The Reckoner is introducing a new segment: the Teacher Feature. For our first instalment, we sat down with Mr. Pearce to discuss his experiences with teaching, as well as some light-hearted trivia.
Q: What’s your favourite time of the day?
A: When I pick my kids up from their afterschool program and I walk home with them.
Q: Coke or Pepsi?
Q: Batman or Superman?
A: Definitely Batman
Q: Pet Peeve?
A: Plagiarism’s a big one
Q: Favourite word?
A: I like the word ‘nefarious’
Q: Favourite nerdy pastime?
A: Studying world maps
Q: Best place in Toronto to be?
A: Toss up between Kensington Market or Toronto Islands
Q: Coffee or tea?
Q: Read the book or watch the movie?
Q: What subject do you teach?
A: Currently, History, Civics, and Philosophy
Q: What inspires you to teach? Did you have a favourite teacher that influenced you?
A: Yeah, I had a few. My Grade 11 History teacher, Mr. Dodds, was inspirational. I went to school in Victoria BC, and he treated us like adults. He had us asking big questions, and encouraged us to get involved out of the classroom. I can remember for one civics assignment, we had to volunteer for a political party because there was an election going on.
Q: Do you think what you learned from that teacher is carried out in your own teaching today?
A: I think it is, to a large extent. I think I’ve got a lot of things I still need to work on as a teacher. I don’t feel like I’ve mastered it by any stretch, but I think one of the things about teaching is just a real passion for the subject matter.
Q: What is one aspect of your personal life that you are willing to share that students would be surprised about?
A: Before I was a teacher, I worked for many years doing human rights work in Latin America.
Q: Specifically, where did you go?
A: Mexico, Guatemala, and Colombia
Q: If you could choose any time to go to in a time machine, where would you go?
A: Well, actually I love music, so I might want to go back to the late 50s or early 60s to see some of the famous Jazz musicians play like Thelonious Monk or Miles Davis.
Q: Would you stay there, or visit and come back?
A: I would visit and come back
Q: Do you have one teacher that you disliked when you were a student? Would you like to share a story about them?
A: I was pretty lucky with teachers most of the time. I don’t have a good terrible teacher story.
Q: What do you think is the most important message that you try to convey to your students through your teaching?
A: It depends on the class, I tend to have one or two simple messages to each class that are sort of like my mantras. For philosophy, the overall message is “Do not believe hastily”. There’s a Roman poet Ovid who said that. [I want] to get people to just reflect on their beliefs and to try to think critically about what they believe and why.