11 Answers Transformed to 5

Well, my fellow Digital Literacy Coach the UWCSEA Keri-Lee Beasley recently tagged me in a blog post that she wrote answering someone else’s questions. Basically, she was asked 11 questions and, after answering them, had to tag 11 people to answer a new set of 11 questions that she made up herself.

So this is me answering her set of 11 questions but with a bit of twist. Call me lazy or maybe just call me busy, but I am cutting the original set of 11 questions down to 5. So that means at the end of this post, I will ask 5 new questions and tag 5 people who I would love to hear their answers to my questions.

So here are the questions that Keri-Lee asked me and 10 other unsuspecting victims and my answers to them.

1. Who was your most memorable teacher, and why?

I was fortunate to have many memorable teachers. But my grade 12 mathematics teacher stood out to me. My grade 12 year ended poorly with my getting very sick. I was so sick that I couldn’t take the government exams at the end of the year. I had enough credits to graduate and did so with my class, but I never got credit for my mathematics class or english class. So I decided to go back and do a few classes the next year. Unfortunately, the way the school was set up, I had to take those classes over the course of a whole year. But this turned out to be a good thing.

My grade 12 mathematics scores were not good my first time around. My teacher had very little time for me. I wasn’t the best mathematician in the class and I can remember her being frustrated with me many times because I didn’t understand something. Her response to this was to not help me. She was very good at mathematics and I think she just didn’t get why I was not understanding the work. I sensed I was a lost cause to her. My confidence fell as fast as my grades. I think I was in the C range of grades (mid 70%).

That all changed my second time around in grade 12 mathematics with Mr Agnew. When I didn’t understand something, he worked even harder with me to help me understand. He broke down the problem to get it to a point where I could build on prior knowledge. He had time for me. I mattered in his world. I still wasn’t the best mathematician in the class, but I worked hard to understand and try to learn.

Mr. Agnew helped me to see that I could learn anything I wanted to. I take this with me through life. It has helped me become the person I am today. I love working with students with mathematics and try to help them to understand. In University, I studied to earn an elementary education degree at the University of Victoria. In doing so, I had to have a subject with was my “concentration” and take extra courses in this area. I chose mathematics so I could learn to help kids with their difficulties in mathematics. To this day, I believe that everyone can learn to be good at mathematics or anything they choose and that is thanks to Mr. Agnew.

A final note about Mr. Agnew. I did go back to my high school when I was in university training to be a teacher and talk to him about how he had had a huge impact on my life. I thanked him for not giving up on me and seeing that I could be a learner. I will always remember him.

As a side note, this understanding in myself that I am a learner has helped me to be proficient in many things like technology and photography. If I want to learn something, I set out and do it.

Ok, the rest of my answers will have to be WAY shorter than this one.

2. Who is one of your educational mentors, and what makes them so special?

So my answer might be a bit unorthodox, but I would say my school, the United World College of South East Asia, is my educational mentor. I know that sounds weird but I will try to explain.

First of all, a school is only as good as it’s people and the people I work with every day are amazing and really the mentors. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by people who put children’s learning first. I work closely with incredible teams especially the primary coaching team and the school digital literacy team. And of course the many teaching teams that I work with on a daily basis. They are incredible professionals.

I love that my school is always working to make itself a great place for a holistic education for our students. My school pushes me to be a better educator and expects a lot of its staff. Everyone works extremely hard but it means we are surrounded by people who are always learning and striving to be better.

3. Which song describes how you are feeling today? Add the youtube clip if possible 

I would say that I am a pretty happy guy so I am going to go with “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.

4. What is your favourite restaurant/place to eat in the city in which you live, and why?

Well, right now I would say my favourite place to eat in Singapore is Burnt Ends. If you know me, I am not someone who goes out a lot but this place is wonderful. There is only one table and the rest is bar style seating. When booking the table you have to fill out a questionnaire and then the chef will create a menu for you.

