Mike Loudfoot – Former Educator with over 30 years of experience.

Mike Loudfoot - Former educator with over 30 years of experience.
About Mike Loudfoot

Simply put, Mike Loudfoot is the teacher that changed my life as a high school student and young man. When I think about my experience as a student, it was teachers like Mike that made it worthwhile. He saw through my identity as an athlete and made personal connections with every student in his classroom.

His passion in our class rubbed off on me and helped me overcome one of the toughest personal periods of my high school experience. Hundreds of graduates from our high school quote Loudfoot as their favourite and most impactful teacher. In this episode, we dive a little deeper into his personal principles and values when it comes to education and life.

Connect with Mike: Email

Listen Now

Listen to the episode now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or on your favourite podcast platform.

Resources Mentioned

Tom and Huck (movie)

Paul’s Road to Damascus Conversion Story Summary

Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)

William Wilberforce (abolitionist)

Slavery by Another Name (documentary)

Cornel West – American philosopher

Speech for Mike
The Transcript

**Please note that all of our transcriptions come from rev.com and are 80% accurate. We’re grateful for the robots that make this possible and realize that it’s not a perfect process.

Sam Demma (00:00):
Welcome back to another episode of the high performing educator podcast. This is your host and youth speaker Sam Demma. This interview today with Michael Loudfoot has to be one of my favorites. Simply put, Mike was the teacher in high school who made the largest impact on me. He was the educator who made a personal connection and was so passionate about his material that passion rubbed off on all the students in his classroom.

Sam Demma (01:05):
He was one of the teachers I had who built personal relationships with every single student and saw me not only as Sam, the soccer player, but more importantly as Sam, the human being. When I think back to high school, Mike is the educator and teacher in my experience that made it worthwhile, that made a massive impact. That forced me to stay curious. That encouraged me to stay curious. And I’m so glad that I was able to sit down with Mike on today’s interview and dive a little deeper into his personal principles and values. When it comes to education in life, he was an educator for over 30 years, years did so much philanthropic work while he was in school as a teacher. And now also outside of school. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this interview with Mike Loudfoot, and I will see you on the other side.

Sam Demma (01:54):
Mike welcome to the high performing educator podcast. Huge pleasure to have you on the show here today. Why don’t you start by introducing yourself off to educators who might be listening?

Mike Loudfoot (02:05):
Well, I taught for 31 years at St. Mary and in Pickering and I retired recently about three years ago and I, I missed the teaching. I loved teaching kids and young adults and I don’t miss all the other things with teaching the marking and all the other things that go along with that. But I, I do miss teaching. I’ve always been a pursuer of knowledge and that what a great venue teaching was for that.

Sam Demma (02:39):
Where did that desire begin for you not only to teach, but also to continue pursuing knowledge and information?

Mike Loudfoot (02:47):
Well, I, I, I think that the, the issue if, if someone’s thinking about going into teaching, I mean, it’s a tough road, a hole right now, but things change, but I think that you, you have to have a curiosity about about everything. And I think without curiosity, I don’t think you, you make a very good teacher because you being cur curious pushes you forward. And because you’re curious, you you’re, you enjoy your work. And if you’re curious and you enjoy your work, that will transpire into the classroom. So that’s really the issue is that teachers by their very nature need to want to find out about things, right? They, you can’t get stale. I, I mean, I, I re even my last year I was researching right up to the end. Right. Because it it’s just a, it’s a passion. Right. It’s and that’s real and, and not a passion as a, as a cliche. Yeah. A passion as in this is what is a big part of, of your identity, right? Not that teaching was a big part of my identity. I’m, I’m fine not teaching, but the while you’re teaching or while you’re doing a job, same as now, I’ve done other, I’m doing other things. Right. So whatever you’re trying to do, you should try and, and master that while you’re doing it. Right.

Sam Demma (04:18):
Yeah. Well, where, where curiosity come from? Like did, were you just a curious person growing up, or at some point in your own journey, did you start really exploring things?

Mike Loudfoot (04:28):
I grew up pretty poor. But but my parents, I mean, I, I never lacked for food or clothing or anything, but we had, there was nothing, there was no extra money or anything. So I was essentially feral. And it was a time period where you didn’t lock your doors and, you know, you left in the morning and as long as you came back for supper, things were good. So, so I was able to, to explore things, right. And I, I, I attune my, my early childhood to sort of H Tom Sawyer and Huck fin existence. I was, I was camping and fishing and hunting and exploring and riding my bicycle. And I had a group of other there there’s, there could be another issue is, is that your peer, you, you, you tend to, you know, travel with the peer group there like you, right.

