Leadership Style: Passing thoughts of a newbie one-year flash-in-the-pan principal

This post follows this one by new Principal Neil MacIntosh, as he reflects in real time on his first year on the job.
 What is your leadership style? Tell us below or tweet @learnquebec

This is a difficult talk – looking at the mirror that is held up against you…or for you. Julie Hobbs of ASSET, pushing me further, had me go through this exercise.   That is probably why I have been so late and lazy in getting my 2nd post out – fear and loathing in professional development.

Evolving a leadership style

I have tried to delegate leadership where possible.   Let me start again.   The first term was spent supporting teachers (and students) in terms of making a workable, effective schedule.  The more I examine this subject, the more I see what I have missed. A lot of time and effort (enjoyable at times) was spent on (re)creating relationships with the students, parents and staff.   Time was spent in staff meetings, sure, but more time was spent with staff in one-on-one meetings in different locales around the school at various times during the day.   Sometimes what I saw during my period 1 walkabout would trigger later discussions.   I went from a very supportive, listening style to one that began to take a bit of an edge of leadership as I became more confident in my understanding of the situation and what people’s expectations were.

At points, I asked myself if I dithered too long while getting everybody’s point of view as opposed to taking a stand and going with it. The wait and see management style did have its advantages; I saw that people were getting comfortable (and trusting) seeing me (and I guess I was too) in an official leadership role, whereas in the past I had acted more in an unofficial leadership role.

So my ever changing leadership style is correctly described as situational, as coined by Hersey and Blanchard (1991). The level of leadership depends on the other’s ability, maturity, autonomy and willingness to carry out a task. .  Because I spent so much time listening and perhaps dithering, I managed to avoid the highly directive and not very supportive style of directing or telling people what to do (bottom right quadrant, in turquoise below).Screenshot 2015-02-24 10.22.40


The role of parents

The next day I looked at what I had written and realized that I have left the parents out of a lot of this – too much of the discussion is along the principal teacher axis.   In School-Community Leadership by Jeffrey Glanz, he quotes Epstein and Van Voorhis thus, “Research is accumulating that shows that particular parent involvement practices improve student achievement, attitudes, homework, report cards grades, and aspirations.” And how could it not – ask many parents.   Yet the paradigm that runs in schools is that the success rests on the shoulders of the teacher and the student.   The role of parents is diminished, sometimes willfully.   Administrators are far more comfortable working change on staff than on parents – staff can be controlled and corralled to a certain degree (agreed, a horrible analogy). Even John Hattie, in his view of the factors contributing to student achievement, “Visible Learning” (2009), states that “parents can have a major effect in terms of the encouragement and expectations that they transmit to their children.”

Giving up control

My last thoughts on this come out of my experience directing/producing our school’s Christmas Show a month or so ago.    Two days of a snow storm cancelled the rehearsals and show. We rescheduled with limited practice.   We had changed from a music class approach to a classroom approach so that all the students would have stage time and the stress load would be spread over all the staff, not just the music teacher.   Staff had signed on with some grumbling; preparation was held during regular class time by the teacher – students could sing, read, act, whatever on stage under the stern eye of their homeroom teacher.     I had no actual control of the product or the “unit directors.” I have gained so much respect for those who direct amateur theatre. We marched forward on show night. The show was short and sweet, full of the usual collection of laughs and gaffes from our elementary and secondary students – and our parents loved it. Parents helped afterwards to put away the chairs – a great time for casual contact with all parties concerned.   So despite my uneasiness of my lack of control due to my delegation of all the tasks (I was a dogsbody that night) , it worked out wonderfully.



Situational leadership theory – Wikipedia entry

Stronge, James H & Richard, Holly B & Catano, Nancy (2008). Qualities of effective principals. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, VA

Born to Learn: Life-long learning as a goal for schools

Guest post by Anne-Marie De Silva, ERC Consultant at the English Montreal School Board

Will our students need to rediscover the joy of learning in spite of school, rather than because of it? What do you think? Tweet @learnquebec or share your thoughts below.

