Advice from Paul Ego

For this week’s Staff PD session at school we had Paul Ego come and talk to us. As a comedian who has worked on stage and television he was an inspired choice to talk to teachers. He mentioned early on how teachers are performers with the most judgemental audience.

Paul’s presentation style was relaxed, humorous (of course) and just involved him and a microphone. A real storyteller, his manner of delivery was a lesson in itself for us as teachers. But he also had a few points for us to take away from his stories. He covered the importance of:

  • persistence;
  • acting confident; and
  • enjoying the journey.

I seem to have written a few times about persistence this year since ICOT so it was great to hear Paul Ego talking about it being important as well. His version involved great stories about an ex-teacher and how long he could make a joke last but it resonated with the staff around me as to how that applies to us as well as students.

Acting confident or “fake it to make it” can be so important in many ways when teaching. Paul’s example of this was acting confident so a teacher with acrid breath didn’t come help him out but it definitely applies to teachers as well. A teacher who projects a sense of not being in control or sure of what they are teaching will struggle to get their students onside. One piece of advice I got whilst training to be a teacher was to always act confident in the classroom and have some bail out comments in mind to give yourself time to work out answers if you are unsure of what students have asked.

The 3rd point was about how people do not always go in a straight line from the starting point to the destination. This is particularly so in teaching. Yes we may have an end destination in mind but students will get there via various routes. We should enjoy that learning journey. It was also a good reminder to check what understanding students have taken from your learning activities. You may have aimed for it to teach A but they may have gone away with a different understanding.

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