A tie for every occasion

Oct 17, 2002, vol. 25, no. 4
By Carol Thorbes

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Amin Saad (left) has a novel teaching aid that sits in a long drawer at home rather than on the Internet, an electronic toolbox of highly sought after learning aids.

Saad's low-tech aid is his unconventional collection of more than 365 ties. A master's student in education at Simon Fraser University, Saad became a serious tie collector 22 years ago when he started teaching in B.C.

One day, he headed into his grade one to six class at Port Alberni's Wood elementary school wearing an eye-popping, rainbow-coloured tie. That's when Saad realized just how powerful a teaching aid he wore around his neck.

“My students' fascination with where I had got my tie and why I had chosen that particular one inspired them to work. I had one of my most successful teaching days,” remembers Saad, a Coquitlam resident. “I now have at least one special tie for every day of the year.”
Ties depicting cartoon characters, sports, the four seasons, leather ties and classy dinner ties are highlights of Saad's valuable, one-of-a-kind collection.

Saad's favourite is a stained glass tie - a 1993 Christmas gift from Meryle Ditchburn, a 15-year-old student at Hillcrest elementary school in Coquitlam.

“Her family was very crafts oriented and worked with stained glass. She said to me one Christmas, ‘I'm going to make a beautiful gift for you,' and she surprised me with this,” beams Saad, turning his tie to catch the sunlight.

A former advancement officer and faculty associate through SFU's professional development program for teachers, Saad is mulling over his Halloween choices at this time of year.

When he's not hitting the books, Saad teaches French immersion at Maillard middle school.

More than half way through his master's program, teaching math and science to immersion students, Saad has something to confess.
A course he took at SFU on using technology to foster interest in math and science has turned him on to using the Internet as a teaching aid.
But he's not ditching his ties.

“I get my students to design websites, something they really like doing, about the science and math they're learning. Saad adds mischievously, “But their websites have to be as colourful as my ties.

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