by Sara Owen-Flood
Mr. Maxwell is the new Hinton Chair at SMUS teaching History 9 and Law 12. You may have seen him coaching the Junior Boys Soccer Developmental Team or running the History is Cool Club. Sara Owen-Flood conducted an interview to find out more…
Q: Where did you teach before coming to SMUS and what was it like?
A: For the past 7 years I worked at an all-boys independent school called Selwyn House School. It is in Westmount Quebec, an English suburb of Montréal. Before that, I taught in Ontario for 10 years.
Q: How is SMUS different from previous schools you’ve taught at?
A: Well the big thing that hits me is that for an independent school, it’s very big. There’s 160 graduating Grade 12s this year, and at my previous school there were 550 boys from Kindergarten to Grade 11. Also, I was at a laptop-based school so there have been some adjustments I’ve had to make with technology.
Q: So do you still incorporate a lot of technology in your classroom?
A: I try to. I think it’s a different way to be resourceful. When I was at the laptop-based school, I noticed you can find resources really quickly off the internet, unfortunately, the trade-off is the distractions that can come with a laptop.
Q: How did you get into teaching?
A: My two older sisters are a teacher and a lawyer. When I reflect about it, my oldest sister had an impact on me wanting to be a teacher… But I always say if I wasn’t a teacher I would be a lawyer. Also, my mom was a nurse, and I think there are a lot of parallels between nursing and teaching in terms of assisting people. I used to work at summer camps as a counsellor, so in many ways I was always being directed to this profession.
Q: Tell us about being the Hinton Chair.
A: I was very intrigued by this role. All the students in the school should take some time and become familiar with who Leslie Hinton was. He was a pretty remarkable student, so this position is a testament to the alumni. It is a great opportunity that allows for profes-
sional growth, new ideas and fresh perspectives.
Q: How did you get into Law / Politics / History?
A: When I began my undergraduate studies I was an economics major. After my first year I, I switched to History and English. The last two years of my undergrad I only took History and English classes, to ensure that I could be a double major. And then I continued with graduate studies and graduate work in those two fields. When I think about social studies, I like the social dynamics associated with them.
Q: What impression has SMUS left on you, so far?
A: I think it’s a really great school. I’m a product of the independent school system and I’ve taught in it for years. It’s a very busy place around here, which is great. The kids are pretty amazing, and have lots of opportunities which is what often separates them. I enjoy working with the Social Studies department; they’re a remarkable group of people. We get along well and we’re really social. It’s really exciting to be here, like a breath of fresh air.
Thank you and welcome, Mr. Maxwell!
This story appeared in the October issue of The Jag student newspaper. Click here to read the full edition.