When I first began teaching, my father quipped, “Don’t worry, the kids will learn in spite of you.” His joke refers not only to my questionable skill as a teacher, but also to the innate human drive to learn, the brain pre-programmed from birth with a need and hunger to learn; what Maria Montessori referred to as “The Absorbent Mind” (Montessori, 1906). We are all born learners, yes, but the question is, do schools capitalize on this natural human capacity, or inhibit it? Will our students need to rediscover the joy of learning in spite of school, rather than because of it?

Mission statements that are proudly displayed in the entrance of most schools promise commitment to “developing life-long learners”. But what does that mean? How are life-long learners created? Are teachers really aware of their commitment to this goal?

I have been pondering these questions in light of my recent experience taking a self-defence class, along with ten other middle-aged, out-of-shape women; all of us learning something completely new to us. The teacher would demonstrate a move, allow us all to try it slowly along with him, and then immediately began to differentiate. Some of us required the teacher to reteach the move, others needed him to watch them practice it to see if they were doing it correctly; still others felt ready to practice on their own. However, what really struck me was that the teacher didn’t presume to tell us what we needed in order to learn; rather we articulated our needs to him and he responded accordingly.

Granted, we are adults and not 6 year old children, but nevertheless, we knew our own learning styles, knew how to articulate our needs, and knew how to use the resources available to us if we needed help. Hallmarks of life-long learners, it seems to me. So presumably, these are the skills we should be developing in our 6 year olds and on up, to create future life-long learners.

Moreover, the women in this class knew something intrinsic about learning, which was motivating us to try something out of our comfort zone: learning is satisfying, empowering, self-esteem boosting, worthwhile, and most of all, fun.

Yet from my teenage daughter’s perspective, learning is hard, boring and pointless. When I asked how she was doing in a certain class, she responded, “I don’t know, we’ll see when the marks come out.” This struck me as a typical answer from a high-school student, but the more I reflected on it the more strange it seemed. Was she not present when the learning took place? I knew what I had mastered in my self-defence class, and what I was struggling with. Of course my daughter probably knows more than she is letting on, and could gauge her learning in other classes; but it was that disconnection from her learning that struck me as both sad and yet strangely typical. Waiting for the teacher to tell her if she has successfully learned something seemed backwards, given my recent experience in learning something new.   In that context, I have to agree with her: learning for the sake of a number on a paper is both boring and pointless. How does relying on a summary of one’s learning from an external source develop the ownership, autonomy, authenticity and love of learning that are the prerequisites of life-long learners?

Of course Quebec’s Educational Reform was an attempt to address these issues, encouraging cooperative learning, student portfolios, peer and self-evaluation, etc. And yet, somehow, ownership of student learning still seems to be firmly in the grasp of the teacher rather than the learner. This is not meant as a critique of individual teachers, whom I know are doing their best in a system fraught with obstacles to success; but rather a commentary on how difficult it is to bring about real and lasting change to an institution designed centuries ago.

If we are really committed to developing life-long learners, as opposed to ten-month learners, schools and teachers must make a conscientious effort to engage students in their own learning, to allow them to understand their own learning styles, to help them to recognize their own success in learning and to articulate their needs when they encounter obstacles. Students need to experience the joy and empowerment that learning brings, to celebrate their successes and to feel the benefit of having persevered when things got difficult. Keeping these goals in mind from kindergarten on up will help develop the skills necessary for students to learn independently long after graduation. Schools can and will become the catalyst for life-long learning, but not without this conscious, collaborative work on our part.

If all else fails, keep in mind: the kids can still become life-long learners in spite of us.

Teacher Appreciation – Woot! Woot!


We have come to the last post of our three day series highlighting amazing shout-outs for outstanding teachers in Quebec’s English schools.  It’s incredibly humbling to read about the contributions these educators have made to the lives of individual students, to their classes, as mentors, and as leaders in their communities.


Peggy Drolet, LEARN

Peggy has been a role model for me. She cares so much about her students and reminds them of this on a regular basis (check out her #SN4students Twitter feed to see this in action). She works very hard to instill superior study habits in her students (in addition to a very full math curriculum). I do not know a teacher who is more dedicated to her students and to innovating/evolving/growing year after year. Peggy is an awesome teacher!

