I would like to feature Daniel Ferrante in my first #FeatureFriday post. I met Daniel when I was teaching in Nanjing.
Daniel is an unconventional teacher. He has a full sleeve and wears Vibrams to work. I chose to feature him because I want to emphasize that there is no “look” for a teacher. He’s unapologetically himself.
While it’s important to look professional, that doesn’t mean you can’t express yourself. I’ve taught with teachers sporting pink hair, nerdy earrings and necklaces—and that is all okay. We cannot teach our students to be proud of themselves when we don’t preach what we teach.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I completed my undergraduate degree in History and Geography as well as my Education degree at York University. I’ve been teaching since 2012, starting in Toronto, then teaching in China (Beijing, Nanjing, and Guangzhou) before coming back to Toronto in 2016 when I got hired by York Public District School Board. I teach English, Drama, History, Geography, and ESL.
Why did you decide to become a teacher? Who is your inspiration? Why?
I had very inspirational grade 12 Geography and History teachers who persuaded me to go into teaching. I found the subject matter of geography and history interesting because we can understand how we got from where we were to where we are today.
Why is teacher well-being important?
Teacher well-being is important because we need to take care of ourselves if we have any hope of taking care of our students. This is both our physical well-being (exercising regularly and eating healthy) and our mental well-being. We need to have a proper work-life balance whereby we can disconnect from our work and relax.
What is your favourite way to unwind after work?
My favourite way to unwind is to ride my motorcycle and enjoy the open road and to empty my mind. It’s a kind of meditation where you disconnect from everything.
Any top tips for newbie teachers?
My advice for new teachers is to not take everything seriously. Life is too short to worry about everything all the time. Laugh as much as you can and always take time for yourself. Work is always going to be there so take time to spend with friends, family, vacations, and leisure time.