Get to Know the Ridley College Faculty: Mr. Ben Smith

We have amazing teachers here at Ridley College. They’re passionate about learning, have a great sense of humor and truly love what they do! We decided to ask teachers a few questions in order for you to get to know them better.

In this interview we spoke to Mr. Smith.  He is a math and science teacher in the Lower School and coaches many sports teams.  Mr. Smith has tons of energy and enjoys hands-on learning and science experiments in the classroom.

1) What did you take in university? Why did you pursue this?
I went to school for a degree in biology and environmental science. I pursued this because as far back as I can remember I have loved to watch things grow and interact with the environment. I grew up on a farm, so my interest in the environment started early. I also took many psychology classes because I have also always been interested in how and why people think the things they do. Finally, I started teaching early on. At 16, I started as a sail instructor at the Dalhousie Yacht Club. From that moment on, I knew I would be doing something related to teaching.

Ben Sailing
Mr. Smith teaching students to sail at camp

2) Did you have any other interesting jobs before coming to Ridley?
Firstly, I was a sail instructor teaching people from 10 to 70 the basics of sailing. I have worked as an agricultural research assistant with Agriculture Canada where I helped develop integrated pest management strategies. I was a wetland ecologist and helped start research on many of the Great Lakes wetlands. I also spent a winter as a lobster and spear fisherman in the Florida keys.

3) What do you teach/coach/involved in at Ridley College and why do you love it? 
I teach Math and Science. I love that I am able to share my interest in the workings of the world around me with my students. I have coached soccer, basketball, hockey and squash. I enjoy getting to know students outside the classroom and see them excel athletically.


4) What is your passion? What do you like to do in your spare time? 
I have too many passions to list. First and foremost have a passion to share my curiosity about the world with people around me. In my spare time I renovate my house, run, read, bike, ride my motorcycle, sail, ski and garden. Currently and most often, I enjoy trying to teach my daughter how to ride a bike.

5) What do you love most about Ridley?
I love that Ridley is more than a school. It is a community and within it there is a large number (including students) that I can learn from.

6) What is your favourite place to go in the Niagara Region? (Restaurant, tourist spot, any place!) 
There is a little known walking trail on the edge of the town of Jordan the opens into the valley of a beautiful waterfall. The trees that grow there have been growing for hundreds of years, so it feels like you are walking back in time. My family and I take the dog to walk there quite often.

7) Do you have any funny stories about your time at Ridley?
Once when I was teaching summer school, I was demonstrating an experiment and it happened to make more smoke than I was expecting. As I’m doing my best to get the smoke under control, the fire alarm went off. As my class ran outside, I called security to let them know it was me that set the alarm off. I was embarrassed but relieved to find out that it was only a fire drill.