Local teachers make the grade

Dave Mathieson
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SPRINGHILL: Caring, nurturing, supportive, thoughtful and innovative are words used to describe those most memorable of teachers who instill in their students a confidence and zest for life that carry them into adulthood.
Those were just a few of the many words used to describe two Springhill teachers when the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board recently presented them with the 2008 Excellence in Teaching Award.
West End Memorial's grade three teacher, Linda Scott, and Springhill High Schools grade 10, 11 and 12 English Teacher, Daniel Calder, are the recipients of this year's award.
"When I was told I was receiving the award it was absolutely mind boggling," Calder said. "John Choisnet, the vice principal, tracked me down and told me the great news. It was amazing."
Scott echoes similar sentiments.
"When the principal and vice-principal told me the news, I heard the words but it didn't quite register. I was overwhelmed," she said.
Between the two of them, Scott and Calder have taught for more than half a century.
Scott has been a teacher for 32 years, while Calder, who hasn't kept too close a tab on his years in the profession said, "I'm going to say I've been teaching for 25 years. That's close enough."
With the high rate of burn out and turn over in the teaching profession, there is not doubt it takes a special person to not only last in the job, but to thrive.
"You wouldn't survive if you didn't like kids," Calder said.
"You have to have mutual respect with the students and you have to be aware of things that may be happening in students lives and respond to those," Scott said.
Calder agrees and adds, "English and math are not necessarily the biggest things going on in a kids life.
"Every kid is different," Calder added. "You treat them the same but there are times you have to treat them different. Its kind of like having kids of your own. The rules apply to all of them, but they are all unique."
What may be most important is a natural ability to relate to students and see them for who they are.
"I never really sat down and said, 'ok, this is the way I need to act to relate to kids or to reach kids," Calder said. "I just do it."
Calder said Springhill is loaded with great teachers.
"The way I do things is quite different than the way Linda does things. If you brought all the staff members in here you'd find out they all do things differently."
Both teachers are grateful to the people who surround them.
"When you receive an award like this it's not an individual award," Scott said. "It's usually all the teachers, administration and support staff who support you that makes a huge difference."
"I think we are very fortunate in both the elementary schools and the high school to have terrific administration, principals and vice principals," Calder added.

Organizations: Central Regional School Board, Springhill High Schools

Geographic location: Chignecto

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