Mike Loudfoot (05:22):
Mm. So, you know, we were all sort of didn’t, didn’t do well in school. No, I might add, didn’t have time for school, which was kind of interesting. So the, the, the, what I got out of a lot of it was the formal regimented education system that exists to day and was even more in existence when I went through was not something that I was going to bring to the classroom, because I didn’t like it. So, I mean, obviously if I don’t like it, why would they like it? So so that’s sort of the curiosity and a little unconventional teaching mixed up with some curiosity. And that’s, that’s sort of where I ended up where I was on it, but it, but it, but it took years, right. It wasn’t it wasn’t a, all of a sudden I had an epiphany and it, it was trial and error over as we’ve talked about many times, it’s, you know, small, incremental changes over, it took 30 years, right.

Mike Loudfoot (06:24):
To, to develop a, I, I think that probably, if you are trying to make an impact with the kids and enjoy your teaching profession I think it takes five years to learn how to sort of manage a classroom so you can get some teaching done. I think it’s even harder now. I think it takes about five more years to learn the material at some basic level. And then after that, then it’s a constant refinement, right. And by the time you get to 20, 20 years, you’re start to get into the realm of, if you haven’t figured it out and haven’t mastered it, you’re not going to, it probably wasn’t, wasn’t a profession that you should have picked.

Sam Demma (07:06):
So, so what you’re saying is, you know, you, weren’t on the road to Damascus and then got struck by some lightning. Figured it out.

Mike Loudfoot (07:14):
There was no road to Damascus. There was a long fall. And, and it wasn’t, it wasn’t always,uyou know, I’m going to do this. There was times when it was like, what am I, what in the well, world of sports am I doing here? Right. Yeah. Like, this is,uI I’m gonna, I had other options I I’d done. Oh, there’s the other thing I’d done. Lots of other things too. And I think that’s important for teachers that they don’t go. They try not to go directly from teachers college, into teaching. I, I,uI was a, an army officer. UI,uso I had traveled all across Canada. UI had a pilot’s license. UI worked on the railway for three years. I traveled across Canada doing well, Ontario anyway. And,uI owned a farm. I owned several small businesses. So by the time I had got to teaching, I had lots of life experiences that I think,uyou know, helped me understand some of the, where some of the kids were coming from. Cause not every kid’s coming from this same spot. Right.

Sam Demma (08:21):
Yeah. Oh, I like that. And you mentioned that growing up, you know, you didn’t have you and your buddies didn’t have time for school and not so much because you didn’t have the time, but because you didn’t like it. Can you tell me more about, you know, the system that used to exist and the elements of it that still exists now that you think need to be changed?

Mike Loudfoot (08:37):
Yeah. well, the, the issue you, I think to a certain extent is I dunno that the system has, it isn’t as regimented as it was when I was, when I went through it. There’s no doubt about that. I’m not, as you know, I, I, wasn’t a big proponent of showing up on time, as long as you got there. And, you know, if you’re in sort of a uniform and long as you didn’t talk, well, I was trying to teach, I really, you could eat in the classroom. So I wasn’t all concerned about those small things. Whereas when I went to school, those small things where, where where’s as important as the, the topic. But the, I think the, the issue is, is that unfortunately, because of the way the, the EDU the post secondary education system works and the, the, the debt load that the poor kids are under they, they don’t get the full benefit of their education.

Mike Loudfoot (09:43):
They, they have other worries, which, which I didn’t have other worries of. I mean, we were poor, but I got massive OSAP grants. Right. So it was a structural thing. So I didn’t have a, a financial issue you, in terms of, you know, how am I gonna pay off my student debt when I finished, I didn’t have any student debt. So and I think that by not having that student debt, I was able to concentrate on my studies mm-hmm and make myself a better teacher. So when I arrived, I had already a, a good, solid background of the subject matter that I was going to teach, rather than just getting there. And then, well, where’s the textbook, right. And then just teaching out the textbook. I mean, most of the time the textbooks are not correct anyway. And, and if you’re gonna use, that’s gonna be your main teaching mechanism, it’s gonna run, you know, it’s gonna get scaled pretty quick.

Mike Loudfoot (10:41):
So, so that, that, you know, I grew up in a different time period. So it was a different, different way of, of getting to the end point. But so having said that, I mean, what I’m asked, what I’m saying is that you’re, you’re actually going to have to change structural systems in, in the education system to make it so that you don’t leave any child behind. So it doesn’t just become a cliche. Right. Because it’s simply a cliche right now, so, yeah. But got it. I encourage your readers or your readers, your your viewers, if they’re interested in, in alternative method, it’s teaching. If they look up Finland’s method Finland finish contrary to, to, you know, urban legend it isn’t Singapore and, and Hong Kong and Taiwan, and all them end up first in international studies. Sometimes they do, but more often not it’s Finland and it get reported much because of the way the fins set up their education system.

