Friday, October 28, 2011

Great Teachers

Todd and some other guy....
Tonight we have been invited to a dinner party for a colleague of Allan's who recently received the Prime Ministers Award for Teaching Excellence for the robotics program he built at Gladstone Secondary in Vancouver.  Todd and Allan have worked pretty closely for a number of years on various robotics competitions, served on the Pacific Youth Robotics Society together and traveled with their teams all over the pacific northwest and other parts of the USA.   Todd is a worthy recipient of this honour and we look forward to celebrating with him and his family this evening.

On December 7th (our 20th wedding anniversary) our family will be attending the "Volunteers are Stars" Gala dinner at a local hotel as Allan was recently nominated for the Constellation Award – Individual that honours individual volunteers for their service and contribution to the community for his work with his robotics teams.  I am so very proud of him!

Neither of these men, these teachers, mentors, life-changers like the limelight - they are both embarrassed by the attention.  These are men who teach as a passion, as a vocation. To them it's more than a job with benefits.  What the robotics gives them is an opportunity to work with a small group of kids on a common project.  Theses kids are usually very diverse - you get the really smart ones, the ones with big ideas, the ones who need to belong to something and the ones who have nowhere else to be 3 afternoons a week.  Todd built his club into a regular school course and Allan is working to do the same.  The kids who graduate from these clubs / programs come back and tell these teachers just how valuable their time was in robotics, how important the skills they learned.
Working some "stuff" out at the World Championships in Dallas

Some of these skills were technical - these kids are wicked smart and build complex robots that do complex things!  But they also learned to work in a group with people whose skills were different, with different work styles and personalities.  They learned how to travel, to eat out to  - I spent a memorable evening with the Cambie team in Dallas teaching them how to calculate the tip..... life skills. 
Learning about Rosa Parks in Dallas

They also get to know their teacher well - see him in different situations - build trust.  One of Allan's first robotics club kids from 1996 at Prince of Wales in Vancouver went on to University in New York and every summer when he came home he would call "Mr Byres" and come over for a visit - now with a PhD,  married and with his own son he still keeps in regular contact and still calls Allan "Mr Byres". 

I am proud to know these two outstanding teachers and the many other outstanding teachers, who won't be nominated or win any awards, but who make a difference in a child's life everyday. 

I salute you all!

No comments:

Post a Comment