The Power of Words: Dismantling the fixed mindset


If you believe, “It’s hard for me to learn new things,” “I’m not good with science,” “I’m not a natural dancer,” “I’m not creative,” “I’m a pessimist,” you’re probably living with a fixed mindset. Such a mindset locks your abilities in place, boxing your learning within the constrains of what you think you know and are good at, and that’s it! How can you free yourself from the shackles of these perceived limitations? Is it possible to grow your mindset? Can I as an educator instil an open or growth mindset into my children and students? Let’s explore how the power of words can lead teachers and students alike to becoming life long learners.

In a fixed mindset, students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset, students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.   – Carol Dweck, Stanford University

Learned Helplessness

Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, Carol Dweck’s research into fixed vs. growth mindsets shines a light on the words we use when interacting with our young people, and shows us how these words can affect a child’s perception of their abilities. One might think that praising a child for a good exam result, or highlighting how amazing a student’s talent in adding up numbers is would be the right words of encouragement, right? Actually, they do quite the opposite. Dweck explains, “When you let the results define you — your talent, your test scores, your weight, your job, your performance, your appearance — you become the victim of a fixed mindset.” This phenomenon is referred to as learned helplessness, in which words of praise, such as “you’re so smart, you always get it right, you’re the best writer ever!” actually hinder a learner from believing in one’s full potential. They will tend to shy away from challenges for fear of being wrong, shy away from problems so they are not perceived as dumb, making a fragile and defensive learner fixed within their limited perception of self. Dweck further states that “those afflicted with this lack of perceived competence adopt lower standards for success and expect less of themselves. They underrate the importance of effort, and they overrate how much help they need from a parent.”

More than 35 years of scientific investigation suggests that an overemphasis on intellect or talent leaves people vulnerable to failure, fearful of challenges and unwilling to remedy their shortcomings. – Claudia M. Mueller and Carol S. Dweck


Words matter

The power to begin shifting learners away from a fixed to growth mindset begins with words! Simple words with powerful implications. One such word is yet! Yet allows for constructive feedback, with trust in growth, for example, “Your program still needs some tweaking when you are using turning angles. You’re not there yet, but I know with some more trial and error you’ll get there.” Process oriented praise is our best friend when addressing small successes. This way, mistakes can be seen as opportunities for further learning, and persistence is embraced by giving learners time to explore and figure it out. Praise is most effective when focused on effort, strategies used, focus on task, persistence, cooperation, willingness to take on challenges.

Sustained higher achievement is possible when teachers use pedagogical approaches that enable students to take charge of their own learning.  Quality Teaching for Diverse Students in Schooling: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration (BES)

Look at Sylvia Duckworth’s infographic on comparison similar statements in two different mindsets:


Adults in the building have to be very clear that you can’t have a focus on growth mindsets if all you’re going to be focused on is grades. – Stephen Mahoney, principal of Springfield Renaissance School

Where fixed mindsets see barriers and lack of abilities, growth mindsets see lifelong learning and unlimited potential. The fact is: learners will struggle at some point in their lives. Simply by the words we choose to use when addressing adversity in learning, we can begin to see a shift away from the fixed mindset that is so damaging to perseverance and self-esteem. Words are a good place to start, but ultimately, what is also needed is a shift away from performance oriented goals and into process oriented learning goals. After all, no amount of exams, tests, worksheets or quizzes will lead an individual to knowing how to be a learner. Rather, individuals build an identity through experiential learning rather than worrying about getting the right results. So the next time your child or student says “I’m horrible at math,” reinforce growth, ” Well, Chris, you have a good understanding of fractions, you’re just not there yet when it comes to decimals. Let’s look at the strategies you’re using for fractions and see how they can apply to decimals.”


Alton-Lee, A. (2003, June). Quality Teaching for Diverse Students in Schooling: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration. Retrieved February 20, 2017, from

Claudia M. Mueller and Carol S. Dweck Praise for Intelligence Can Undermine Children’s Motivation and Performance.  Journal of Personalityand Social Psychology, Vol. 75, No. 1, pages 33–52; November 1998.

