Baking up Something Surprising in the Classroom

The final activity for Module 1: Teacher for Learning in the eCampus Ontario mOOC is to explore my metaphor for teaching. I am a fairly new teacher with so much to learn.

Teaching is no piece of cake, but the classroom is kind of like my kitchen. I am a novice baker. My kids know this; They know better than to expect to come home from school to mom’s freshly baked cookies and pastries from scratch. Every once in awhile though, I like to try to surprise them. My confidence in the classroom ebbs and flows much like my confidence with the oven. Sometimes, I get brave and try out a new recipe (a new application to simulate symptoms of dementia via virtual reality). Sometimes it flops (burnt biscuits anyone?).

My teaching sort of equates to perfecting the recipe. It requires trial and error and constant revision. Too much sugar? Let’s adjust.

I have learned to be patient and kind to myself. I know that the perfect recipe won’t come to fruition overnight. It could take years and decades… and essentially, I may spend the rest of my entire career chasing that award-winning pastry.

For now, I will remember that it’s okay to go with the boxed Betty Crocker stuff sometimes as a jumping-off point. My kids appreciate the effort and see me experimenting… I think that my students do too.  

blueberries cake chocolate chocolate cake
Photo by Abhinav Goswami on



I’ll only drive from the passenger seat…

As part of the Ontario Extend mOOC “Teacher for Learning” module, I am tasked with identifying a concept in my discipline that is like driving a car. You know… fully understanding those threshold concepts that create that blind spot for you as an expert.

Teaching about person-centered approach in dementia care is kind of like driving a car (but from the passenger seat and with trust and patience). When we consider people to be the expert drivers in their own lives, we open up the possibility for empowering that person. In dementia care, we need to take into consideration that the person has strengths, preferences, and unique needs. We can not assume that we know anything from their perspective.

When working with people who live with dementia, it is important that they take that driver seat. Sure, as helpers we can offer directions or ideas for alternative routes… but ultimately, the wheel is in their hands and that is how it should be.

adorable adult animal automotive
Photo by Tim Gouw on