I am a high school teacher from Canada. (See CV below)
Welcome to my education blog where I pursue professional development by reviewing books and writing about educational ideas.
My educational vision is to teach the liberal arts with 21st century methods. The liberal arts are the disciplines that make you a freely thinking person, rather than a slave to someone else’s ideas. The classical trivium, or methods of study, are about learning how to think, not just what to think. Once you have learned how to approach different forms of knowledge (grammar), analyse arguments (logic), and express your ideas in a cogent and appealing way (rhetoric), you can excel in pretty much any discipline.
Most of the themes in this blog have something to do with the question of intellectual freedom: in what ways does technology help or hinder our development? Is science the dominant mode of understanding, and if not, what are its limits? What can we know, what ought I to do, and what can I hope for?
Sometimes there will be practical tips and suggestions, but often the goal is just to provoke thought and discussion. Luckily for me, teaching is a profession that makes all of these questions very real, in the sense that they are embodied every day in face-to-face relationships. This blog may not be terribly practical for others, but it certainly is for me.
Writing about education and ideas forces me to consider ideas for a longer period of time than I would normally do, and is an antidote to the creeping pragmatism of everyday busyness. It’s easy to feel engaged on Facebook or reading hyperlinked articles, while not really gaining any traction in the things that matter.
As Parker Palmer has said,
Teaching, like any truly human activity, emerges from one’s inwardness, for better or worse. As I teach, I project the condition of my soul onto my students, my subject, and our way of being together…
Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher…. (The Heart of a Teacher)
QSI International School Tbilisi, QSI Yerevan, Grant Park High School Winnipeg
COURSES (*currently teaching)
AP Seminar*, AP Psychology*, AP Economics, Grade 11 American Literature*, Grades 6-10 Literature and Writing, Grades 9-12 Spanish
Seminar style – Together with direct instruction, I use Socratic discussions to conduct inquiry about Big Questions in the history of ideas, inspired by the St. John’s College model of education.
Debate and Public Speaking Program – Inspired by John Robinson and Brian Casey of Canada, I founded Tbilisi Debate Camp, the only international event of its kind in the Caucasus region. We hosted top debate trainer and head judge of 2020 World School Debate Championships, Sharmila Parmanand.
Model UN director – I was trained in the Hague THIMUN, and led delegations to CGS Athens, AIS Budapest, Hisar Istanbul middle school, and the Hague. I organized and mentored students to run the only “Mini MUN” for middle school students in Tbilisi.
Outdoor Education – I have planned camping trips for 100 people. I worked for adventure guiding company Caucasus Nomad as a Youth Program Coordinator, and guided small groups of 10-15 students on week-long excursions in the Republic of Georgia, and started an orienteering club.
Social Work. I helped a wide variety of clients – FASD, high risk to re-offend program, autism spectrum, brain injury rehabilitation, various mental illnesses.
Cross Cultural. I grew up overseas in Bogota, Colombia, travelled widely, and currently live in the cultural crossroads of the Republic of Georgia.
Service Work. I have volunteered on an archaeological dig with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, sung in choirs, served as a board member at an Anglican church, and worked with boys clubs in the inner city.
Workshop leader: “Intellectual Integrity through Socratic discussions”, “Creating Habits of Thinking”, “Finding, Selecting, and Using Older Primary Sources for Canadian History”, “Philosophy Cafe Program”.
Carl Ridd Scholarship in Humanities and Community Service (U of Winnipeg 2010), Aesthetics and Continental Thought Prize – Philosophy Dept. (U of Winnipeg 2006), Best Column Series: “Do Free Markets Foster the Decline of Virtue?” Ev. Press Assoc., Aviation Scholarship (Providence College 2000), Top Power Mechanics Student (Kildonan East Collegiate 1999)
From 2014 Evaluation:
Mr. Siebert is a hard-working, committed and professional teacher. He is engaged in the life of the school through the Debate Club, Philosophy Club, and Coaching. His lessons are meticulously planned and executed. He is able to change the lesson plans if students require more depth in one area. He works well with colleagues and administration. Although he teaches some higher level AP courses, he plans his lessons to be interactive and experiential. He uses technology to enhance the learning experiences of his classes. He is a creative and inspired teacher.
From 2014 letter of reference:
I have no hesitation in giving Mr. Siebert the most positive of references. Mr. Siebert is a valued member of the teaching staff at Grant Park High School.
Practicum cooperating teacher:
Andrew went above and beyond the expectations of the curriculum, and spent countless hours preparing lessons with anecdotal stories and artifacts to immerse students in the content of the course, not just providing information at the superficial level. He also took into account the cultural backgrounds of students, as well as their interest in media to ensure that they were receiving content that was important, relevant, and fun for students to learn. Andrew formed successful relationships with students and staff alike, and really became part of what we consider to be our school family.
Practicum cooperating teacher:
Andrew has a firm, yet polite and respectful manner and the students respond favourably.