UPPER CANADA COLLEGE
Deirdre Timusk has been teaching for 20 years, and in those two decades she has had the chance to teach all over the world. “Travelling has always been an interest, learning about other cultures and about people around the world,” Timusk says, who spent two years teaching at an elite private school in Medellin, Colombia, and then spent four years teaching at a public school in St. Louis, Missouri. “I went from a private school that was fairly elite, to 2,500 kids and two full-time police officers.”
In St. Louis, Timusk observed other math teachers teaching by the book – literally chapter to chapter – and saw they were not having a lot of success. “That experience taught me to teach kids, not chapters. I tried to meet kids where they were and take them on a journey, professionally speaking. I covered less topics, but I made sure they understood before we moved on. Math is math. It is how you’re delivering it that changes,” Timusk says.
Facilitating conversation in her classroom is a huge component of her teaching style, so she greets every kid within the first three minutes whether by a homework check or just a quick hello! She then starts with a non-class activity, to really get the creative juices flowing. “Anything that gets them thinking and talking to one another.”