Dweck, C. S. (2014, December 18). The Secret to Raising Smart Kids. Retrieved February 20, 2017, from

J. A. Mangels, B. Butterfield, J. Lamb, C. Good and C. S. Dweck. Why Do Beliefs about Intelligence Influence Learning Success? A Social Cognitive Neuroscience Model. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Vol. 1, No. 2, pages 75–86; September 2006.

Lisa S. Blackwell, Kali H. Trzesniewski and Carol S. Dweck. Implicit Theories of Intelligence Predict Achievement across an Adolescent Transition: A Longitudinal Study and an Intervention. Child Development, Vol. 78, No. 1, pages 246–263; January/February 2007.

Myth busting – Teaching to discriminate fake science from real science

Remixed by S. Bielec from photo by thierry hermann CC BY 2.0

When I was a teenager I remember my mother, herself a research scientist at the time, advising me that it was not how much science you knew that was important. Rather it was how to recognize whom to believe that was vital to becoming a scientifically literate citizen. Though that was some 60 years ago, it is even more important today. We are bombarded with so much science and technology information on a daily basis it’s hard to know what is real and what is fake.

Much of scientific theory is sound, evidence-based and solidly researched with universal acceptance among the scientific community and has stood the test of time. The theories of gravity, atomic structure and photosynthesis, for example, have few if any detractors. Others, though with solid research and wide scientific acceptance behind them, have groups which have their reasons not to embrace them. Darwin’s theory of evolution, the link between global warming and human actions, the causal relation between smoking and lung cancer are concepts which have skeptics among many outside the scientific community (and even among certain scientists).   More troubling however is the proliferation of fake or pseudo-science among unsuspecting members of society, as McGill’s Dr Joe Schwarcz has often pointed out. The “scientific” basis of homeopathy is one such widespread fraud. The fake and discredited link between vaccination and autism is another.

So how do we decide whom to believe? How do we get our students to learn to discriminate between accepted evidence-based science and fake science – hearsay, promotions from special interest groups and unsubstantiated fear mongering? Perhaps the solution to the problem begins in the science classroom. In order for students to accept science they need to DO real science. They need to participate in meaningful scientific inquiries – ask real questions, decide what to do to find the solution and carry it out, gather and analyze appropriate evidence and come to some conclusion about their original questions. Sometimes the process is clear and expected, but frequently it can be somewhat messy and inconclusive – often giving rise to doubts and further questions. That’s the way science is.

The solar furnace

In my visits researching science activities of some of our teachers, I had the pleasure of observing Christine Pouget, a teacher at Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School. As part of her Secondary 4 science curriculum, she challenged her students to answer the question, “Can solar energy be used to heat water for cooking?” The activity, based on the curriculum areas of energy conservation and heat transfer, was a meaningful real-world topic for students – especially useful in less advantaged world contexts. Students set about designing an experiment and creating a set-up to test their hypothesis. Other than giving them a rough sketch of a possible apparatus, Christine gave the design control over to the students – working in groups of 2 or 3.

Student-made solar furnace

After some classroom discussion of heat reflection, radiation and absorption, they got to work.   As shown in the photo, one group of students constructed their cooker and put in a beaker of water inside. They set it out in the sun with a control next to it and measured how much the temperature rose in each case. Comparing the temperature of the water in both the experimental and control situations, they were able to make a conclusion based on the data they collected. Though it was a simple experiment, they soon realized that there were many factors which had to be considered before coming to a clear conclusion. For how long should they collect data? Were the air temperature and wind factors? Did the time of day make a difference?   What if clouds obscured the sun? In other words what appeared to lead to a clear-cut answer was much more complicated than originally anticipated.


A key benefit for the students was an emerging understanding of the scientific process. An important result of going through the scientific process for students was that they learned how to base decisions about scientific “facts” on real observed evidence. More importantly, they began to learn how to evaluate whether or not the evidence was solid enough to draw a reasonable conclusion – a vital process for evaluating “truth” and “fact”.


