Every year, the Hinton Chair position allows SMUS to bring in an excellent teacher for one year, creating an opportunity for new ideas, collaboration, professional development and a fresh perspective on education.
This year’s Hinton Chair is Mr. Benson Young, who is teaching Grade 10 and Grade 11 Advanced Chemistry. On a sabbatical from teaching at all-girls school Crofton House, Mr. Young is enjoying the change of scenery.
“It’s refreshing teaching co-ed again,” he says. Before his six years at Crofton House, Mr. Young worked at Sentinel Secondary School, where he started an AP Chemistry programme, and in the Squamish region of British Columbia, where he took advantages of the many opportunities for outdoor sports.
Regardless of where he teaches, Mr. Young says that he always tries to create a positive environment for his students and engage them in whatever they’re learning about. Creating enthusiasm for the subject material is part of effective teaching, says Mr. Young, so he tries to incorporate analogies, stories, real-life events and experiments into the classroom to keep things interesting. “If students are having fun, it’s a better learning experience. “
Fortunately, chemistry provides many opportunities to create excitement as lab work and demonstrations can include tiny explosions and color changes. While Mr. Young enjoys the reactions that can be produced through his science, he says that what captivates him about his field is “how it can be related to real life and how it can explain things.”
Outside of the classroom, Mr. Young has been assisting coach Stuart Dixon with squash intramurals, as he is a Middle C player himself. Mr. Young also holds a minor in history and he continues to read and learn about European history.