Long Standing Traditions at School

Tim StephensonBlog, Connect Better, Engage Better, Reflect Better


  • Creating school-wide experiences for students beyond the classroom makes school an enriched place to be.
  • When you have an idea, have the courage to follow through with the idea.
  • Enjoy reading a poem written for the whole school as part of a performance.

The first year I did this was 2005. The staff at school was wondering about whether or not we should go through the effort of putting on a Christmas performance, and I thought it was rather necessary. The students love to see their teachers perform.

So I offered to write a “play” to which the teachers could act out with minimal effort and no rehearsal. It worked! And now 17 years later, I am still writing and reading to the school on the last day before Winter Break. I do so in this character I’ve created who I have named the Old Grumpy Guy.

I’m sharing with you this year’s poem, but more than that, I’m sharing with you an idea. You see, teaching is more than the classroom and lessons (as I’m sure you know), and the more you can bring to the school beyond the classroom (the title of my book), the better the experience for both you and the school. I encourage you to follow through with that idea you’ve got. If you wonder if you should step forward with something unique that the school could benefit from, let me assure you, you should.

The more you can bring to the school beyond the classroom, the better the experience for both you and the school. I encourage you to follow through with that idea you've got. Click To Tweet [scroll down to keep reading]

Here’s the poem for 2022:


Well last I recall, it was 12 months ago 

I sat down right here to take part in this show 

And the gym, it felt good, with the lights turned down low 


Last year’s graduate class have all crossed the stage 

And their places now filled with those younger in age 

Seems the author of time keeps on turning the page  


But what would you expect, of course time marches on 

Just like the sun rises each morning at dawn 

Each day’s a new picture that wants to be drawn 

Each year’s a new story, a poem, a song 


And I’m over here at one end of time 

While you’re over there just beginning the climb 

I certainly don’t want to step our of line 

So please will you allow me to finish my rhyme? 


With a couple of words that I’ve written for you 

From years of experience, perhaps a mistake…, maybe 2 

But I’ve learned from all these, perhaps you can too 

And start the New Year fresh, wave goodbye to ‘22 


Here it goes: 


If you fought with a friend, then go make amends 

Hear a yip or a yelp, then offer some help 

See a person in need, well don’t make them plead! 

Make time for a laugh and then choreograph 

A dance or a play, in an unfettered way 

And make sure that you dream, make it really extreme 


Show people love, like the kind from above 

Or at least show them “like” and be done with your spite 

Put a smile on your face, fill your space up with grace 

Go plant some trees and some flowers for bees 

Then explore this vast world, let your sails be unfurled 

But reduce what you take and leave only wake 

And look up from your feet, what you’ll see is a treat 

It’s sky full of stars and wherever you are 

They’ll shift all your thoughts from a little to lots 

Then you’ll understand why that this Old Grumpy Guy 

Just loves to be here, even just once a year 

To be part of the cheer that big thinkers hold dear 




If you want the school to be cool 

And you want to reach who you teach 

Then you’ll start with the heart 

And you’ll soon gain the brain 

See we aren’t points of data 

We’ve got feelings that matter 

So in this season of giving 

I’ll say here’s what you do, 

You treat all of the others how 

You want them to treat you! 


And lastly I’ll say in this Christmas season 

The gift is the giving, you don’t need a reason 


About Tim Stephenson

Tim has been teaching in Langley, British Columbia for over 25 years. He’s a science teacher, particularly astronomy, which is a course he has developed into a full credit senior science course. In his school, he is known as AstroStephenson. Way back at the beginning of his teaching career, he wrote a book, really to himself, that contained his teaching philosophy. It was a project that would define his career. He is a possibility thinker, a dreamer and a doer, an innovator.

From the very beginning, he knew that he wanted to teach by putting students and relationships ahead of content, and putting experiences and emotions ahead of curriculum. The result has been a long career of rich and rewarding experiences for both himself and his students, the pinnacle being in 2018 when he was the recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

Now Tim would like to share with you his thoughts and experiences on teaching with the hope that by reflecting better, you will feel empowered to try new things, teach in new ways and see the possibilities that are there for all of us in the teaching profession.