Teacher Appreciation – Always! Every! Totally! Extraordinary!

When reading report cards or rubrics, we have learned to look for the qualifiers that come before a description of the child’s work.  We know that if we see OCCASIONALLY instead of ALWAYS, the teacher is identifying an area still needing improvement.  The Quebec educators highlighted below have all earned high marks from those who wrote shout-outs including words like awesome, best, very, teacher_appreciation_apple_great, always, priceless, extraordinary, and exceptional.  WOW!!!

Mme. Renouka, St. Anthony Elementary, Lester B. Pearson School Board

Mme Renouka is a kind loving understanding and just so wonderful to my son Nicholas and to myself. She has made the transition to kindergarten with such ease and love that my son looks forward every day to see her and what they will learn. She has patience and love for the children and it shows every day when I speak to my son about his day. She really cares about the children and as well the parents to feel comfortable. Can’t thank her enough in making kindergarten such a wonderful experience.

Ms. Given, McDowell Elementary School, Western Quebec School Board

Ms. Given is a very organized teacher. She is quick to respond when I have questions about my child’s progress or well-being. My child has often remarked the respect he has for her which means to me that she must be showing the same respect to her students. Good Job!!!

Ms. Stephanie Zakem, Carlyle Elementary, English Montreal School Board

Ms. Stephanie is what I would call the greatest, young and upcoming educator of the century! I have seen her work closely by her students to make sure that they are learning properly and that they are working at their full potential. She is very efficient at planning and executing the events of her classroom’s daily schedule; as well as other activities and school related meetings and projects. She seems to always have a limitless supply of drive and motivation and she puts her “everything” into her teaching! Students are drawn to her and you will always hear parents talking about how much they appreciate her!

Kristopher Pichovich, Sunshine Academy, Lester B. Pearson School Board

Mr. P is SO awesome, he makes learning fun and always makes a joke out of every Math subject! He always helps us prepare for any tests and is guiding us for our transition to High School. He’s the best teacher ever!


Mr. P always walks into class with a smile on his face. He always teaches with great enthusiasm, and he makes every kid laugh. Mr. P is very helpful in the school. He organizes great events like the “Terry Fox Run”. When you are excited to go to school, it’s because you have a great teacher.

Lara Belinsky, Willingdon Elementary, English Montreal School Board

Ms. Belinsky organized a wonderful Terry Fox campaign this year. She put a lot of thought into coming up with creative rewards for various levels of donations (including duct taping the secretary, having the principal kiss a turtle) and even shaved her own head. The kids were all thoroughly engaged in raising money for a good cause.

Pamela Tennant, Rosemere High School Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board

Mrs. Tennant is the best teacher because of all the patience she had with students and she is always happy no matter the weather, I think this one should go to her!!!

Mrs. Georgia, Carlyle Elementary, English Montreal School Board

Mrs. Georgia is an outstanding educator that blows my mind when it comes to her creativity and originality with teaching. She creates an amazingly kid-friendly environment in her classroom that exudes stimulation and self-expression. She is very close to her students, always sees the very best character traits in each of them and she encourages all her students to do their best and never give up! She is understanding, sweet, genuine, compassionate and she is dynamic and committed to her students. She is very hardworking and does everything she can to ensure her First Graders leave her class by the end of the year, with the ability to read and write independently. All of her students appear to be very advanced for their ages! She is doing more than one thing right! She is exceptionally brilliant and I have loved having her be a teacher to my daughter and hopefully future children as well!

Mrs. J. Quinn, Laurenhill Academy – Junior Campus, English Montreal School Board

My kids said she makes classes interesting, dynamic and she shows her interest for them to learn. Priceless!

Tom Foreman, Laurentian Regional High School, Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board

Tom is the quintessential inspirational teacher. He’s the teacher you want by your side when things are going amazingly well, and when things seem dark and desolate. He’s kind and patient, and has earned the respect from both colleagues and students. He dedicates his free time to a multitude of extra-curricular activities and always makes the students his priority.

