Parrsboro teacher wins NSTU award

Andrew Wagstaff
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Students nominate those who Make a Difference

PARRSBORO – It’s not every day that a teacher gets thanked by a student. Chara Ross now knows what it feels like in a big way.
The teacher at Parrsboro’s regional elementary and high schools was one of nine teachers in the province recognized recently through the Nova Scotia Teachers Union’s Teachers Make a Difference program.

Parrsboro teacher Chara Ross is one of nine from around the province being recognized through the Nova Scotia Teacher's Union's Make a Difference program, which involved a student nomination process.

Between Oct. 15 and Nov. 10, the program encouraged students to nominate a teacher who has made a big difference in their lives, and contributed to their school and community. It resulted in 475 nominations representing 238 teachers.

Grade Nine student Kara Lynne Shaw was one of those who submitted a 100-word nomination letter.

“The way she teaches is not just going up and teaching what she has to teach; she teaches what we want to learn,” she said.

Kara-Lynne described Ross as not just a teacher but also a friend, and someone the students know they can also talk to about their personal problems.

On top of that, she said she’s pretty fun in the classroom.

“Even the things we don’t enjoy, she makes them fun for us,” said the student. “She makes learning fun. Everyone is just excited to come to her class every day.”

The experience has been very “humbling” for Ross, who was quick to point out that she works alongside many great teachers in Parrsboro every day.

She said she is never speechless, but upon hearing the news of this honour, she struggled for words.

Her philosophy on teaching is to create an environment in which the students want to learn.

“A lot of times it’s not about the curriculum, it’s about how they’re feeling that day,” said Ross. “How they feel is going to determine how they perform in your class. If you give them a safe forum to express themselves any way they can, the learning is endless.”

From Amherst, Ross began her teaching career at Northport Consolidated Elementary School for one year before moving on to E.B. Chandler Junior High School in Amherst. After four years there, she came to Parrsboro, where she now teaches physical education at the elementary school, and science, healthy living and technical education at the high school.

Having the opportunity to work with both younger and older students has been interesting for her, with both requiring different approaches. The elementary students, for example, require more patience and multi- tasking, while she finds tools such as sarcasm are more effective in the junior high classrooms.

She loves it.

“I wake up every morning excited,” said Ross. “I can’t wait to get to school and do something fun and energetic. If you put your energy and everything into it, you get it back.”

The Parrsboro schools are very proud to have one of their own receive this honour, according to principal Sue Stevenson.

“To have a teacher recognized by her own students to receive an award like this, that’s the cool thing,” she said. “They basically took control of this and made this happen; they are the ones who pulled it together.”

Each recognized recipient – one from each school board region and the Nova Scotia Community College – will receive a $300 donation towards their school’s breakfast or library program.

Twitter: @ADNandrew

Organizations: Nova Scotia Community College, Northport Consolidated Elementary School, E.B. Chandler Junior High School

Geographic location: Parrsboro, Amherst

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Recent comments

  • Sandy Graham
    November 25, 2013 - 16:15

    Congratulations Ms. Ross: The influence you are having on these youth – a passion for learning – will last a lifetime. It will reap them, and those around them, profound dividends in and outside the formal walls of education. There is no replacement for the sheer desire to learn. You clearly inspire your students to do so as a teacher and a role model. Sandy Graham Parrsboro