Meet Our Teacher Leaders - Greg Ryerson
Meet Our Teacher Leaders
We have always been proud of our passionate group of Teacher Leaders. And during this global pandemic, we feel even more grateful for the wonderful work they do, sharing their knowledge and inspiring other educators across Canada to bring STEM into their online and in-person classrooms. Over the next few months, we would like to introduce you to some of the Teacher Leaders who are making an impact in their school communities.
Meet Greg Ryerson
Greg is a middle school science teacher with a newfound passion for coding. He has been teaching for 11 years, and he recently became a Teacher Leader with the Let’s Talk Science team. Greg hosts a series of STEM Career webinars in which he helps other teachers make the connections to STEM career pathways in their classrooms.
What’s your favourite thing about teaching science to the middle school age group?
I find this age group provides a wicked mix of youth and maturity, energy and focus, creativity and diligence, vulnerability and openness. They are exhausting at times, but I also thrive on their energy.
They often exude a love of learning and exploring. In fact, one student said to me today, “I know that I can just check this activity off as done, but I want to understand it and learn what it means. Can you help explain it to me?” That’s huge! And such an important mindset when studying STEM.
What are your main goals as an educator?
So much of the reason I teach science is driven by this Carl Sagan quote: “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”
I often tell my students that if they leave my classroom believing that somewhere out there, there’s something incredible waiting to be known by them, that I have done my job. I think it’s so important that young people move forward wanting to remain involved in STEM.
I want my students to have a healthy appetite for exploration, to ask wonderful questions, to look at the information that is presented to them and to feel confident that they can evaluate that information and determine its accuracy and relevance.
What is your greatest hope for teachers and students as we cope with the Covid-19 pandemic in the classroom and at home?
I truly believe that the rapid adjustments that were made by so many parties could lead to genuine pedagogical shifts, and I so hope that they do. How many students benefited from the ability to learn asynchronously? How many educators looked at their programming and had to pare it down to the bare essentials? How many of us spent more time than ever making sure that everyone was well before even worrying about covering content?
More immediately, I also hope that everyone finds time to relax, slow down, and re-evaluate. This is the time to focus on what is important. This is the time to hone in on those relationships that mean the most to us and ensure that they are solid.
And, most importantly, I hope that everyone is safe and well (whatever ‘well’ may look like for them).
How do you feel about future career opportunities that today’s young people will have?
I think the fact that so many young people will be forging their own career paths is super exciting. The fact that so many of the careers they may end up in don’t necessarily even exist yet is fascinating. I also am excited by the fact that so many careers now are multi-faceted. As it becomes more and more commonplace that people work between fields rather than solely focusing on one specific area of study I am so excited by the opportunities that will be created.
Coolest STEM job out there right now, in your opinion?
It has to be space robotics! I also believe that Canada is a world leader in this realm, which is awesome.
What skills do you believe are important for students to have on their STEM career journeys?
I’m a huge proponent of the 4Cs/21st Century Skills/Global Competencies. But beyond that, I think one of the most important skills a STEM student can have is the ability to analyze information and situations—identify problems, empathize with needs, devise solutions. Design thinking and inquiry skills are super important as well.
Tell us a bit about your experience hosting the STEM career webinars.
First, I think it’s hilarious that I have the opportunity to host a webinar on a regular basis. Second, I’m so grateful that I’m able to present this series with Tory, another Teacher Leader. One of the most rewarding parts of this process is being able to work with her, learn from her, and to develop some banter with her as we continue to deliver the sessions together. Third, I’m just excited to be able to share these resources with other educators. I was actually on the team that created some of them, so I am quite committed to them. But I also know how transformative Let’s Talk Science and its resources have been to my teaching journey, and it’s awesome to be able to share that with others.
What do you enjoy most about being a Teacher Leader?
I love that I now have the ability to share these great experiences with other educators through this role. I remember going to a Let’s Talk Science Professional Learning event a few years back and thinking, “These guys really get it. This session is relevant, timely, and I can implement these activities in my classroom tomorrow.” That is not always the case with Professional Learning sessions. So, I’m really excited by the possibility that I might also be able to deliver a session that will be that relevant to someone else.
Join us for a Webinar
Do you want to help your students prepare for their future careers?
STEM Leads to All Career Pathways is a series of webinars that shares ready-to-use, curriculum-based content through Grades 7 to 12. Register for a session now!