Mr. Pauze, Laurenhill Academy – Junior Campus, English Montreal School Board

My kids told me that he helped them a lot with French because he knows that they are international students and they didn’t know much.

Sara Rosa, John Caboto Academy, English Montreal School Board

For Ms. Rosa, teaching is not a job. It is a vocation. She does not give up on any of her students and will go more than the extra mile to see her students succeed. She is kind, caring, humble and inspirational; a rare gem in the education system. We are blessed that she is our son’s teacher. We have been truly touched by an angel…

Paula Giddings–Philip, Everest Elementary, Central Quebec School Board

Always ready to help students in need, whether it is for Resource help or behavioural interventions. Has incredible knowledge of the QEP and its components.

Runs the SHERPA Club (Kids Helping Kids) and has put in immense extra time for extra-curricular activities.

Has a heart of gold!!!!

Ms. Christina Mamagat, Carlyle School, English Montreal School Board

Ms. Christina puts her heart into her Teaching and really cares for her students. She shows a genuine compassion and empathy that is needed by all children and she goes above and beyond to keep her students smiling, happy, motivated and upbeat. She has incredible enthusiasm and a positive outlook on teaching that is hard for most to attain. She always devotes herself to her students and her professional development and she truly seems to enjoy what she does. Her students have a tremendous and profound respect for her. She is absolutely amazing! Thank you.

Mrs. Christina for all that you have done and continue to do for Carlyle school! You are most definitely appreciated more than you know!

Ms. Elena, Leonardo da Vinci Academy, English Montreal School Board

Thank you for making learning fun again! Your love and gentleness with my daughter makes my daughter curious to learn!
She always comes home with a new story to share with us!
You are awesome!

Mme. Monique Imbeau, Leonardo da Vinci Academy, English Montreal School Board

My children before starting school spoke and understood only English and Italian. Starting school and having a full day of French was very daunting for them. 6 years ago, this amazing teacher taught my son and with her constant help and support and open communication, my son overcame his “fear of French days” and there were no more “being sick” episodes. Upon my request, she is now my daughter’s teacher and once again, with her support and open communication, my daughter has adjusted to school and she is no longer apprehensive for the “dreaded” French days. Mme. Imbeau is open, honest and kind. Her patience is very appreciated. The love she has for children and her profession shines through in the little notes that she writes me. LDVA is lucky to have her on staff and the children she teaches are lucky to have her as their teacher.


I think Mme. Imbeau is so awesome because she has such a passion for teaching and it shows through all her hard work and dedication towards the children. She goes above and beyond of what teaching is, making it all the more interesting for the children. So grateful that my children have had her as a teacher! She is not only an amazing teacher but an incredible person all together!

Ms. Parente, Leonardo da Vinci Academy, English Montreal School Board

Ms. Parente is a gift given to our children. What she teaches our children will benefit them for many years to come. She encourages all children and gives them the confidence they need to thrive. She has a generous heart and it shows in all she does. Cannot express how grateful I am that my boys have had her as a teacher.


Mrs. Parente is passionate and totally committed to her vocation. My children have really benefited from being a part of her class.
Once again thank you for all that you do!

Melanie Dignard, Westmount Park School, English Montreal School Board

Miss Melanie has the ability to manage difficult situations, with the kids and the parents feeling great about it, and she makes it look easy, never missing a beat. My child adores her and is actually eager to wake up to go to school. We could not have asked for a better teacher to integrate school through the very challenging Kindergarten transition year.

Metaxia Daras, Carlyle Elementary, English Montreal School Board

Mrs. Daras is the most nurturing and optimistic teacher our family has witnessed in action. She cares whole-heartedly for all students that she works for and with and she is also very busy taking care of the staff at Carlyle and keeping everything organized and running smoothly. She is very dedicated and hard-working and her compassion in teaching as well as her sunny, bright disposition around the children and adults at the school is very heart-warming! She deserves a whole lot of applause and credit! Bravo, Mrs. Daras!

Catch up on post one, and post two of this three part series and take time to say thanks to an educator (or two or three) in the comments below.

