Head Lines

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Up until the year 2003, the Ontario education system included five years of secondary education. In other words, students did not graduate after Grade 12; they graduated after Grade 13.

I graduated after Grade 13. Then, after university, I taught kids at the Grade 13 level. I was a HUGE fan of Grade 13. I still am.

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Thursday, November 11, 2021

Elie Wiesel was a Jewish survivor of the Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz. His parents and sister perished. Mr. Wiesel survived and went on to study philosophy, became a teacher, and a professional journalist and author. It took him years to be able to write about his experiences and observations relating to the Second World War.

Mr. Wiesel’s speech on April 12, 1999, to the President of the United States and members of the U.S. Congress, as part of the Clinton government’s White House Millennium Series, remains one of the most impactful speeches I have ever heard. The title of his speech was, “The Perils of Indifference: Lessons From A Violent Century.” It is widely regarded as one of the greatest speeches of all time. I encourage you to read or watch his speech in its entirety. (You may watch it here.)

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Wednesday, November 03, 2021

The return to more in-person social activities, both personal and professional, has seen an increase in interaction and conversation among all humans. With this return to planned, impromptu and diverse dialogue we have been reminded of how an increase in communication between people can, among other things, enhance, enrich, excite and, yes, stir emotions. This, by the way, applies to both kids and adults.

I would venture to say that, in many circumstances, we are “out of practice” socially. Also, the social sphere we now find ourselves in is also different than what we had once known. Between these two realities, it seems to me that we are setting the stage for possible social and/or communication mishaps!

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Thursday, October 28, 2021

I believe that kids today do not fear Parent-Teacher Meetings like I did when I was a kid. I’m not sure what I was so worried about regarding that particular event, but as a kid, it did have an ominous undertone. Actually, truth be told, I don’t think my parents attended very often. Nor did my friends’ parents.

In hindsight, I suppose, parents mostly only attended the meetings if there was something concerning or “wrong.”

Today, there are some very big differences between the tone, motivation to attend and anticipated outcomes of this twice-yearly tradition at TCS. Perhaps the biggest difference is the understood and necessary benefits of a healthy partnership between a child and their teachers.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

I have recently discovered that our bodies need an amino acid called L-tryptophan. (Biology was clearly not a strength of mine in high school.) Furthermore, our bodies do not produce L-tryptophan, so our diet must supply it. The reason we need amino acids is that they are “the building blocks of protein.” And protein helps your body repair cells and make new ones; kids need protein to grow.

Turkey contains L-tryptophan.

L-tryptophan can make you sleepy. So, there is some truth to the belief that you are more sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner. Hence, the term “a turkey hangover.”

That said, L-tryptophan, I am also told, can improve your mood.

Perhaps, this is another reason why Thanksgiving is both fun and tiring.

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Thursday, October 14, 2021

“The most critical role for K-12 educators…will be to equip young people with the curiosity and passion to be lifelong learners who feel ownership over their education.”

This quote is taken from my new favourite article, by Thomas L. Friedman, entitled, “After the pandemic, a revolution in education and work awaits” as originally published in The New York Times (October 2020). You can read the article here or here.

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Thursday, October 07, 2021

Given that the start of the Thanksgiving long weekend is today, I thought it would be appropriate to create a “Top 10” list of things I am most grateful for, and have enjoyed the most, regarding the start of this academic year at TCS (in no particular order):

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Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Years ago, a student in the Junior School asked me if I “owned” TCS. Last week, at the Junior School morning student drop-off, I was asked if I was the “big boss.” My answer to this and similar questions usually involves a collection of responses that include, but are not limited to: “No. I have 600 kid bosses and 200 colleagues to help me”; “I feel more like a small cheese than a big boss”; or “Bruce Springsteen is the boss; I’m just a fan.”

But my favourite response is a quote that I read some time ago, in which a leader in a large organization (unfortunately, I can’t remember who?) stated: “I don’t run this place; I help lead it.” It is perhaps the best explanation for why I so frequently speak about Canadian geese.

For the benefit of new parents, let me explain.

Canadian geese, as you probably are aware, fly in a “V” formation. But do you know why? There are actually lots of hypotheses to describe their flying pattern. These include:

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Thursday, September 23, 2021

I would like all of my TCS Head Lines blog readers to have an opportunity to get to know our Co-Head Prefects: Bolu and Gordon.

Last week we met and I asked them several questions. Here are their responses:

Why did you come to TCS?
Bolu: I saw an ad in the GO station and my dad thought it was a good fit. And, I was sent.
Gordon: I think it was because my parents and I needed a new challenge. And, we had family friends that also attended.

How would you describe your last 18 months during the pandemic?
Bolu: Boring
Gordon: Emotionally and physically draining

How would you describe your first 10 days back at TCS?
Bolu: So fun!
Gordon: Agree with the above! So fun! It’s like a whole new experience. A good time.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Last week, I blogged about the idea of approaching a new school year as a “clean slate.” This week, I pose the following question to fellow parents: What would you do differently if you were given a re-start to high school? Knowing what you know now, what would you tell your 15-year-old self?

I’ll go first! I wish I was nicer to kids who were not in my friend group. I was too entrenched and comfortable with my immediate friend group. I played a lot of sports and tended to “hang out” with the same group of friends. Not only did I not reach out to others, it would have been difficult for kids to “reach in.” I was not intentionally exclusive, but nor was I intentionally inclusive either. I am not proud of this part of my younger self.

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