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Alberta teachers honoured by parenting magazine

November 3, 2015 Cory Hare, ATA News Managing Editor

Albertans have captured two of three teacher awards recently handed out by Canadian Family magazine.

For the last nine years, the magazine has named winners of its Great Teacher Awards based on nominations from the public. Among this year’s winners are Elysa Morin of Prince of Wales School in Calgary and Amanda Wilson of École Barrie Wilson Elementary School in Red Deer.

Each winner receives $2,500 for school programming and supplies. The other winner is Heather Hughes-Leck of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Morin is a Grade 1 teacher who uses “thinking gum,” relaxation exercises and a calm fort to help her pupils achieve calm and focus. She regularly employs mindfulness exercises, yoga poses and other physical activities. One of her goals is to help students learn how to calm themselves.

“I believe that teaching kindness and mindfulness is as important as teaching academics and is learned first by modeling — we need to treat students as we want them to treat others,” she told Canadian Family.

Morin said in an email that she’s thrilled to be able to put $2,500 toward materials for movement, mindfulness and creativity, three things that are very important to her as a teacher.

“I’m really grateful to receive the award — especially grateful for the school, community and family support involved in voting once I was picked as a finalist,” she wrote.

Wilson teaches a Grade 4/5 class in a space that’s shared with a Grade 3/4 class.

“I was very humbled and honoured to win this award,” she said via email. “I work with an incredible group of teachers and any one of them is just as, if not more, deserving of the honour. I am lucky, and thankful, to have had a parent who took the time to nominate me.”

Wilson’s philosophy is to treat kids as adults-in-training and always assume competence. She also believes that strong relationships are the foundation of effective teaching.

“The teachers that I remember from elementary school — I don’t necessarily remember what math skills they taught me or what I learned in their science class — I remember the way they made me feel,” she told the magazine. “I think it’s all about building relationships and trust and knowing what each individual student is about.” ❚

More on the award recipients is available at

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