To all of my LEARN colleagues, and from all of us to Québec’s educators, Happy Teacher and School Staff Appreciation Week! 

Teacher Appreciation – Connections That Count

Photo by T-Bone Sandwich
Photo by T-Bone Sandwich

The teachers highlighted here, in the second of three Teacher and School Staff Appreciation posts this February, have clearly connected with their students, the families, their colleagues and the school communities. The importance of building relationships, and making connections to learning, has been a hot topic on the LEARN blog for years.

Enjoy reading about how teachers and school staff connect with students inside and outside the classroom.



Mme. Stephanie Boulet, St. Anthony Elementary, Lester B. Pearson School Board

Mme. Stephanie is a grade 4 teacher at St-Anthony Elementary! She is more than a teacher. She makes her students laugh, and can relate to them. She reminds them that you need to have fun while learning. She shares funny stories with her students and acts silly. This allows my son to come home and opens up a discussion about his day at school. She is passionate about teaching and cares about her students. Her job is not to fail her kids, rather to help them succeed!

Osvaldo Dippolito, Commission Scolaire du Littoral

Professor devoted and attentive.
Always ready to help;
Organize and creative;
Young adults continue to play sports with them.
A very rigorous teacher,
He knows the tricks for young people to surpass themselves.

Mr. Jones, McDowell Elementary School, Western Quebec School Board

Mr. Jones is a new teacher this year and a huge asset to our elementary school. He has amazing positive energy and the children want to be around him because he makes them feel individually important. He is often greeting parents when they come to school as well as the children. What first impressed me was a moment when I saw a child saying, ‘Hello Mr. Jones.’

He replied with a ‘Hello’ and he looked like he was in a hurry to get to class until the child said, ‘Do you know my name?’ He took a step back, bent down to the child’s level and said, ‘No, but I’d like to know.’ The child said their name happily, and he said, ‘Glad to know your name. Thanks so much for telling me.’ I know it was such a simple gesture but the light in that child’s eyes told me that it made her feel special. This is just one small example of the impact he makes with our children.

Thank you, Mr. Jones. Keep up the great work!!

Carla Batista, Ecole Bancroft School, English Montreal School Board

Carla is our extraordinary resource teacher whose dedication to the students at Bancroft goes above and beyond. Her morning smile and enthusiastic greeting at the door makes even the shyest student smile. She is a fabulous resource teacher, who also instigates and organizes many of the school activities. Her door is always open for any student who needs an ear or for any parent who has concerns. She is passionate about teaching, about kids and about Bancroft.

Natasha Bellows, Place Cartier Adult Education Centre, Lester B. Pearson School Board

Natasha always challenges herself to find different ways to include her students in the learning process. She develops a connection with her students and is always open to finding new ways to make sure that they own their learning. Her students are very lucky to have her!

Mariève Gagné, Access Adult Centre, Riverside School Board

Mariève teaches with empathy. She loves her students and shows it in the way she designs her learning situations based on their interests, on movement, and through care. She makes the programs she teaches very accessible to her students!

Peggy Drolet, LEARN at St. Michael’s High School, Western Quebec School Board

Ms. Drolet has been St. Michael’s Sec. 4 Science Math teacher for the last 12 years and as the school coordinator for Learn Quebec, I have had the great pleasure of working with her toward our students’ academic success. At the beginning of every school year I tell these students that they should trust Ms. Drolet because she WILL get them through this course! And she does!

Her collaboration with her schools and her dedication to her students’ learning are the keys to her success! She is an amazing teacher and I consider myself lucky to work with her!
Thanks so much for caring, Ms. Drolet!!!

Sara Saltel, Mountainview Elementary School, Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board

Sara works diligently to ensure her students are receiving the highest quality education. She thoughtfully plans her lessons, taking into consideration all her students; challenging the very gifted and supporting the struggling, all while cracking wit and administering fair and consistent consequences when behaviors go south. The students and the school are fortunate to have her!