Amanda Sayegh, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, LBPSB

My daughter was diagnosed with Dyslexia last year and this year she was placed in Amanda’s class. Amanda being new to our school I had no idea what to expect in terms of her way of teaching. Would she be willing to incorporate the iPad? Would following the IEP be a problem?

I have to say that I have never been so impressed with a teacher.  Amanda has gone above and beyond with helping my daughter and encouraging her, helping to build her self-esteem. Our family recently experienced the loss of a family member.  Amanda was kind enough to send home a book for her to help deal with this loss. She is not only a terrific teacher but a very kind person.

Mme. Marie France Christophe, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, LBPSB

Mme. Marie France is an amazing teacher. She works with her heart and as a lot of compassion and understanding of children’s needs. My son has difficulty with his reading and writing skills do to a speech problem. With a classroom of 25 students she always makes sure that my son understands what is expected of him. We work together to ensure a plan that will work for my son in his class. She always answers any questions or concerns I have. She plans activities for special occasions, especially the children’s birthdays –  they get a special treat. She is a teacher that goes out of her way to accommodate her students. I am so grateful to have her as a teacher for my son who is grade 2. It was always a concern for me as a parent to know if my son will be ok in doing his work and other tasks. My son has struggled in the past and still does. Having Mme Marie France as a teacher is a blessing. My son has gained more confidence in himself because of her. Thank-You, Mme Marie-France, for all of your hard work. We truly appreciate everything that you do.

Martin Poirier, St. Patrick’s High School, CQSB

Mr. Poirier is a super math teacher. He is amazing because his main concern is “how will my students relate to this math topic”. He is continuously looking for ways to make the math activities meaningful for his students. Your hard work is appreciated by all!

Nancy Gauthier, Hillcrest Academy, SWLSB

Madame Gauthier is a dedicated professional who always puts one hundred and ten percent into her job and students. She continuously looks for new approaches to engage all second language learners and works way beyond the required hours. She provides the students with a safe environment that allows them to learn and practice their French language skills. She loves her students and it shows in everything that she does. She has made a difference in the lives of both my children.

Anne-Marie Pelletier, Everest Elementary School, CQSB

Anne-Marie teaches French to our Cycle 2 and 3 students. Her passion and curiosity for learning and embracing life are contagious. She strives to improve her craft for the benefit of her students. She is currently piloting a 1-to-1 i-pad project with her classes. She works tirelessly at creating positive relationships with her students and their parents. Her attention to detail and communication with the home is inspiring. She welcomes French monitors as well as student teachers into her classes. Best of all, she is always a positive and supportive colleague.

Linda Cotter, St. Lawrence Elementary School, RSB

Mrs. Cotter is the best teacher any child could have. She is strict but loves the children with all her heart.

Trisha Klancar, St. Patrick’s High School, CQSB

Trisha is an awesome teacher. She is attentive to her students’ needs. Trisha’s dedication to her students prepares them well for senior high school. Also, her involvement in the Canadian Student Leadership Program has made St. Patrick’s High School a driving force in this initiative. Congratulations Trisha and thank you for making St. Pat’s a better school!

Sia Georgaklis, Chateauguay Valley Regional High School, NFSB

Energetic and enthusiastic… exceptional qualities for anyone, but for a teacher to display this to her students everyday is OUTSTANDING.
Her energy encourages her students to embark on projects and activities sometimes outside their comfort zones. However, with her guidance and encouragement they find success!

Jeffrey Jordan, Heritage Regional High School, RSB

Best Teacher my child has ever had, kids love him, makes a difference to them.

Suzanne Monderie, Flemming Elementary, ESSB

When my family and I started our journey in Sept Iles with our 3 1/2 year old son with Autism, all was very new. Luckily for us she was his Pre-K teacher for part of the year as she taught Resource and lucky for my family and especially my son she is teaching him Grade 1!! Suzanne is an amazing teacher with an enormous heart of love to give her students. She is very passionate about her teaching and goes above and beyond to ensure success of her students and to help them reach their full potential. I am very lucky this year to be working in her class and she inspires me each day and I love to know each day that my son, who is my world, is in her care, her class.

Susan Outram, Centennial Regional High School, RSB

This teacher is a super, outstanding person who will do anything for her students to help them in school and help them pass. This teacher not only struggles with medical problems, where sometimes she is in so much pain that she must make the choice between feeling pain all over her body or teaching her students. She always puts the students first.