Mike Loudfoot (11:41):
But just to give you an idea of how important it is, they, they don’t degrade their teachers the way our society does. So one of the problems nowadays is like, when I went into teaching, there were teachers that, oh my goodness, that I think back to some of the teachers that, that mentored me, there’s another thing too, you know, I didn’t mention, cause it wasn’t all me that’s for sure. They were just fantastic teachers and and they went into teaching because it was an honorable profession and they could support a middle class family and they weren’t destroyed in the media. And so nowadays it’s in a lot of cases, it becomes a secondary job or a default job. Right. It wasn’t for me. But I think that’s so in Finland teachers you have to have a master’s degree, but they’re, they’re treated like at the same levels as a doctor.

Mike Loudfoot (12:31):
Mm. There’s two teachers in each classroom and then classes are limited to 20. And I mean, I’ve had experience with finished kids. My, my kids played hockey and we had finished kids stay over at our place. And I mean, their, their maturity level compared to my kids are pretty, pretty mature. And the other Canadian hockey kids were, there was no comparison. They, they, and they could speak three or four languages. So, wow. How is it that they can speak three or four languages and know more about the world than our kids do well, that that’s, so that’s where the curiosity comes in. Right. When you see something, you don’t understand something, you say, well, maybe that to be researched. And and so I would encourage them to, to research the, some really good videos on YouTube videos on Phil’s education system.

Sam Demma (13:25):
Well, that’s awesome. Thanks so much for sharing that. I’ll, I’ll definitely drop a link in the show notes of the episode where people can check it out. And now you’ve made me curious to go check it out as well, because I wanna speak for images

Mike Loudfoot (13:35):
Well, I mean, who wouldn’t. Right. So I can’t, but you know, that’s part of spending your, your youth as a Tom Sawyer, H fin and not studying. Right.

Sam Demma (13:45):
Yep. That, that makes sense.

Mike Loudfoot (13:46):
I’ve never met anybody that ever said to me, you know, in, in the, whatever are hundreds or thousands of parent teacher interviews or kids that have returned, not one person has said to me, you know, I wish I had worked less hard in high school. Mm. Not one everyone says, you know, I, I should have, I should have given it a better effort. So yeah. Maybe there’s some truth in that. So

Sam Demma (14:07):
Very true. So,uyou know, you were someone who left a huge impact on people in the same Mary school. And I, I believe there’s still people, like I had someone reach out to me, I think maybe 10, 15 weeks ago saying, Hey, do you have Mike Loudfoot contact information, saw a post. He put on Facebook. I like to reach out to him and, you know, tell him,uhow much he had an impact on me. And it was like a 40 year old man.

Mike Loudfoot (14:34):
Young man, who’s a 40 year old man. He actually came out to the farm. He, we, we had a little nice little chat on the, on the front porch, so that’s awesome. Yeah. And he’s doing fantastic and looked happy and he’s, he’s a teacher in Toronto and yeah, it was a great, so thanks for that. That was a great that was a, a nice little nugget to get through the week. It was, was wonderful to, to, to talk with him.

Sam Demma (14:59):
So that’s so cool. He’s probably, I’m probably aging him. I don’t know if he’s 40, but , he was, he’s getting up there. Yeah.

Mike Loudfoot (15:07):
I, I think he’s, I think he said he was 38, so, okay,

Sam Demma (15:10):
Nice. But yeah, it, it it’s like, it seems like you’ve built throughout your time teaching dozens of really deep relationships. And I’m curious to know what your perspective is on how educators can build deeper relationships in the classroom and how you did it as a teacher as well.

Mike Loudfoot (15:27):
Well one of the things that, that I, I, I did do which I think was, was critical, was I used to sit in on the classes of senior teachers. So what I would do is, so as in all things you know, groups of people talk, right. So I would, I would, I would listen to the kids talk and, and, you know, can’t stand going to that one’s class, or really love that one’s class. Well, the ones that they really loved, I asked permission if I could sit in on their classes. So during if I had a a spare and I, I didn’t have any marking, I did the marking at home or whatever it was, I would go and sit in on their class. So my, my learning curve went, oh, so that’s how you deal with kids. Oh, so that’s how, so it’s a learned behavior, right?