Julie Desrosiers, St. Lambert Elementary, Riverside School Board

On her first day at this school, during the welcome back breakfast, she came towards me (I am the CLC coordinator and it was also my first day) and said “I heard this is a CLC school and I want to work with you. We can do projects together”. I was ecstatic that she was eager to collaborate. She has been a champion at including the CLC in her class and she always has something new she wants to try or involve her students in. She always has a smile on her face even though days are not always easy. She has what I consider are all the qualities you need to be a great teacher. She is truly awesome and I want her to know it. Tu es magnifique, Julie !

Denise Albert, John Caboto Academy, English Montreal School Board

Madame Denise is one of the few teachers that has the authentic dedication and motivation that is so rare these days -giving up lunch hours and after school time to ensure that all her students learn and reach their full potential. She communicates with the parents and shares tips so that the parents may continue what she has already worked on. She sees the potential in each and every child and is determined to see them flourish. She is an amazing lady and an exceptional teacher and we will always be indebted to her for all she has done for our children.

Ms. Paola, Leonardo da Vinci Academy, English Montreal School Board

I would like to take a moment to highlight the wonderful work that Ms.Paola does for the young children at LDVA. She is an amazing teacher and a sincere person whose passion for teaching shines through in all that she does. My son was having somewhat of a difficult time adjusting to kindergarten and a mid-semester classroom change. Ms. Paola made the transition as smooth as possible and offered me many kind words when we discussed the issues he was encountering.

Fast forward to the first day of Grade 1… My son was terribly sad to see the end of summer and was crying in my arms in front of the school. Ms. Paola happened to be walking close by. She took the time to come over to us and try to help, telling my son that she too was feeling apprehensive about the first day of school and that the feelings were normal, but that all would be well. Ms. Paola is a true inspiration and I truly admire the way she manages to bond with and teach our children. Here’s hoping my daughter will be fortunate enough to have her as a kindergarten teacher when the time comes.

Debbie Ellison, McDowell Elementary School, Western Quebec School Board

Although she is not my child’s teacher this year, I felt it important to say how she goes above and beyond her teacher duties. This weekend I saw her at a local hockey tournament and when I asked her who she was there to watch, she mentioned many of the children from our school. Some children were those she was teaching this year and others were from previous years. It is so heart-warming to see a teacher who takes an interest in the students’ outside activities. To me, Ms. Ellison is a good teacher who bonds with her students.

Mme. Chantal Baril, Leonardo da Vinci Academy, English Montreal School Board

She really connects with the children and she awakens their curiosity for learning.
Thank you very much!

Alexandra Zorbas, Westmount Park School, English Montreal School Board

Miss Alex is the most engaged teacher I have ever met. She always helps the Parent Participation Organization (PPO) in all its activities, and goes above and beyond the call of duty. Teachers with her dedication inspire students, parents and staff to do their very best. We could not have asked for a better example to children entering school in Kindergarten.

If you missed the first Teacher Appreciation post for 2017, find it here.  The third and final post in the series is here.  If you missed the chance to share a story about a deserving educator you know, please add it below in the comments.

Teacher Appreciation – GO TEAM!!!

Photo by Steven Depolo
Photo by Steven Depolo

Happy Teacher Appreciation Time 2017!

Depending on your school or school board, Quebec Teacher and School Staff Appreciation week is celebrated the week of either February 5 or February 12 – or even better, both! Enjoy this first of three blog posts with messages of appreciation written by students, parents, colleagues, directors, and community members.

One of the themes that has emerged from the submitted shout-outs this year is celebrating the collective, the entire staff, the team that works together (and with the community) to support student success.  GO TEAM!!

(This was post #1 in a three part series.  Read post #2 and post #3 too.  You don’t want miss any of the teacher and school staff appreciation!)

ALL of my son’s teachers and staff, Flemming Elementary, Eastern Shores School Board

All of the teachers and staff at Flemming Elementary are AMAZING!!

My son has three teachers at Flemming and they are all awesome 🙂 Ms. Kathy, Mme. Manon and Mr. Cody are all constantly working towards what is in the best interest of my 9 year old son Logan.
They are always looking for new ideas and methods in order to teach and engage Logan. Each goes above and beyond to better understand him and his Autism and the many challenges that come along with that. It is a heartwarming feeling for us as parents to see how much everyone truly cares in that school and go the extra mile to both support and interact with him. I could not be prouder to send my child to Flemming School which is filled with such patient, kind and gentle staff.