Danielle Chaput, St. Patrick’s High School, CQSB

Danielle Chaput is a dedicated math and science teacher. Danielle assists her learners in enhancing their thinking. More recently, Danielle is implementing the flipped classroom. Because of her teaching strategy, her students are engaged and taking ownership of their learning. Congratulations Danielle. Your students are lucky!

Lynn Harkness, Chateauguay Valley Regional High School, NFSB

“Sounds like a good idea to me”…Lynn makes things happen. When kids are at the centre of any project Lynn is willing to give her time and energy to help them find success! Always smiling always ready to find ways for kids to shine!

Daphne Amster, Edgewater Elementary School, LBPSB

Miss Daphne goes above and beyond every day for her students. An active member of the Home and School and a recipient of the “unsung hero” award last year, Daphne is an important and much loved teacher in our school. She spearheaded the iPad pilot project, combining classic teaching and technology allowing the children in her class to experience a new dynamic of learning. Taking the time to train and learn as much as possible to pass on to other teachers, ensuring that the Edgewater community benefits from her vast knowledge. Her teaching style, huge heart and genuine love for her students shines through and helps the children feel confident and excited to learn. For these reasons and many, many more, Daphne Amster is more than deserving of the honor of being recognized.

We want her to know just how much her endless efforts are truly appreciated.

Amanda MacKechnie, Dr. S.E. McDowell, WQSB

Amanda is my son’s Pre-K teacher and she is well-loved by all. Her positive attitude, beautiful smile and nurturing ways help the little ones transition smoothly from home (or daycare) to school. This year is so important in making these future scholars feel safe and happy in a challenging environment. Way to go Miss Amanda!

Diane Lapalme, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, LBPSB

Diane is amazing teacher, she has gone out of her way to accommodate my son in her classroom since the beginning of the year. She recognized right away where his strengths and weaknesses are and changed his work without being asked. She praises the children in her class daily. My son has dramatically improved since the beginning of the year and the majority of the credit goes to Diane!

Stephanie Gerbaux, Kuper Academy

She’s a caring, giving teacher who never stops thinking of her students. She truly gives her profession her all and no matter how tired she is, she makes sure to give the best of herself always.

Nathan Gage, Riverdale High School, LBPSB

In his first year as Music Teacher at RHS, Mr. Gage has restored my faith in high school music programs.  Mr. Gage has revamped the whole style, adding vocalists, rappers and electronica. The students love it, and the parents are mightily impressed. Kudos to you, Sir!

Audrey McLaren, LEARN

Audrey is an awesome teacher. She is caring, innovative, and most of all, extremely funny; all the ingredients needed in a classroom with teenagers. Audrey, we need you, we love you. We learn from you. Thank you!


Audrey is one of the most enthusiastic and innovative teachers that I know. She is always evolving and looking for better ways to reach her students. She is extremely connected, both to her immediate peers and to the greater teaching community. With her focus on developing relationships, Audrey is always eager to share her experience and to gain insights through others’ experiences (both students’ and teachers’).

Tanya Travaglini, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, LBPSB

My daughter was diagnosed with Dyslexia at the end of last year. This year she was in Tanya’s class for English and Math. After my first meeting with Tanya my mind was put at ease, she is an amazing teacher. She immediately incorporated my daughter’s needs into the class. She also recognized her strengths in math and pushes her to do well!

When my daughter comes home and shows me a test that she did really well on and beams when she tells me how proud Miss Tanya was of her. I can see the positive effect Tanya has had on her!

Elizabeth Maltais, St. Patrick’s High School, CQSB

Ms. Maltais is an extremely dedicated French teacher. Her strength is her calmness. Her students excel because of the soft and caring atmosphere in her classroom. St. Pat’s is lucky to have you as a teacher. Thank you!


Don’t be shy to write comments at the end of any of the three posts (first post here, second post here) to add your words of appreciation for other deserving teachers.  If you don’t add a comment, please take the time this week to thank an educator who had an impact on you.

Teacher Appreciation – Mille Mercis !

We didn’t receive one thousand thank yous, but we did get a lot.  We continue with part two of our three part series, with more amazing messages of appreciation for educators across boy_thanksour province.  (Read part one here.)