I absolutely loved the whole experience of tasting all these amazing things that had been prepared and tried things that I would never had tried otherwise. The food was all delicious and I am always looking for excuses to go again. Highly recommended.

5. Which video is *cracking you up right now? (*making you laugh) Give us the link!

I am more of a inspirational video kind of guy but I saw this video the other day and it made me laugh.

6. What is one thing you learned recently, that wouldn’t have been possible without technology? How did you learn it?

I would have to say a lot of what I learn is somehow connected to technology. My computer and the internet is often my go to when I want to learn something new. Information is readily accessible at our fingertips.

One thing that I could never have done without technology is light painting. I capture digital images on my camera and then combine them in Photoshop. The final image is sometimes hundreds of images stacked together. There was light painting before photoshop, but the level and quality of this particular style of light painting would not be possible without technology.

This image below was one that I captured and is composite of around 80 images.

Steam tractor

I learned it by purchasing an ebook called Painting with Light by Eric Curry and then tried it out myself. I learned through trial and error and made mistakes along the way. But now it is a tool that I can use to capture images.

7. Can you please snap a picture of one of your everyday views, and share the photo here?

A photo overlooking the plaza at my school UWCSEA East campus.


8. What is the next place you want to visit and why?

There are just so many places I want to visit and explore! I am a bit stuck on the word next as it may imply a priority to a place or that a place which is difficult to go to and would require a lot of planning might not be next on my list. Also, some of these places are difficult to go to with small children which I have now so they might not be next on my list but they are definitely on my list.

A lot of the places I would like to visit are related to photography and my need to capture the stories and people of a place. Where would I like to go? Bhutan, New Zealand, Katmai National Park, Italy (again), Sri Lanka, on Safari in Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Zambia, Uganda, Eastern Canada, Princess Royal Island to search for the Spirit Bear, Haida Gwaii, a huge road trip through Europe, Bolivia, Peru, South Georgia Island, Myanmar (again). And I of course reserve the right to continually add to the list.

So which one is next? Who knows? But I will keep trying to get to them all.

Shwedagon birds

The Shwedagon Paya in Yangon, Myanmar.

9. Complete this sentence: Teaching is a wonderful profession because…

…. you can affect the lives of so many young people every single day and help them to learn and positively affect the world we live in.

10. Can you please list 5 of your favourite movies? Feel free to elaborate on why you like them. Or not!

In no particular order

Whale Rider – Makes me cry every time.

The Three Idiots – Great Bollywood movie that has a bit of everything.

Good Will Hunting – I watched this movie over and over. So much to love about this movie. A movie that really launched Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s careers and there are so many other movies by Robin Williams that I just love and that could be on this list.

October Sky – A movie that not a lot of people might have seen but I love it. Based on a true story (I am a sucker for that sort of thing) and it really reminded me of my relationship with my father.

Love Actually – My Favourite movie to watch at Christmas time. I love the interweaving stories and I am a sucker for a love story.

11. How do you unwind on a Friday after school?

I am not sure I do unwind 😉

But I love to go to a movie or spend time with friends.

Now comes the part where I ask five of my own questions and forward them to friends hoping that they will answer them.

1. Who would you say has had a big influence on you in your life? Please explain.

2. If you could live anywhere, where would that be? Feel free to be creative.

3. What is one of your favourite documentary movies? Why? (Share a link if you can find one)

4. What is one place or event that you would love to photograph and be able to capture beautiful images of?

5. Tell me about a moment that changed your life forever.

So peeps, if you want to participate, I have tried to make it a bit easier by making it 5 questions instead of 11. If it is too much no worries. But if you do, please post a link to your answers in the comment of this blog so I can see what you have written.

1. Paula Guinto @paulaguinto

2. Claire Wachowiak @cwachowiak

3. Deb Gordon @debgordon123

4. Steve Kay @ska_kay

5. Andrew McCarthy @ajmccarthynz

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