12 – a book recommendation: Drive by Daniel Pink
  • 10:50 – a fun YouTube channel to subscribe to: Simon’s Cat
  • 11:32 – what she’s watching on Netflix right now: Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
  • 12:09 – the best way to follow her: @Gallit_Z

Song Track Credits

Intro: Relax (by Simon More)
Outtro: Starley – Call on Me Remix (by DJ Zhorik)

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Episode 14: Antonio Vendramin

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14 - Antonio VendraminIn this episode of the Teachers on Fire podcast we speak with Antonio Vendramin. Antonio is the District Principal of Communicating Student Learning in the Surrey School District of BC, Canada.

In this conversation, Antonio discusses the exciting opportunities made possible by the recent shift toward a competency-based curriculum in British Columbia. He describes the power of good digital storytelling, and explains how the habit of running has transformed his mental and physical health in recent years. He also shares a number of great recommendations for books to read, edtech tools to consider using in the classroom, hashtags to follow on Twitter, and more.

Some highlights and takeaways from this interview:

  • Whatever your passion is, spend a lot of time living there because that passion will rub off on your students.
  • The most successful learners are the ones who know how to learn.
  • At the end of the day our job is not to teach curricular content. Our job is to teach children and build the competencies that we know they will need today and in the future.
  • Transformative uses of technology do not include using technology to replicate things that could be done without technology. Transformative technology creates unique learning experiences that could not happen without technology.

Follow Antonio on Twitter @Vendram1n and visit his blog at https://abvendramin.com/.

In this episode, Antonio discusses …

  • 1:07 – his current context in education
  • 2:50 – a challenging year he experienced early in his teaching career
  • 6:38 – why he’s excited about the new BC curriculum
  • 9:14 – an area of passion and learning: digital storytelling
  • 11:14 – a personal habit that contributes to his success: running
  • 13:52 – hashtags he recommends following on Twitter (#SD36 and #SD36Learn)
  • 16:08 – edtech tools to consider using in your teaching practice (Skype or other video conferencing applications)
  • 18:40 – book recommendations: The Invisible Classroom by Kirke Olson, Mindset by Carol Dweck, and The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
  • 21:05 – a podcast recommendation: Radiolab
  • 22:05 – a YouTube channel recommendation: Poke My Heart
  • 23:22 – what he’s currently watching on Netflix: Riverdale, Peaky Blinders
  • 25:04 – the best ways to follow him online: @Vendram1n and https://abvendramin.com/.

Song Track Credits

  • Intro: Relax (by Simon More)
  • Outtro: Starley – Call on Me Remix (by DJ Zhorik)

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Episode 3: Simon Murti

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3 - Simon MurtiIn our third episode of the Teachers on Fire podcast, we chat with Simon Murti, middle school teacher at Bayridge Elementary School in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

In this interview, Simon shares openly about a discouraging experience that he faced early in his teaching career – and how he overcame it. He also tells us what excites him about the new BC curriculum and where he goes to get a good laugh at the end of the day.

Follow Simon’s regular adventures from the classroom on Instagram (his preferred platform) @thesmurtiteacher and on Twitter @SmurtiTeacher.

In this episode:

  • 1:13 – his current teaching situation
  • 1:50 – a low moment in his career
  • 7:43 – a passion in education
  • 10:33 – other career interests
  • 11:53 – a personal habit that works
  • 15:25 – an edtech tool recommendation
  • 18:20 – a Youtube channel recommendation
  • 19:59 – a Netflix recommendation

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!