Miss Mirella Simone, Terry Fox Elementary School, SWLSB

Miss Mirella is one of the best teachers I had during 7 years at Terry Fox. She is very understanding, very caring towards all the kids in class, and very patient. She is an awesome teacher and I want to thank her for everything she has done for me this year.

Miss Lina Monaco, Terry Fox Elementary School, SWLSB

Everything she does with the children is awesome.

Martin Goudreault, La Tuque High School, CQSB

Mr. G gives endless hours to the staff and students of LTHS every year. He does it because he loves to expose the students to opportunities they might otherwise miss in our small community. Mr. G is particularly active in leading students through fundraising to go on trips to Quebec City, Montreal, and New York City. He has also been active in chaperoning Student Council when they go on their annual leadership conference. Mr. G’s impact on his students is clearly evident in the numbers that stay in contact with him long after they have left our school to pursue higher education and careers of their own.

Shelley Osborne, Everest Elementary School, CQSB

Shelley puts in many extra hours on a daily basis for free, helping children with their school work. She works with children from her own class and others after school almost every day. She helps others on a regular basis and shares all her good practices with other teachers.

Diane Lazure, Heritage Regional High School, NFSB

For the way she differentiates her instruction for the needs of her students. Teaching for Diane is a passion!

Chantal Pineault, Riverside Regional Elementary School, CQSB

Patient, creative, and a great friend to teach with!

Ali Ghassemi, Nova Career and Education Centre, NFSB

Ali is an awesome adult educator because he recognizes that his students come from different backgrounds and have different needs. He is willing to take chances with helping students and works hard finding ways to make sure they understand the math concepts they need to get in order to achieve their goals.

Deborah Caruso, Everest Elementary CQSB

Ms. Caruso often uses hands-on activities and games in order to teach her students. In return, her students enjoy learning and easily remember the lesson.

Mrs. Debbie Ellison, Dr. S. E. McDowell Elementary, WQSB

She takes real life classroom problems/conflicts and turns them into life lessons. My son is positively influenced and is made to feel like he’s special and important. She is fair and treats all equally. She is respectful of the children, therefore, they respect her. We feel blessed our son is learning from a great role model.

Kim Kiolet, Shawinigan High School, CQSB

Kim is regularly leading her students in engaging, interesting, interactive activities to bring learning to life. Her students have trained for a marathon and then invited other students to run with them in an event that involved local exceptional athletes. She invites veterans to be interviewed by her students prior to the school’s Remembrance Day ceremony. To name a few…


This teacher is devoted to her students. She is 100% dedicated. She’s an amazing 6th grade teacher. My daughter is in Sec. 1 now and still goes to see Ms. Kiolet at lunchtime sometimes. She teaches them academics but she also shows them about being good people either by volunteering with senior citizens or organizing a blood clinic. She is an inspiration to all the kids! My daughter has never had such an amazing teacher! She will remember this teacher all her life!! Kudos to her!!!

Madame Céline Maisonneuve, Dr. S. E. McDowell Elementary School, WQSB

She is dedicated and works beyond hours to make her classroom a great learning environment. She makes the children proud of their accomplishments. I am thrilled my daughter was fortunate to have such a caring and nurturing Kindergarten teacher.

Cathy Nugent, Onslow Elementary School, WQSB

She really focuses on getting the students to read which is great.

Elizabeth Ascah, Grosse Isle School, ESSB

I have watched this teacher perform her magic with students over many years as a consultant and now, as a Director of Education Services. Libby is loved by all her students. She is so very modest about her excellence in her craft but the results speak for her. Her student results are always top notch despite the greatest challenges any of us could possibly face in a small rural school on a tiny isolated island. She has taught children to love to read and write. It is in her class where, even the boys eagerly ask to share their favourite book or recently crafted story.

Libby always stretches her practice, is the first to embark on a new educational plan and is a collaborative learner with her students, while modelling her zest as a life-long learner.

Melissa Verreault, Everest Elementary School, CQSB

Ms. Verreault is awesome because she makes learning real for the students. She engages her students in their learning every day. Our daughter simply loves her!

