Name: Mr. Mepham
School: Essex Public School
Contact: (519)776-9676 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Colours: Blue & orange
Subjects: Social studies, math, art
Teams: New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Maple Leafs (loosely), NASCAR
Movies: Rock Star, Breakfast Club, Gladiator, The Goonies, Meatballs
Food: Chocolate, BBQ, pizza
Quote: “The race isn’t always to the swift but to those who keep on running.”
Quote to students: “Math is everywhere” and “Words are cool”.
A bit more about me
I am now entering my 19th year of teaching. I spent the first five years teaching grades six, seven and eight at Roseville Public School and a decade at King Edward School, which saw me teaching grades four through six in that time. I am now entering my fourth year here at Essex Public School. Personally, I almost feel as though Essex PS was destined to be my next school. My grandparents used to live on Hopgood Sideroad and I remember many a summer spent in the town of Essex; visiting the Stedman’s store on Talbot; going to the Pop Shoppe; and grabbing groceries at Sadler’s supermarket. If that weren’t enough, my favourite colours and the same as the school colours at EPS! I’m very happy to be a member of the Phoenix family and look forward to another positive year ahead!
As for me as a teacher, I believe in pushing students to be their very best. I run a structured and fair classroom environment that is coupled with creative and interesting assignments that aim to enrich student learning. I have a reputation of being a “hard marker”. If I’m ever hard on my students, it’s only to make them reach the goal of being their absolute best. I like to use humour and stories in my daily teaching. Everyone likes a good story and jokes are a great way to put a smile on anyone’s face. In between that, the material I teach hopefully sinks in. By the time my students have left my room in June, I hope they have become critical thinkers, better citizens and goal-driven individuals.
I also believe in the concept of community. Ten months is a long time to spend together so I treat each school year like an gathering of extended family. Respect and cooperation are big words in our classroom. We all wear the “6M badge” and we need to be proud and supportive of everyone in our group.
In terms of educational philosophies, I’ve become a big supporter of Finland’s education system. Having read extensively on the subject, I feel as though they’ve devised an education system that “works” mainly by focusing on doing fewer things really well as opposed to many things in mediocrity. Breaks are woven into the school day to allow kids to recharge, and the culture there fosters independence at an early age. Students in Finland start school later and finish sooner but somehow they are among the best in the world when it comes to learning. I’ve sporadically woven some of their philosophies into my own teaching practice and I’ve noticed the results. This year I’ll be experimenting with some more Finnish strategies with the aim of making your child a better learner.
In prior years, I have coached various sports teams, as well at King Edward’s Odyssey of the Mind team. The program has since changed but in our short run, we advanced to four World Finals between 2006 and 2009, which took us to Iowa (twice), Michigan and Maryland. I assisted with King Edward’s active club (lunchtime intramurals); designed the school’s monthly newsletter; and, years ago, the King Edward website. Since arriving at EPS, I’ve become the on-site graphic designer, creating logos and jersey designs for our sports teams and spirit wear, and designing the school’s newsletter. I also assist with the boys’ baseball team each spring.
Proud to be a Canadian, I feel it’s important that all Canadians take pride in their nation. I will often cite facts, anecdotes and tidbits about Canada to make my students aware of this great nation of ours. Remembrance Day, and the sacrifices of soldiers hold a special place in my heart. In 2005, my grade sixes and I spearheaded a fundraising drive to help our surviving WWII veterans get back to Dieppe, France for the unveiling of a new memorial. I agreed wear a Red Wings jersey for one day if our goal of $500 was met. Our school raised $581.36, a total that was matched by an anonymous donor in the community. This sparked off a fundraising drive throughout the city’s schools and helped send our vets back to Dieppe…and yes, I spent a whole day wearing a Wings jersey. Five years ago, I attended the dedication ceremony for the same type of monument here in Windsor at Dieppe Gardens, which brought the whole initiative to full circle for me.
I’ve been to Europe twice on personal war pilgrimages. Having lost one member in the Great War, and having several others serve, it was important for me to go to these battlefields and cemeteries to honour and carry on the memory of these extraordinary Canadian heroes. Walking on the beaches of Normandy and Dieppe, the battlefields of Vimy Ridge, the Somme, Beaumont Hamel and Ypres is life altering. Standing among thousands of fallen Canadian soldiers in the countless cemeteries that dot the France and Flanders landscape was humbling and gives you a better appreciation of the generations that were affected by these conflicts. It only elevated my appreciation for the sacrifice our young Canadians made in those wars. One interesting tidbit from my trip in 2009 occurred in Dieppe, France. I was waiting behind an elderly French woman to pay for parking and she didn’t seem to understand the amount of money she needed to put in. She asked me something in French but my knowledge of the language is limited. I managed to tell her I was Canadian and her face lit up. She took my hand and shook it, clearly appreciative of what the Canadians attempted to do for the people of Dieppe back in 1942. I can honestly say it was proudest “Canadian moment” of my life. I plan to return to these areas and onward into the Netherlands this summer with my older brother. More recently, I had my students from last year research a Canadian soldier who fell at Vimy Ridge. They took time to scour their military service records and try to put a face behind the name. They then created small tributes that I delivered to the cemetery where they lay when I arrived at Vimy in July. Another proud moment, connecting the generations.
My down time is spent at home with my family. My wife is a teacher in Windsor and we have a son going into grade three. I’m a fan of the mystery/suspense genre, with Harlan Coben and Tess Gerrittsen as my favourite authors. For children’s literature, no one is better than Toronto-born author Gordon Korman. In fact, we’ll be reading a couple of Korman’s books this year. I like some reality television (Survivor, Amazing Race) but spend most of my viewing hours watching sports. Lately, I’ve been caught up in the educational programs on the Smithsonian Channel. As a fan of hockey, my goal is to see all 30 NHL teams in action; currently, I’m at 26 with four to go. I’ve been a Leafs fan all my life but these last eleven years of mediocrity have my loyalties waning. Three summers ago, I went to Boston’s historic Fenway Park to see my Red Sox play (and defeat) the Detroit Tigers.
So there you have it. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at any point throughout the year regarding your child’s education. That’s what I’m here for.