Some of Alberta’s finest teachers were honoured in Calgary this past Saturday at the annual provincial Excellence in Teaching Awards.
For the past 23 years, the Excellence in Teaching Awards Program has recognized the innovative and outstanding teaching that takes place on a daily basis in classrooms across the province.
Nominees are sourced via recommendations from parents, colleagues, principals and superintendents from across Alberta. This year there were 341 educators nominated and 23 eventually chosen as winners of the award.
Of the 23 award winners, 10 are alumni of the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta.
Among them is Dave Khatib (BEd ’90), who is the principal at Ecole Secondaire Notre Dame High School in Red Deer.
When asked to comment on his feelings about receiving the award, he says, “It truly is humbling. As educators we never do anything for the accolades, but to get them is very flattering. Being recognized as an administrator really means that the team of people that are in the school with you are part of the award. It takes a group of hard working dedicated people to make a great school, and as the principal I'm a reflection of all that hard work performed daily by every staff member in the building.”
Khatib asserts that the Faculty of Education prepares their students for ‘real world’ experiences in education. “As an undergrad, I was able to put theory into practice during my two practicum terms. It was during these school placements that I realized that I wanted to be a teacher. Before I even started my career, the U of A was able to show me a glimpse of the professional world I was entering into,” he says.
For Khatib, teaching isn’t just a job, it’s a vocation. “The hours are long, the immediate rewards can be minimal but the long term effect on society is immeasurable,” he says.
When asked what advice he would like to pass along to pre-service teachers, Khatib advises, “Love what you do and create relationships with kids. I just finished reading Ben Levin's book, More High School Graduates, and there is overwhelming evidence that points to how emotional investment by educators can make the difference in the success of students in school. If you love your job, take time to make genuine relationships with students this will lead to success in school.”
Fellow award winner and University of Alberta alumnus Aaron Dublenko (BA ’97, BEd ’01, MEd ’10) shares his own advice for pre-service teachers, “Education can be a very challenging but rewarding career. If there is any advice I can lend to pre-service teachers it would be to remain open, think deeply about what education means to you, develop your ideas and try and implement them into your practice.”
Dublenko teaches at Queen Elizabeth High School where he also coordinates the Student Led Initiatives for Sustainable Education course (SLISE).
He says the world is changing and educators need to be both innovative and adaptive in their response to these changes.
The SLISE course that he coordinates exemplifies these qualities. The course uses CTS modules that pertain to natural resources which guides project-based learning around real world issues involving sustainable development.
Dublenko looks back on his formative years at the University of Alberta with reverence. “I had many great influences at the University of Alberta, especially in the Master’s program. The MEd program revealed a whole new world of theories, practices and past and present ideas which provided me with a space to really delve into my own conceptualizations of education, especially within the context of an ever changing world. The professors challenged my perceptions about the world which made me think more deeply about my role as an educator.”
The Faculty of Education would like to congratulate all of the 2012 nominees and winners. For a full list of the 2012 award winners, click here.