Sam: Why do you do the work you do with young people?
Dave Conlon: The energy and motivation of our young people are addictive and I love to be able to be a part of that movement."I know that student leadership builds involved citizens for our communities and country." – Dave Conlon Click To Tweet
Sam: What inspired you to get into this work?
Dave Conlon: A teacher at my school had the job of being an Activity Director and I was intrigued by this way of being involved with students when I became a teacher.
Another teacher tapped me on the shoulder and invited me to be a part of the national association. I was then inspired by the incredible teachers from all across Canada who are involved in student leadership and they haven’t been able to get rid of me yet.
Sam: What gives you hope? What do you think is the biggest opportunity in education right now?
Dave Conlon: Students who are actively involved in making their schools a better place give me hope. The biggest opportunity in education when we return from this Covid period is that we have a chance for a reset that focuses back on the importance of relationships and activities that build those relationships within education rather than a complete focus on academics.
Sam: Share a story about a situation where you witnessed a student transformation due to the impact of a caring educator.
Dave Conlon: I invited a young lady to join our leadership group in her grade 10 years. She was never voted president but was always working with students and helping our program in positive ways. In her graduating year, she was voted valedictorian by her peers, not because of her academic performance, but because of her contributions to the school and support of fellow students
“About 10 years after she graduated, I met her for coffee, and she told me that the student council and her participation in leadership “saved” her.”– Dave Conlon
I was shocked. I thought I knew her as a balanced, loving individual from a good home. Apparently, that was definitely not the case and our student council office was a “safe” and loving place for her. She found her home in leadership. She provided support for her fellow students because of it and everyone benefitted."You have no idea of the impact you have on students. They often won't tell you, or they are unaware of the impact at the time." – Dave Conlon Click To Tweet
Sam: What unique ideas, tools or software are you finding very helpful in your practice right now?
Dave Conlon: Mastering the video delivery of information and learning."People don't realize how far we have come in the past year." – Dave Conlon Click To Tweet
This has been a remarkable revolution in learning and application. It is very much like the desktop publishing earthquake that we now take for granted. Has anyone seen what a typewriter could produce “back in the day” and many teachers have no idea of what a dot matrix printer is and how primitive that was?
Sam: What is your motivator (or your driver)?
Dave Conlon: When the light bulb goes on in a class or bunch of advisors. You want them to get a piece of information and that “Aha moment” that you have generated is addictive. They are very few and far between, so that’s what makes them special.
Sam: What advice would you give your younger self when you just got into education?
Dave Conlon: Students show up for activities and leadership to do their best. They show up for Math or English because it’s a credit that’s on their timetable. Trust the kids."Students show up for activities and leadership to do their best. They show up for Math or English because it's a credit that's on their timetable. Trust the kids." – Dave Conlon Click To Tweet
Get in touch with Dave:
Listen to Dave’s episode on the High Performing Educator Podcast
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