Mike Loudfoot (16:20):
So I’d almo I had basically on my own stumbled into a mentor system. Right. But it was a, it was a real mentor system. So I sat in on, on I can think of three incredible master teachers and and, and, and just sat back and listened to them. I didn’t, I didn’t interfere. I didn’t, you know, I just sat and listened to them and I, and observed how they, they handled their class, how they taught their lessons, how they did this. And, and then afterwards, because I’d shown an interest and there’s the curiosity part. Again, they were, they, they, they would sit down with me and say, well, this is why I did this. And this is why I handled this. And so actually I was getting mentored while I was working. Right. I was doing it on my own accord. I didn’t do it because someone told me to do it.

Mike Loudfoot (17:08):
Right. So I think that had a huge impact on, on how you, yeah. You know, you know, someone’s got 25 years experience in, or, you know, getting close to 30, cuz these people were towards the end of their careers. And I had five years and well, what’s there not to learn. Right. I mean, you, I remember one guy was just incredible. And some of your, some of your yours would know Mr. Fo Jim fo. And I learned so much from him sitting in on his class. And and there was another thing too, is, was the system was a different system too, in the sense that he was a department head and, and he had an administrative spare. So he would actually go around to to your class if you asked him to and sit in on your class and evaluate you, but not, not as a, you know, not as a punishment, but as a you asked and I’m gonna try and help you along here.

Mike Loudfoot (18:14):
So I think those, I think those things really, really helped me develop a rapport. I call it a withitness you, you just tag go luck had it, right. You Ian go luck. He had, you knew the teachers that had it, you would go into their classroom. I, I, I mean, I, I went into go luck’s classroom a couple times or more than a couple times. And I’d just sit in the back and listen to em, because it was a pleasure to listen to, right. There was something learned, being learned there and you would go and, you know, you know, you’d go into other classes and I mean, teachers are like, anything else. There’s good doctors and bad doctors. There’s good, real estate agents and bad real estate agents. They’re all, all the same. And you’d go into other classrooms. And you could tell that there wasn’t a lot of learning taking place there. Right. So, and there was no curiosity. They were just going through the motions of learning. Well, I didn’t wanna be like that. That’s all that makes a really long day. My, my days just flew by like, yeah, yeah. The day, just once, once your feet hit the ground, you were running to the end and it was a good day.

Sam Demma (19:24):
So, you know, speaking of being curious, not only were you curious in the material and curious, and because me a better teacher, but I think you showed equal amounts of curiosity towards the kids that are in your class and how that showed up. How I remember it as one of your students was like, you would teach a lesson and then you would stop at the end and say, Hey, kaon because you wanna be a fashion designer. This, this lesson for you means X and Hey Sam, because you’re an athlete, this for you could mean X and you would kinda like take the material and personalize it to the students. I’m curious to know more about that. And, and when did you start doing that in your teaching practice and, and why?

Mike Loudfoot (20:03):
Well, again, I, I noticed it with the peer teachers that I had. Right. That that’s the way they operated. Yeah, you, you have to, you have to know your audience in the same way. When, when you do presentations, right. You’re doing presentations to an elementary school. You can’t do the same methodology as you’re going to do to a business group. If you’re doing it to a business group, right. One size doesn’t fit all. And the other thing that I learned probably, oh, I don’t know, about 10 years in. I don’t remember exactly, but anyway, I was teaching history and I had, I had some black kids in the class and some Filipino kids in class and afterwards they said, is there any, any other history besides white history? And I said what are you talking about? And they said, well, there’s gotta be more history than just white history.

Mike Loudfoot (21:00):
Cause this doesn’t speak to me at all. Yeah. Kind of ticked off, you know, I had really thrown lot into this and I went home. I started thinking about it and the more I thought more, I thought, you know what, they’re right. So it’s not a white world. Sorry, tell you that. It’s run by white people currently in a lot of places, but it’s not a white world. And so there, there is a massive, so that, that was the, that was the, so it’s the questions that get asked. Well, what does that kid mean? That, that it’s you know, this, this, history’s not speaking to me, what does that mean? Well, maybe you better look into it Loudfoot. So I did, I started looking into it and, and, and I don’t that you remember, but, you know, I, I taught you know, if it was a Filipino class, if there’s a lot of Filipino kids in there, I taught Spanish American, the warns, you know, the Spanish American war the Philippines, if there was black kids, there’s a lot of black or some black kids in the class didn’t even whether it was one.

Mike Loudfoot (22:10):
Yep. You know, you gotta hit that kid. So, you know, I, I spent you know, I don’t really, whether you remember, but you know the abolishment of slavery and William yeah. William Wilberforce, and then you bring it right up to date cuz it’s, you know, that’s in the past. And then, you know, there was a great documentary called slavery by another name. Right. Which brings you sort of up to where we are now. And that’s all you can do. You can just sort of, you’re like a farmer you’re sort of throwing the feed out and the ones that want to eat will eat and you try and make the feed as tasty as possible. And the ones that don’t well is just not their to, so, so you have to you have to know your audience and and that, that was one of the great things about teaching at St.

