Sam: Why do you do the work you do with young people?
Marc England: I love to see growth. Whether it’s over the term of a specific course, or over the five years kids are in our school, I love to see kids learn and grow into young adults with new skills and knowledge. The fact we share part of their journey in growing up is an incredible opportunity (and responsibility) that makes me love coming to work every day. In Student Leadership, we get to provide opportunities for kids to take action and make a change."I love seeing them find the courage and their voice, to want to make a difference and make their schools and communities better." – Marc England Click To Tweet
Coaching also provides me with an opportunity to participate in something I love; sports. Coaching in our Athletics program lets me work with a different group of students and helps me develop too as I work to balance competition with growth. All of these elements add up to me working with young people mostly because it’s worth the time and energy and I love it!
Sam: What inspired you to get into this work?
Marc England: I had a chance to work with young fastpitch softball officials in my late teenage years and early 20’s and I really enjoyed the instruction part of it. I liked teaching clinics, I liked evaluation with the mindset of improvement, and that grew into exploring teaching as an option. I also had those teachers that were inspiring: Mrs. Hillman and Mr. Jamieson, who while polar opposites in style and approach, were equally inspirational and important in my life and thoughts on what kind of teacher I would want to be.
Sam: What gives you hope? What do you think is the biggest opportunity in education right now?
Marc England: Easy! Kids. Kids give me hope. They are everything in education. I truly believe all educators need to approach their profession with kids at the center."Every kid that enters my classroom is an opportunity." – Marc England Click To Tweet
An opportunity to make an impression; short or lasting, an opportunity to help and hopefully not hinder, and an opportunity to let them know they have a place in our school and have their voice heard.
Sam: Share a story about a situation where you witnesses a student transformation due to the impact of a caring educator.
Marc England: I’m fortunate to work with many amazing colleagues, but one of my co-workers is the most gifted educator in her ability to relate to kids that I’ve ever seen. On more than one occasion, I’ve seen her ability to get the most challenging students to participate, to help the struggling students succeed, and she has inspired many to care more about the school, participate more, and make a difference."The common element is caring." – Marc England Click To Tweet
Every single student knows she cares and she is able to relate to them all. It’s such a pleasure to watch her journey as an educator and I’m so grateful to work with her.
Sam: What unique ideas, tools or software are you finding very helpful in your practice right now?
Marc England: I haven’t had to do very much Blended learning in my role as a Leadership teacher and Humanities, but I’ve found support through various education threads on Twitter and in education groups online. In Canada, the Canadian Student leadership Association website and social media presence are extremely valuable.
Sam: What is your motivator (or your driver)?
Marc England: As I mentioned above, kids drive me to be better every day. During COVID, when things can be sterile and repetitive, just knowing there are 25-30 kids in each class ready to laugh and learn keeps me going, and I know every day is different because of this!
Sam: What advice would you give your younger self when you just got into education?
Marc England: I would tell myself to be patient. I would remind myself that meeting kids where they are and keeping a relational approach as the center of my pedagogy."I've always believed relationships and trust are way more important than curriculum or a standardized test." – Marc England Click To Tweet
The journey is more important than the mark, and I would tell myself to never lose that focus. I would tell myself that the education system is exactly that: a system, with so many moving parts. It’s really easy to get frustrated by the mechanisms of the system, and I would tell myself that patience is key, and when feeling frustrated, focus on the kid in front of you and not your frustration with the system.
Get in touch with Marc:
Listen to Marc’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