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Q&A with Middle School Teacher Jeffrey Lewis

How long have you been a teacher and when did you start at BGS?

I have been teaching for eight years and started at BGS in 2016.

Why were you inspired to become a teacher?

When I was in school, I was the type of student who would volunteer to edit my peers' drafts and try my best to help them. I did it because I enjoyed it, so that was a pretty good hint that teaching would be a fulfilling path for me. I am also passionate about the power of stories and language to help us make sense of the world around us.

What do you enjoy most about teaching BGS boys?

I have found that BGS boys have an insatiable curiosity for knowledge. They are voracious readers, and the boys are not afraid to deeply question the world and their place in it.

What's your favourite lesson/topic to teach and why?

In the Year 8 English program, we have a unit where students explore the Science Fiction genre, and ultimately write their own short story in response to the prompt, 'What does it mean to be human?'. I love teaching this unit because it invites students to follow their unique interests and challenge their creativity. The diversity of ideas, characters and settings in students' stories make them an absolute joy to read.

How do you make your classroom fun for students?

I try to create opportunities for students to move about and learn in ways that draw upon a range of sensory experiences. For example, in the Science Fiction unit, we get students to create samples of creative writing in response to music, to film their own survival monologues. This creates learning experiences where boys need to talk or do!

How has teaching changed since you started?

Even in the past five years or so, the emergence of digital technologies seems to have accelerated at an incredible rate, and this has significant implications for the way we teach and the ways that students learn. I think the greatest challenge we face is balancing the need to ensure students are proficient in using technology without becoming beholden to, or overly reliant on, said technology.

Do you think the way students learn will change over the next decade?

I think the answer to this question has to be yes, simply as a response to the pace of change that we are experiencing due to the impending automation of many industries. I am not sure exactly what the nature of those changes will be when it comes to schooling, but I do think something fundamental that will remain constant is the importance of meaningful relationships between students, teachers and parents. People will always learn best from people who they believe have their best interests at heart and believe in their potential.

What achievement are you most proud of as a teacher?

I have really enjoyed speaking with recent graduates in the past year and hearing about the success they are experiencing after school. It seems that the greatest achievement a teacher can have is contributing positively, even in some small way, to a student's future happiness. On a more personal level, I have had the privilege of accompanying Year 10 students on the Cambodia Immersion ‚Äčover the last two years, and this has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have had.

If you had to name one thing that sets the BGS Middle School apart from other schools, what would it be?

The word that comes to mind is 'community' – there is a feeling of joy, levity and camaraderie that you can sense when moving through the Middle School precinct. It is a wonderful place to be!‚Äč

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