Stephanie Beaudoin, Everest Elementary School, CQSB

Ms. Beaudoin is the most awesome kindergarten teacher ever! She has a way getting the kids involved in learning that is incredible. By doing so our son has discovered the joy of reading. Thank you!

Mrs. Tracy Dow, St. Willibrord School, NFSB

She is awesome with the kids, so much patience and knows just how to handle each situation, with kindness. Makes each child feel so appreciated. She teaches with her heart.


Because I like her, she’s a good teacher, and she’s very nice to me.

Miss Cheryl Hubert, St. Willibrord School, NFSB

This lady is so kind to the children and truly knows how to listen to the children. Without her many a child would not do as well. She is a true teacher with patience beyond patience. The children love her.

Vicky Perreault, Joliette High School, SWLSB

Vicky walks the talk! She is an avid Dragon boat participant, showing her students participation is how things get done! Her leadership in the paperless classroom is an example for her school, school board and provincial colleagues! We can all take lessons from Vicky.

Mrs. Marie Christine Corriveau, Edgewater Elementary School, LBPSB

So caring and wonderful at what she does!

Guylaine Gendron, St. Anthony’s Elementary School, LBPSB

Selfless, devoted, caring and loving, positive, understanding, really cares about the kids, always goes the extra mile, smiles.

Elizabeth Wilson, Wilder Penfield Elementary School, LBPSB

Caring, patient, kind… Mme. Elizabeth is an amazing Kindergarten teacher. She has given our son an amazing start at school and in learning French. I am in awe at how much he has learnt in less than half a year in school!

Candice Brown, Dr. S.E. McDowell Elementary School, WQSB

Ms. Brown has encouraged my 10 year old son to read, write, and try his best at everything he does. She understands his needs, and has figured out the best way to make him love going to school every day. We’ve had struggles over the years but this year he wants to write a book, has improved his marks in math, and wants to impress Ms. Brown with what he knows. He’s asked if she can move on to the next grade with him. For a child who doesn’t like school, that’s a huge honour.

Kerry Cule, LEARN

Kerry is fabulous. She is a calm and caring person and this is how she is every day with her students and most of all with her colleagues. We can always count on Kerry to offer solutions and advice on how to solve problems that may come up. We love you Kerry. We appreciate all you do! Thank you!

It’s not too late to share your words of appreciation for a desrving educator.  Feel free to add a shout-out in the comments below.  Our third and final blog post for Teacher Appreciation 2015 will be posted tomorrow.

Teacher Appreciation – A Sweet Celebration

By Clever Cupcakes
By Clever Cupcakes

It’s the season for Teacher and School Staff Appreciation!

To celebrate and say thank you, this week on the LEARN blog we are thrilled to highlight not just one, but many amazing educators in our Quebec schools.  We received so many shout-outs for teachers and school staff, in fact, that we will be posting these tributes over the next three days.

All of the following words of appreciation were written by administrators, colleagues, parents, and students.  Enjoy!

Adaku Arhin, Hillcrest Academy, SWLSB

Mrs. Arhin is dedicated professional who continuously looks for new approaches to engage all learners. She believes in student-centered learning and she provides her students with a strong foundation for lifelong learning. Her students appreciate her efforts in creating a non-threatening learning environment. My son loves going to school and he enthusiastically recounts class lessons and activities.

Debra Shea, St. Patrick’s High School, CQSB

This teacher is always looking for new ways to help her students succeed. She is available mornings, noon hours and after schools in order to fit their schedules when kids need extra help. She is always willing to go that extra mile so they will find success!


Debra is an awesome teacher. Debra’s strength is motivating students who have difficulties in day to day school related issues. She is available and she provides many strategies for her students to make their school experience a positive one. Congratulations, Debra. St. Pat’s needs you!

Christiane Karamanoukian, Franklin Hill Elementary, SWLSB

Christiane has been teaching Kindergarten for many years. It is in her skin, part of who she is. Her enthusiasm and positive outlook are contagious. It is definitely difficult to try to keep pace with her, but a challenge we would all love to meet. She is child-centered, resourceful, devoted, and knowledgeable. She believes in the magic that should be created for the little ones entering school, and she works on building their life-long skills of autonomy and curiosity. Play-based and age-appropriate learning are values that Christiane integrates into her daily teaching. All facets of learning have their place in her class: literacy, phonological awareness, art, math, science, movement, and more.
All learners have a chance to succeed in such a rich and varied environment. The fact that Christiane sees each child for what he/she can offer and how to make them shine is definitely a gift. Little learners are very lucky to have Ms. Christiane as a teacher!

