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Flexible teaching with Jen Giffen

Updated: Oct 26, 2022


During episode 23, I interview Jenn Giffen, a digital literacy consultant from Canada who shares the power of being flexible during teaching and engaging in those teachable moments. Jenn is a Google Innovator, Microsoft Innovative Educator, Apple Teacher, and co-host of the #ShukesandGiff podcast. Jen believes you have time to do anything you want – you need to make time.

Tell me about your teaching story or journey into teaching and education

I knew from a young age that I wanted to teach – I was the kid who sat with her stuffed animals and taught them lessons. I applied to a concurrent education program and was not accepted (very tough on me at the time) and ended up doing a 1-year post-B.A degree.

Share a favorite teaching moment from your college days

My teaching degree was a one-year program post-B.A. degree. I remember going into a class and being so nervous that I accidentally taught them the cartesian place backward – all my x coordinates were on the y-axis and vice versa.

I was mortified when I realized this at the end of the class. I sat down with my associate teacher – who had watched the whole thing – and she asked: “so now what will you do?”

It was a great lesson to show students your human side and learn how to pivot when things go wrong. You are never going to be a perfect teacher - that is OK. No one is going to be perfect.

Share some advice that you have for preservice teachers related to the areas of EduMagic.

E: Educate and engage

Go at everything as though you are going to teach it. This strategy makes even the most boring content come alive, and you get to KNOW what you are learning....and think about how it could be more engaging.

G: Get out!

Try new things constantly...push beyond your comfort zone—Jen shares about doing an Ignite Talk, Design Thinking, and the Picademy.

What is the best advice about teaching that you received and how did you incorporate it into your teaching?

When we make mistakes or take risks, nobody dies! My Faculty advisor told me this all the time when I did my M.Ed. (Her husband was a pilot.) Now, whenever things go wrong, or I am hesitant to take a risk – this is what I say to myself.

Get in touch with Jen

You can connect with my guest on Instagram, Twitter @VirtualGiff, and her site Give her podcast a listen here.

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