What do you want to teach the world and why?

Stunned Black Emoticon-32x32… I know, I know. Who are you and what have you done with that miserable curmudgeon Keith? This is question is definitely not in my Wheel House but it is the first assignment for EDCI 335, so am going to make an attempt to answer this very un Rispinesque question but before I start, I need to introduce myself to my professor Nicholas Zaparyniuk. So bear with me…

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Good afternoon Mr. Zapayniuk, my name is Keith Rispin. I am a 17 year teaching veteran at a large high school in West Vancouver. I have spent most of my career working with at risk kids and as a result, I don’t consider myself to be much of a teacher in the traditional sense but I am perfectly ok with that.

I view things through a cynical eye and tend to be on the negative side of most discussions but I don’t consider this a bad thing either. Some call me a contrarian, some call me a subversive but I think my twitter profile describes me the best. So with this said, I look forward to the next few months learning about Learning Design. For more of a detailed look at me click here

Now back to the question at hand. What do you want to teach the world and why? Truthfully, I haven’t a clue what I want to teach the world?


You would think by this point in my career I would have figured this out but the most important part of my job has never been about relaying information, it has always been more about those etherial things that many in this day and age see absolutely no value in. They are the same things I value the most about the education I received back in the day and absolutely NONE of it had anything to do with curriculum.

If I look back, starting with my parents. They taught me Resilience & responsibilityThat success and failure were two sides of the same coin and I could expect healthy doses of both through my life but most importantly don’t blame others for your failures and be sure to give credit to those who helped you succeed. 

Then there was Mr. Kravchuck who taught me that the measure of someones Intelligence can not be found on a report card and to hell with what anyone thought differently. Darren Eastcott our schools police liaison officer taught me the value of being Trustworthy (No I wasn’t being bad… At the time) and Mr. Ramsanker taught me that Kindness & Humour was all anyone needed to make a difference in someone’s life.

Mr. Miller taught me that Loyalty & Friendship is sometimes more important than doing what is expected of me. Even if it was he who was expecting something of me and Mrs. Mac Donald who taught me that Patience is more than just a virtue.

Mr. Feary taught me that in the absence of raw talent brut Determination shall always prevail and even Mrs. McArthur the pointer wielding principal/music teacher taught me a valuable lesson, that being Cruel is no way to get people to do anything

Unfortunately it would seem that these unmeasurable lessons have become casualties of our modern education system; disposable indulgences of the modern world. In the absence of teaching what was important in my day, we focus on teaching stuff. Finding the perfect balance between curriculum, curriculum delivery and student assessment. Endlessly looking for the perfect way to enlighten out children’s minds, all the while we risk darkening their humanity.

Whew! That was a bit of a downer wasn’t it? must be the weather…

But back to the question at hand. What do I want to teach my students and why? Well it is simple really. I would hope that in some small way (because of me) my students become independent, happy, healthy, functional contributors to our community. As for the why? What else is there that could be possibly more important than that? and how? I am just going to teach the way I was taught, people first curriculum second.



  1. Michelle Hiebert

    Keith, this is a great post. I totally agree with your assessment of what are the most important things to teach your students. Information is readily available at the touch of a button, so let’s teach our students to be good PEOPLE who have the skills to find the information they need and the abilities to critically evaluate what they find out. That’s important stuff.

  2. suzanne Bartel

    I enjoyed reading your run down of what your teachers taught you and how little it had to do with curriculum. It made me start thinking about what I really learned from my own teachers… And what I hope my students say they learned from me.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Christopher Lister

    Hi Keith,

    Always a pleasure to read your posts.

    Mr. Henderson (aka Geordie Henderson because he came from the NE of England) introduced me to Steinbeck and Of Mice and Men. At the time I hated reading, had little fluency, and would rather extract my own tooth than read a book. I was probably 14 and was pretty much a none reader. It was the first time I remember independently finishing a book and it felt good. I didn’t come back to Steinbeck for many years after that but there’s something special about his books.



  4. Liane

    Keith, you are never a downer! A voice of reality? Yes! I love seeing that what you, as a high school teacher, value in education is the same for me, an early years teacher! What an honour for those teachers in your life who taught you to be immortalized so. They gave you some of life’s valuable lessons. I wish more parents in my school taught Resilience and Responsibility and I hope to teach my students some of the lessons you listed. Cheers!

  5. Nick Zap

    Hello Keith – You must be in the wrong class, cause there are no wrong answers here ;-). And I think you articulated what you’re teaching with world quite well – it’s all the lessons we carry with us that do not fall within a defined curriculum– resilience, responsibility, determination, patience, etc. From the replies in your blog from other students it looks like those lessons have paid off. Welcome to EDCI 335!

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