Annabel Busby, MacLean Memorial High School, CQSB

Annabel is always in search of ways to engage her students and open the world for them

Miss Rachel Doré, Shawinigan High School, CQSB

Miss Doré has all the right values and positive attitudes towards learning !!!! She is a passionate professor, spends quality “one on one” time with each child of her classroom, and always tries to get the best out of every child. She is very gentle, patient, and confident. She teaches the kids awesome learning tricks which make learning so fun, and much easier too!!!! She is the perfect role model for my five year old child.


I can’t ever teach anything to my little girl but Miss Doré has taught her a lot of things and she gives to my daughter the taste to learn.  She always has a beautiful smile.   She was absolutely marvelous!

Miss Melissa Tomasino, Terry Fox Elementary School, SWLSB

She teaches the kids in a fun way and is always there for them and the parents.

Jessica Laflamme, St. Patrick’s High School, CQSB

As an educational technician, Mrs. Laflamme needs to be versed in many subjects at many different levels. She works one-on-one or in small groups with children that don’t often see success. She helps to give them self pride and accomplishment in their various studies, knowing that children who feel proud of work will want and desire to achieve more.

Gracy Ratt Jerome, Algonquins of Barrier Lake, Kitiganik School

Gracy is a fluent Algonquin language speaker and has been teaching the language for many years. She also adds to the language program by promoting cultural educational activities such as skinning animals, stretching and drying the fur, cooking traditional foods, and bringing in different animals and birds to see and plants to touch. She teaches the language in a meaningful way.

Melanie Prégent, St. Willibrord School, NFSB

This teacher goes out of her way in and out of school for her students. She cares for each of them as if they were her own. She organizes activities and fundraisers so the children can participate in trips and for them on her own time. She had an injury on her leg this year and the students were heartbroken. She was out for 2 months and the spirit of the school was not the same without her. She deserves this.


Great organizer knows just how to get the children involved, strict but fair, the children love her. She is a true leader


There are many teachers at our school that are deserving but this one stands out the most to me. She is a young, dynamic teacher who connects very well with the students. She is caring & understands the fears of parents. Any issues are dealt with immediately and if it is not with her, she will direct you to the right person and follow up until the issue is resolved. So happy that my daughter was lucky enough to have her 3 years in a row.

Miss Maria Giannuzzo, Boucherville Elementary School, RSB

Elle est passionnée par son travail. Elle s’attarde à comprendre les enfants et ce qu’ils vivent pour s’adapter à eux. Elle donne le goût aux enfants d’apprendre. En tant que parents, je ne peux pas demander mieux pour donner le goût à mes enfants d’aimer l’éducation

Miss Michelle Reed, La Tuque High School, CQSB

Ms. Reed loves our school. She puts in so much extra time to make sure the school is a good place for our students. She is on every committee that counts. She has great ideas to help improve the school climate. She is enthusiastic about student success and digs deep to help everyone who asks for a hand. More than that, though, she will often volunteer to lend a hand when she sees a need. For several years, Ms. Reed has been coming in on Saturdays to work with students on enrichment science activities offered through our Home and School. It is clear that she does everything because she genuinely cares about our students and wants to make our school the best.

James Kennedy, Chateauguay Valley Regional, NFSB

This teacher goes above and beyond to facilitate learning for his own students as well as students he does not teach. He has offered countless hours after school for tutoring and remedial classes all while maintaining his coaching practices and games. This teacher exemplifies what the education system requires: a teacher that not only cares but also shows he cares.

Carroll Kerner, Hillcrest Academy, SWLSB

Mrs. Kerner has been teaching Kindergarten for over 25 years. She taught both my children. She is a dedicated professional who continuously looks for new approaches to engage all learners. She believes in student centered learning and she provides her students with a strong foundation to lifelong learning.