Mike Loudfoot (22:58):
Mary, was it wasn’t you know, it wasn’t a white, only school and it, well, it, it was in terms of most of the curriculum, but there was, there was to expand that curriculum. And so I tried right. For, for the limited abilities that I had. I, I don’t believe in boutique liberalism. I’ll give you a perfect example. So, you know, the other day they had the truth in reconciliation commission or the day, right. Which is fantastic. I, that’s not the boutique liberalism and everybody’s to wear orange. Well, all that’s going on. The federal, government’s still trying to block, you know, payments to Aboriginal children that were abuse under the foster care system. I, I mean, I don’t even know how you, you can even go in front of a, a microphone and say tomorrow is the truth and reconciliation day. And then this thing is in the news.

Mike Loudfoot (24:02):
Yeah. It’s again, it’s boutique liberalism where I’m looking through the window and, and nothing’s really getting done. So I, I think that, that, so to that end one of the things I really tried to concentrate on in my own learning was learning, learning economics. And because without learning, without the a foundation of economics, you’re not gonna cause much change in the sense of, of like structural change. I mean, you cause small incremental changes, which are important, but if you want massive change to happen, you have to get, you have to have an informed population and, and, you know, simple things like, you know, just questions, like where does money come from? Right. How does debt work? Right. And so and then there’s, so if you just took the question of debt, for example, you know, how does debt, because that’s the big concern about everybody nowadays, student debt, like student debt’s off the charts, it it’s ridiculous.

Mike Loudfoot (24:59):
And you know, so how do, how do places like Germany and Sweden and Switzerland, Hey, you don’t have pay anything except there’s a small registration fee and here what they’re making kids pay and the states seem worse. So the question then becomes what’s debt. And you know, what is, what is money well that in order to answer that you have to awful lot of research. So that’s the, so the curiosity kicks in and then you have to prepare yourself, prepare your own back. And then when she prepare your own background, by doing your own research, then you have to figure out a methodology to impart that information to the students so that it becomes meaningful. Right. So, and then what should happen is, and this is the other thing where the society drops, the ball is, is the there’s no mentorship. So because it, because all systems that exist are only concerned about self maintenance that are concerned about making the system necessarily better.

Mike Loudfoot (25:59):
So like, like the Senate or, you know, the last election that we had, right. Doesn’t matter really who you vote for. It’s, I’ll just give you concept, just so like, I, I get a lot of people cuz I’m retired now and I have time to talk to ’em and they drop by to buy, you know, wood or whatever. And they’re their, their main concern is always money in debt. So, and I, I always say to them, there’s lots of money and they, they look at me like, what are you talking about? Right. And I said, and I tell them, but the problem is, is that it’s out of contact. It takes a long time to build up to the, so they understand ring I’m,

Mike Loudfoot (26:44):
You know, they’re prob they’ll probably call back. But anyway so like for example, the, so the debts, you know, the, the federal debts about 700 billion. So that’s from the beginning of time, right? From 1867 till now. Well the banks just banks by themselves, the top five, they have like almost 7 trillion assets. Yeah. There’s no money. All kinds of money. Yeah. Right. So to put that in perspective, you have 700 billion in debt, total debt, historically in federal government and you got 7,000 billion in assets yeah. So I think we could probably fix it if we wanted to, but in order to understand that you have to have an informed population. Right. So, so think little things like that. Cool.

Sam Demma (27:41):
And you know, I think you’re also a teacher that believed I don’t wanna say, do overs all the time, but I remember there was even essays that I handed in as a student where, you know, you would hand them out to the class and at the top it would say like, come to my desk or you put like a circle of like, talk to me, like I brought my essay over and you’re like, Sam, I think this is great, but I think you can do better. You know, wanna try, add a couple things here, there, and, and then come submit it to me again. Like, you’re you like, you know, where did that philosophy come from? And I think it helped me learn more as a student personally, but I’m curious to know where, where that started from for you and why you implemented that in your classes. Yeah.

