SMUS Teacher Feature: Mr. Evan Fryer

Senior School math teacher, Senior boys soccer coach and Barnacle houseparent, Mr. Evan Fryer leads a very busy life inside and outside of SMUS.

Since Day 1 he has called Victoria home. He grew up in Saanich and graduated from Reynolds secondary before pursuing his Bachelor of Education (Secondary Curriculum) at the University of Victoria. His first introduction to SMUS was in 2012 when he started working as a coaching intern, doing double duty as a Senior boys soccer coach and a Junior houseparent. This is his second year in a teaching role at the school.

This year Evan teaches Math 9 and Precalculus 11 and 12. He is also working on the curriculum to teach AP Statistics next year.

Let’s get to know Mr. Fryer better:

What was your favourite subject in school?
Math because of the logic associated with it and how you could be creative in different ways and lead to the same answer. There isn’t just one way of doing it so I really enjoyed thinking about another way of approaching the subject that was easier for me to understand. Playing around with math is what I really enjoyed.

What was your first job?
I’ve been a soccer referee since I was 12. I’ve played soccer for over 20 years, but when I was a kid I used to watch the Saturday morning English Premier League games and I would try to make the decisions before the ref would make them. I knew that I could take my first refereeing course at 12, so I took it right away and loved it. Since then I’ve been given more higher level games and now I’m working tournaments around North America and at the Canada Summer Games this summer. 

What do you do on a day off?
Training for refereeing means lots of fitness, I like going on hikes and I enjoy playing piano.

Where do you most want to travel but have never been?
Antarctica. I’ve heard so much about it and I’ve watched documentaries about it, but I want to see it for myself and be on board one of those ships where you’re learning about the environment and the wildlife as you cruise.

What is one goal you want to achieve in your lifetime?
My goal is to be a FIFA referee. There are only three in Canada right now so it’s obviously very tough to do. I guess my fallback would be as an MLS referee. I’d just love to be able to leave work on a Friday afternoon and fly to New York to referee a Red Bulls game, and be back in class Monday morning.

Why did you want to be a teacher?
In my Grade 12 year our musical theatre director needed some assistance. I volunteered to help with the musical direction of the show and really enjoyed the interactions with my peers. I also felt like I was making a difference in terms of seeing people grow or seeing a spark in their learning process.

What did you want to be when you were 5 years old?
I wanted to be a battery tester. I loved using the one my parents had and seeing the needle go back and forth saying if it we should use it again or if I should throw it out. I always thought if I could be in a booth and people brought their batteries to me that would be the best job.

When have you felt your biggest adrenaline rush?
I travelled to the Middle East during the Arab Spring in 2011. Hosni Mubarak had just been overthrown in Egypt and I was in the country during some of the protests. I was travelling from Cairo to the Red Sea and got pulled over by a group of military police and they had a tank pointed right at our vehicle. I remember seeing this 16-year-old kid in the turret with a machine gun and thinking, “He has the power to just press a button right now and I could die.”

What was the first concert you went to?
Sarah McLaughlin when I was 10.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?
Going into university and dealing with failing my first midterm. It was eye-opening for me having to realize, “It’s OK to fail.” It’s allowed me to get into the heads of the students I work with now and teach them about learning from mistakes. “What went wrong? How can you grow from that? How will it fuel you to work harder?”

What is one thing you can’t live without?
Playing piano.

What movie have you watched the most in your life?
Every Christmas I watch Annabelle’s Wish.

SMUS-Teacher-Evan-Fryer-PianoWhat’s been your most memorable teaching moment?
Last year when I went on the Cariboo Cowboy adventure with the Grade 10 experiential program. It was such a cool opportunity to take the kids out there and have that experience. But when I think about the most memorable moment, there was a night when the whole group just sat around the piano and sang for hours. No technology to distract them and this is what the students wanted to do. That was the coolest thing ever.

Have you ever won anything?
I was coach of the 2016 Senior boys soccer that won provincials. And in high school I won a Heritage Fairs contest on my coal mining family history, and I won a trip to the national fair in Lethbridge.

What was your favourite field trip as a kid in school?
I enjoyed going to Camp Thunderbird every year with our leadership group in high school. It was a whole weekend being outdoors, playing games and having campfires.

Do you collect anything?
I collect musical instruments from every country I’ve gone. I try to find something that is culturally significant from that country, like a rababa from Jordan or an agogo from Brazil.

What are you currently reading?
The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester. It’s the true story about how the Oxford Dictionary was created and it it involves murder and mystery.

What’s the best part of your job?
Learning about the students and what gets them excited.

What’s your favourite meal?
Pork chops and apple sauce.

What do you love about living on Vancouver Island?
I love that I can go skiing and I can go to the beach all in the same day. I love that I can get anywhere I want and do something outdoors after work

What was your favourite childhood Halloween costume?
I was a spider that frightened Little Miss Muffet. My arms had all eight legs attached so whenever I lifted my arms the legs moved. And my younger sister was Little Miss Muffet.

If you could have one superpower what would it be?
Teleportation. I want to be able to snap and just be on a beach in Thailand or in Antarctica.

What are you passionate about?
Music is a really big part of my life. I’ve been playing piano since I was 6 and I went through the Victoria Conservatory of Music program. I still love playing; just sitting in my room for hours. I also play at weddings around town.

If you didn’t have to work what would you do?
I would travel. One of the things I really want to do is work in different small communities in a place like India or South America, and learn about those communities through working there and teaching kids. And then every six months I’d go and live somewhere else and try to immerse myself in a new place.


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