Sam: Why do you do the work you do with young people?
Brent Dickson: It is one of the great passions in my life. I love to see a student discover their potential through Leadership or Athletics.
I love to see them find their Crew and then go forward making their school and community better.-Brent Dickson
Sam: What inspired you to get into this work?
Brent Dickson: Mentors who were further down the Student Leadership road than me were my inspiration. They showed me what was possible. They inspired me with their enthusiasm and passion for working with students.
Sam: What gives you hope? What do you think is the biggest opportunity in education right now?
Brent Dickson:"Kids seem to keep getting better. I compare what my focus was in high school to theirs now and they win hands down." Brent Dickson Click To Tweet
I see students taking actions big and small that make things better around them. Their enthusiasm and hope give me hope. We need to not forget the lessons learned during Covid.
Connection and relationships are vital. When schools do distance learning that is what is missed most. Co-Curricular activities are also critical. Sports, Fine Arts, Clubs, are so missed by students. When things get back to “normal” we need to continue to value and promote these things.
Sam: Share a story about a situation where you witnessed a student transformation due to the impact of a caring educator.
Brent Dickson: One of my Leadership besties, Laura, had a huge impact on a student many years ago. Jay struggled in school. He was not a typical learner. He also experienced some huge family trials.
Laura took him under her wing. She encouraged, inspired, and sometimes threatened him to work and succeed in Leadership and other classes. He started to refer to her as Mama McGreggs. The nickname stuck and she was known for the rest of her time at Centennial by Leadership students as Mama McGreggs. Jay graduated and went on to accomplish great things.
Sam: What unique ideas, tools or software are you finding very helpful in your practice right now?
Brent Dickson: Rather than share specific ideas I would tell you where to go find them. The Canadian Student Leadership Association. There are tons of ideas under resources / Above and Beyond Blog – in-person and virtual events. If you become a member you gain access to their online resource library, thousands of activities, lesson plans etc. There are so many resources and ideas out there. You just need to know where to look.
Sam: What is your motivator (or your driver)?
Brent Dickson: This past year I have felt more tired and worn out than usual, like most everyone else. Then I get a moment that keeps me going. When we went from in person to virtual learning at the end of November I was not enthused to meet with my Leadership students every day. Then 95 plus % of them kept showing up to class. We were having fun together. It became a highlight of my day."There is never a bad day in Leadership class. Something good always happens."- Brent Dickson Click To Tweet
Sam: What advice would you give your younger self when you just got into education?
Brent Dickson: I am a to do list guy. As teachers we have must dos and want to dos."Never let your lists take priority over people. If you have a chance to visit with a student or connect with a colleague take the opportunity. The to do list can wait." -Brent Dickson Click To Tweet
Get in touch with Brent:
Sam Demma is an entrepreneur, youth coach, and keynote speaker. He co-founded the volunteer organization PickWaste, created the High Performing Student, delivered two TEDx Talks, and is a Board Director of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. Sam’s mission is to provide students with the hope, tools and strategies they need to become servant leaders in their schools and in the lives of those around them. www.samdemma.com