Mike Loudfoot (28:21):
Well, most of the time when you, if the teacher doesn’t take an interest in what the student’s doing at some level, the student, certainly isn’t now just think about it just for a second. I’m making you generally well, in some courses you had, there was a prescribed essay format that you’d do, but mine, I sort of laughed it up to you what you wanted to do. So that was that’s. The first thing is the, the student should be able to pick generally with, within a certain parameters, something that they’re interested in. So again, if you’re interested in fashion, you should look at maybe the world fashion industry, right? So that something that you’re, you’re gonna do down the road, but so first off, if, if you make the, you, you allow the student to, to become interested by allowing them to pick generally their own topic, but it’s not without guardrails because when you’re 17 years old, you’re, you’re not very well informed.

Mike Loudfoot (29:22):
So that’s where an older person’s supposed to help you along. And that’s where, that’s what it, that’s what it is. An older person helps you along. Right? And so the older people in the school helped me along. So why shouldn’t I return the favor as we, as we walk through this lesson together, as we walk through this course together, right? We’re on this course, I’m not gonna use the word journey, cuz it just, that gets weird, but we’re on this course to try and arrive at some sort of understanding of the world that we live in. Right. So if I’m not interested in helping you in that journey, because language is extremely important and words are extremely important. I mean, we’re getting a lot of Orwellian language now in, in things that you know, where they, they twist the words to mean something else. Right?

Mike Loudfoot (30:18):
So if you’re not well versed in language and, and it try terms of language also, so language and writing go hand in hand, if you’re not good at that, there’s a lot of pitfalls. Forget the essay. There’s a lot of pitfalls that are going to trap you later on in life because you didn’t work your way through it. You were fooled by the profit G. That was, that was generated for you. Right? I mean, so take the, take the, the American pullout in Afghanistan, for example, look at the language, that’s surrounds that right about how many Americans lost their lives and how much money they spent. Very little knowledge and very little language about how many Afghans lost their lives. Yeah. And, and how many Afghan women lost their lives. If we’re talking about that and, and correspondingly, if we’re going to talk about Afghan women in the rights of Afghan women, what about the rights of American women?

Mike Loudfoot (31:30):
Right. So, you know, the, there, whether you’re four or against abortion that needs to be looked into, right. And, and the other thing that, that needs to be looked into, which isn’t as politicized is how on women in the United States are still only making 70 cents for every dollar and a man makes. Mm. So if we’re gonna start talking about those sorts of things, you need a very broad understanding of language and writing and, and all those things that go along with us. So it’s extremely important and tool, it’s a life tool that, you know, you carry through, you free the rest of your life. So, so that’s why I spent so much time on, on language. Right? Cause that’s the problem with another problem with our society is that because,uwe commodify everything. Everything has a, a financial attachment to it. We don’t value things that, you know, that, that we used to like music and art and, and literature.

Mike Loudfoot (32:35):
So well, how’s it going to make me any, any money? Well, when you, when you talk like that, as Cornell West said, you know, I don’t even know anything about Cornell west, but if you ever get a chance to listen to him again and shout out for Cornell west he said, well, what do we do? Well, rich kids get taught and everybody else gets tested. Mm. Right. So that’s sort of where we’re at now. So rich kids, the 1%, the 10%, whatever you want to slice it, they get taught to, to recreate the system and use the same language that their fathers and their mothers used and the rest of us get tested. So right. You get standardized tests. So we don’t learn how the system works. And so, and it’s not a difficult system to understand once you start to investigate it, but it takes an awful lot of work to, to begin that process.

Sam Demma (33:30):
Mm. Yeah. It makes sense. It makes a lot of sense. And, you know, I remember even the format of your class and the format of your teaching was very much geared towards writing and language because we would come into the classroom, you know, you would stand up, make some funny banjo noises.

Mike Loudfoot (33:50):
Yeah. We’re gonna, we’re gonna edit that out. You know? Yeah. They may wanna look up the movie deliverance, but anyway,

Sam Demma (33:58):
Okay. You know, you, you crack the couple of jokes and then, you know, without hesitation, you would jump into lecture and you would spend that hour, hour, 20 minutes. I can’t remember how long the classes even were, but you would just spend the time talking and teaching and like, you know, lecturing on a certain part of history. And the whole time you would just say, take notes. And like, you know, the whole, the whole class would fly by. I’d have like four pages of notes written. My hand was hurting and I was like, holy cow, there’s just so much writing. And I think it was the thickest binder I had in high school, but it was filled all with interesting things that made me very curious about history that made me wanna read more books and learn more about what you spoke of. And I’ll never forget the first day of class when you know, you, I think you literally said to everyone, I don’t want you to believe anything. I tell you if something makes you curious, you know, go by yourself and, you know, verify the facts. And yeah. I can see how you play such a big emphasis on writing and, and reading. And it rubbed off on me now. I love reading and I read books all the time and I think it rubbed off on a, a lot of other young people. How do we encourage those skills in youth? Is it through the way we teach or,

