Nicholas Day

Teacher

Bachelor of Arts (Honours), French and Political Science, 1998

King’s was formative for me. While I didn’t know it would have such an impact at the time, much of my professional practice is linked to my experience at King’s.

Soon after arriving on campus, Nick jumped into his King’s journey. Nick got heavily involved in student life. He played soccer for and captained the King’s Blue Devils, he ran the Amateur Athletics Association, he worked in the Wardroom, and he was co-head of Frosh Week activities in his last year. One of the most formative pieces, however, was the intellectual stimulation and collegiality of the Foundation Year Program (FYP).

“It was challenging. It made me think. There was always collaboration in our tutorials, people challenging each other's thoughts and ideas. There was engagement. And there was also a sentiment that we were all in the same boat so we relied on one another and worked together, especially on FYP Sundays! King’s is ahead of its time. The skills that are emphasized in FYP are in high demand today. There’s no question my critical thinking and writing improved. These are 21st century skills that employers in all fields seek and demand.”

After graduating, Nick studied at a university in southern France where he was able to let curiosity take over.

“Being able to study things like Art History and Architecture made me more well-rounded. Being surrounded by people from other cultures expands one’s understanding of the world and insight into our own – in many ways, it was an extension of the King’s experience.”

Upon his return to Canada, he took a government job with Foreign Affairs – an experience that was illuminating in its own right.

“I didn’t particularly love the job I had, and things changed for the better one day when the phone in my office rang. The person on the line asked if I would be interested in tutoring in French. So I met with them and the conversation quickly evolved from tutoring to teaching. The next day I signed a contract to teach French at Ashbury College, an independent high school in Ottawa, for a year.”

That one year became three. Ashbury was much like King’s in that it was a small community that valued intellectual curiosity and broad participation in the life of the school. It was the beginning of a career.

“I didn’t have a clue about teaching but I knew what worked for me when I was a student so I modelled what my favourite teachers had done. It was what I went through at King’s.”

Nick went to Teacher’s College for the formal training then went to work at St Andrew’s College. It’s another independent school, an all-boys board and day institution in Aurora, Ontario. His experience at King’s was never far from his mind.

“In FYP we were incredibly lucky to have access to our professors. I was able to learn in a safe and nurturing environment. It was pretty formative. A lot of what I experienced there are things I push in my classroom now. I push collaboration. I push critical thinking. I push engagement and participation. The more questions you ask, the more you get out of it. I want my students to know that with the right stimulation they are capable of great things. Sometimes all they need is a teacher to push the right buttons and be accessible when they have questions. My teaching emphasizes the same skills that were front and centre in FYP. My approach to coaching and much of my success in that domain can be attributed to Dave Douglas and his approach to coaching.”

From St Andrew’s, Nick moved on to Appleby College in Oakville, another independent day and boarding school. Wherever he teaches though, Nick keeps his eye out for potential King’s students.

“I have suggested to a number of my students that they consider King’s and some of them have. Some students love the anonymity of a larger university. They are happy to be a number and just go into their classes and melt into the crowd. But others seek intellectual stimulation through participation – they thrive on their ability to be a person, to be themselves, and to engage in their communities. They are the ones I think would do well at King’s. King’s allows that to happen.”

“I’m grateful for the things that King’s imbued in me. This is not the last post on my journey, and King’s will be part of what comes next.”

Date posted: March 2021

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