All of our Littoral teachers! Commission Scolaire du Littoral

You are all awesome because each day you face new challenges of teaching multiple levels in one class in isolated areas with limited resources. What you do each day is inspiring! Taking the time to learn new teaching strategies & approaches is not always easy, yet many of you continue to find the time because you know it is an investment in your students! Thank you for all you do!

To all Teachers and Administrators, Rosemount High School, English Montreal School Board

An Inspirer. An Empower. An Engager. These three characteristics are just a short sample of the many you demonstrate with all of your students, including me, every single day.

Too often we progress through the ‘ropes of life,’ and do not invest the time to express our gratitude and authentic value for the support you so eagerly share for our growth, as not only students, but also as global citizens of society.

You make me feel authentically supported when you say, “Please let me know how I can be helpful” and genuinely mean it. Also, the excitement you express to co-learn with me rather than teach me, makes me feel like a partner in my learning experience, when it is so easy to feel like ‘a sponge that can only absorb.’ I know you have so much to share, but I love how you also openly articulate how much I have to share as well and how much you learn by engaging with me!

As an educator, your title can ensure a role of heightening my knowledge in academics. However, you see me not as one of the many students you have, but instead you value me for my uniqueness and strengths. You promote an environment where I feel like I am able to not only share my contribution, but also know it is actually considered and appreciated.

Thank you for being genuine. Thank you for seeing me as a partner in learning and sharing. Thank you for being you. Thank you for being one of the  great teachers out there. May you inspire others to achieve the greatness you have.

All Teachers, Dr. S. E. McDowell Elementary School, Western Quebec School Board

McDowell is a very special school that takes the time for each child including mine. Many teachers go the extra mile to ensure he is reaching his full potential and they bring out his best qualities. Well done, McDowell. Our family appreciates all that you do!


The staff of McDowell Elementary, Western Quebec School Board

As a new member to the McDowell community, I am amazed how caring, supportive and welcoming the teachers, Aides, supporting staff members are towards the children and each other. The extras they do to ensure a safe, happy and nurturing environment for all who walk through the doors are offered selflessly and with great warmth. They truly are exceptional.

All staff! Twin Oaks Elementary School, Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board

This is an awesome team and I just want to say thank you for the incredible teamwork that goes on, always going the extra mile for our students!

Madame Chantal and Miss Julie, Dante School, English Montreal School Board

Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your time. Thank you for helping me with my homework. Thank you for setting my homework. Thank you for staying behind to help me, even when I know there are lots of other places you’d rather be. Thank you for not embarrassing me in front of my friends. Thank you for explaining things until I understand. Thank you for making me do my best. Thank you for being my teachers.

LEARN’s online teachers, LEARN

Here’s a shout out to the amazing online teachers at LEARN. I’ve had the chance to attend some of their workshops – they are constantly in search of making their online courses fun and interactive. They are not only committed to teaching math and science to their students, but love to share their knowledge and activities with fellow teachers. Hats off to Peggy, Audrey, Kerry, and Natalie!

Principal Ms. Sammarco & Vice-Principal Ms. Caruso, Leonardo da Vinci Academy, English Montreal School Board

I know they are not teachers, but I would like to express my gratitude to both of them. They are a great team and work together amazingly!

The school has changed immensely since Ms. Sammarco joined LDVA. Most importantly and one case that is near and dear to my heart:
My daughter was getting bullied last year, which was extremely heart breaking for me as her mother, to watch her go through such a horrible situation. This year is a whole different chapter in her life, as they worked together with the kids & behavioral tech to regulate this problem.

They have immense hearts and their love for not only my daughter, but for all the students shows in their daily lives at school!


Cheer on your own school staff team by adding a comment!

Feel free to add a comment at the end of any of the three posts this week to highlight other deserving educators in your community.