Mike Loudfoot (35:06):
Well, you’re doing it right now. Right? So now it’s it’s everybody’s job to, to, to do that. And and so the more people that we have encouraging other people to do that, then, then good things happen. We can’t depend on, on institutions to do things the way, the way things change are institutions are maintaining at best. That’s all they do. The way we change things is, is by you doing what you’re doing right now. So how many people will listen to this and say, you know, maybe I should find a book that I’m interested. It doesn’t even have to be a book nowadays. There’s so many books on YouTube and audio that you can just listen to stories. I mean, you can have it in the background while you’re doing something else. So this is the, this is the, the, you know, the paradox, the irony of our times is we have all this information available to us and, and, and our society’s getting it is getting more polarized and, and poor because we are not, we’re, we’re being distracted by the, by the, you know, the electric, like I used to say the electronic pollution hallucinations that are in front of us.

Mike Loudfoot (36:28):
Right. Mm-hmm, , you know, you look up things that are kind of important, like, you know, the debt ceiling or something like that. Cause the Americans are, you know, to find out about it is, and the views got, you know, I’m making this up cause it’s 700 views. And then you look out dog chasing its own tail. It’s got 7 million views. Yeah. I mean, and, and, and I, I like being entertained. Right. I, I enjoy a good joke and all that, but that shouldn’t be your go to, right. That should be something that you do as a, as a minor distraction to, you know, to, to, to bring some, some, some I don’t know, some levity to the situation. Right. But that’s, that’s where we’re at is, is we, we, we don’t incur, I mean, kids can’t even write cursive anymore. Not, not that maybe they need to, I don’t know.

Mike Loudfoot (37:26):
Maybe the technology is, is enough now that you can type, but there needs to be, I know there’s, there’s, there’s book clubs and things, but I libraries are struggling. Right. It’s maybe we’re moving into another zeitgeist. Right. But, and if we are, then, then we’re going to have to find out another way of, of getting through to the next generation so that they don’t become even more captivated by, I call this techno futilism that the, I think that’s where we’re moving to now where everything is, is essentially owned by somebody else. So this, this space that we’re in right now is owned by somebody. So it’s, it’s, we’re renting it. I think when you, I sit on the porch sometimes, and I think about my own kids who, you know, they don’t own a house, they don’t own a car. They, they have student debt.

Mike Loudfoot (38:30):
What we’ve done is the futilism part is, is the renting part, right? So the techno futilism is the, is the technology that, that they’re using to monitor us, to make money off of us, to influence our choices. That’s the techno part. And then the futilism part is simply a Ranier society where everybody’s renting everything. So just like futilism, you didn’t really own anything. You, you, you lived and you rented on the landowners estate, your crops, you worked for ’em, you, you know, you, you had to ask permission to go anywhere. I think that’s where we’re sort of at, if you think about your peer group for a second, and I don’t know your, your peer group, but do they own their own car? Do they lease it?

Sam Demma (39:16):
Most lease.

Mike Loudfoot (39:17):
Yeah. And in order to drive it, you have to have in insurance. Yep. Right. Well, that’s another rent, right. And if you do own a house, then you have to pay,uyou know, a mortgage that’s another rent. And then the insurance on the house is another rent. And if you rent a house, will obviously that’s a rent and your phone is rented and your internet connection is rented. So what actually do you actually own? Right. So those are sorts of questions that as thinking, you know, citizens, we, we need to ask ourselves, is this the direction that we want society to go in? Right. But again, that’s,uthose are structural changes that are, that require massive amounts of work to change. So, so I don’t have the answer to it, but I am aware of it, but

Sam Demma (40:07):
Yeah, that’s the first step, right. Consciousness. Yeah. Aware of it. There’s no conversation at all.

Mike Loudfoot (40:11):
Oh, well, and you have to have a background to have a conversation, right? Yeah. At some, or at least a curiosity to ask a question or two, so yeah. Yeah. So, and that’s, the other thing is too always ask lots of questions. So, so as a teacher, as a person, just, you know sometimes it’s best not to talk so much about yourself, but ask a lot of questions, the other person. Right. So, yeah. Yeah. I was, I always asked you guys questions about what you were gonna do, you know, what you were gonna do in your life and what was happening and yeah. Cause you should be interested in other human beings. That’s right.

Sam Demma (40:49):
Hopefully you are, especially as an educator.

Mike Loudfoot (40:54):
Yeah. Well,

Sam Demma (40:57):
If you could go back you taught for 31 years, you said.

Mike Loudfoot (41:01):
Yeah. Well, I, I, I taught for 30 years and then I student taught for one year. So nice.