Justine Hughes and Carolyn Seers, Boucherville Elementary School, RSB

By giving every child the opportunity to grow and be successful, Miss Hugues confidence and knows how to motivate her class by considering the personality, strengths and weaknesses of every individual. She uses all sorts of strategies to make sure that the children progress and are motivated to go to school. For that, both kids and parents appreciate her very much! Let’s not forget Mrs. Seers for all her contribution to the grade 2-3 class!

Leah Wynn, Shawinigan High School, CQSB

Infinite patience and dedication to her students.

Susan Chiasson, Terry Fox Elementary School, SWLSB

She is caring, patient, understanding but has fun with the kids at the same time! It takes a special person to be a kindergarten teacher and she is one of them for sure!

She also involves parents and posts pictures every month, so amazing when you are anxious about your child’s first year of school. She is simply wonderful!


Miss Susan! Where do I start? A kindergarten teacher with such patience and inspiration, not only does she make our children feel at ease but the parents as well. The first year of school is such a learning curve and her warm voice and teaching skills are so soothing. She keeps in constant contact weekly via email explaining the weekly schedule and what the class has been doing in addition with a Dropbox with photos and videos, love seeing the children’s activities live and so does my son! Thank you so much for instilling the power of learning in my children and molding them into what they are today!

Stay tuned for more lovely tributes tomorrow!  Please feel free to add your own notes of appreciation in the comments.

The connection between learning and passion

Image by Tracy Rosen, original photo by Flickr user spinster cardigan CC-BY-2.0

Post by Tracy Rosen, Education Consultant,  RECIT Provinicial Service for General Adult Education

A while back I began to prepare for a workshop on Blogging with Passion and I soon realized that I was not going to be able to deliver what I promised. The problem was that the more I thought about it the more I realized that one will only blog with passion if two very critical elements are in place:

A passion for something and a desire (or passion) to write about it in public.

This will not be true for every single person in your classroom – it may not even be true for one person in your classroom!

When we talk about blogging, there are too many different implications –  Why do we want to bring blogging into the classroom? Because we think we can trick students into being engaged in the writing process through technology? Because we like to write online so we think our students will too? And, in this day of media sharing – what exactly is blogging anyways? Does it have to be only about writing?

So I decided that I needed to look at a slightly different question: how do we cultivate passion in learners? This was an important question for me because we know that passion – that fire that raises the velcro on our brains and makes us want to learn – is the key to motivation.

And I realized that it has to do with our passion as teachers.

Have you ever been inspired while watching a TED talk? This one does it to me all the time:

It is inspiring because it is so obvious that Rita Pearson (1952-2013) loved what she did – that she had a true passion for relationship-based teaching and her passion was contagious. Each time I watch that video she connects with me on a deep level with my own passion for the same. She modeled relationship-based teaching through the stories she told about her own teaching experiences. She made me care about what she had to say.

As teachers we are our students’ primary models for learning. So how do we make our students care about what we have to say? How do we cultivate passion in our learners? We model it. If I want passionate learners, I need to model passionate learning. By showing how important learning is to me, by being excited about the learning process, by making a connection to my students through the stories I tell as I teach, I am modeling passionate learning. I am also modeling how to give voice to what I care about, whether it be through public speaking, writing, or multimedia.

Once I do this, then what? I need to provide an outlet for them. Blogging could come into play here because blogging is a fabulous tool when you have a passion to share, when you love something so much you want to write, talk, show – create – about it.

The secret here is that the blog is not the star of the story. It isn’t the point of what is happening in the classroom because it is just a tool, one of many, to help someone share their story.  A traditional blog could be the tool used to share stories through writing but stories can also be shared in so many other ways – through video documentaries or animations, spoken word, public speaking or even via twitter! The point – regardless of the subject you teach – is to model a passion for learning as well as different ways to share this passion and then to allow students to do the same.

By Tracy Rosen
Education Consultant with the RECIT Provinicial Service for General Adult Education
I blog at Practical PD and Leading from the Heart


For more on passion and learning:

Passion-Based Learning by Ainissa Ramirez on Edutopia

The Carrot and Stick Approach (and everything else he writes) by Michael Doyle on Science Teacher Blog

What Students Really Need to Hear by Chase Mielke on AffectiveLiving Blog