Sam Demma (41:08):
So if you could go back, you know, travel back in time and walk into your first class, you know, what advice would you give your younger educator self?

Mike Loudfoot (41:19):
Oh, well I was a disaster my first year. Like, it was, you know, so well, first off,uwell the problem with first year teachers is,uthey’re all they’re doing is trying to keep their head above water. Yeah. I, it was you you’re working, I don’t know, 60 hours a week just to keep ahead of the kids. You’re exhausted. So I think that’s where the finished model would come into play. So they have two teachers in each classroom. And so you paired with a senior teacher, so they would help you, you know, your learning curve would go through the roof. Right. And you’re limited, they limit their classes to 40 kids to 40 that’s our system to 20 kids. Right. So there’s no, no classes are bigger than 20 kids. So you have 20 kids, two highly qualified teachers. And then,uthey have a support staff too, so yeah.

Mike Loudfoot (42:19):
Yeah. So that’s what I would, my stupid phones going off again. Okay. So the, I, I don’t know what you do for your first year, your first year is simply right. You don’t have time to do to do anything, so it just survive and then learn some things. And then, and, and then in the summertime, when you, when you get a breath, then sit back and try. And there’s the other thing too, is we had time in June, you years ago to, I used to redo all my lessons. Mm. It didn’t work. So I kept a chart of my lessons, which one? Yeah. I even did that from the first year. That was probably because of, I was in the military, but I would keep a chart and say, well, that was a disaster. And I would write down in my, my daily teaching book, I’d write down.

Mike Loudfoot (43:12):
That was a disaster you’re you? You’re an idiot or whatever. Right. It’s just, what were you thinking? Right. and,uso that we’re gonna change that lesson for sure. So I think it’s just time in, it’s just,utime in, and you, you have to change the structure so nice because, because yeah, it is your first year teaching, but it’s one of the, is that group of kids whole chunk of time for learning, you can’t just wing it. Right. Just because you’re new, what are you new? Uyou, you know, you you’re basically sacrificing those kids cause it’s a first year teacher. Right. So that could be fixed by, by implementing that, that mentor system, but that would cost more money. So we’re back to that, but there’s lots, again, there’s lots of money. It’s just that, you know,uare you gonna have a who who’s going, who’s going to, who’s gonna control the economic prosperity. Is it going to be,uthe risk rich that control it? Or is it going to be the citizens that control it? Well, I think it should be the citizens, but I know that’s crazy talk.

Sam Demma (44:27):
I feel like I’m, I feel like I’m back in your class. Yeah.

Mike Loudfoot (44:30):
I’m not, I haven’t changed that much. I’ve gotten older looking, but I, you know, I’m still what I am.

Sam Demma (44:35):
When, when you ran over there to turn off your phone, the first time, just outta curiosity, is that phone, is that phone with a cord stuck to the wall?

Mike Loudfoot (44:42):
Well, I have two phones, so the first one was the landline and and the other one was my cell phone that went off. Nice.

Sam Demma (44:50):
That’s funny. Awesome. That’s funny. Yeah.

Mike Loudfoot (44:54):
Well the landline, right? So when everything goes bad, I still got landline. , That’s awesome.

Sam Demma (45:01):
Mike, if, if an educator’s listening and, you know, feels inspired by this at all, or curious, and might have a question for you, if you do have the time, what would be the best way for them to reach out and shoot you a question?

Mike Loudfoot (45:12):
Slap down a hundred dollars. No thank you. Get one in, had to get one in before the end. Um, they can contact me at mikeloudfoot@hotmail.com. And, I don’t mind having to chat.

Sam Demma (45:34):
Awesome. All right, Mike, thank you so much for taking some time to chat on the show and share some of your experience and philosophies really appreciate it. Keep up the great work in retirement and if it’s if it’s even if you can even call it that and yeah. Well, we’ll, we’ll talk soon.

Mike Loudfoot (45:52):
Thanks Sam. Thanks for having me and, and God bless.

Sam Demma (45:55):
And there you have it. Another amazing guest, an amazing interview on the high performing educator podcast. As always, if you enjoy these episodes, please consider leaving a rating and review. So other educators like yourself can find this content and benefit from it. And here’s an exclusive opportunity that I mentioned at the start of this show. If you want to meet the guest on today’s episode, if you wanna meet any of the guests that we have interviewed, consider going to www.highperformingeducator.com and signing up to join the exclusive network, you’ll have access to networking events throughout 2021 and other special opportunities. And I promise I will not fill your inbox. Talk to you soon. I’ll see you on the next episode.

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