When Kate Myers noticed some students at NDSS were missing certain skills needed for the Grade 9 math program, she developed a new program that was more hands on with relevant learning.
It’s that kind of forward thinking that earned her the J.C. McLeod Excellence in Teaching Award, which is presented to one secondary and one elementary school teacher across the Limestone School Board each year based on nominations from their peers.
“It was a bit shocking when I opened the e-mail, but I was pretty honoured,” Myers recalled upon learning she’d won the award.
For those that work with her however, the award came as no surprise. With 17 years experience, Myers has worn a wide assortment of hats within the halls of NDSS from teaching Math, Physics and Science to serving as a department head and vice-principal to working with her peers to help change practices in the classroom. Currently she is teaching Physics, Math and Student Success.
“My time in Student Success has really been important to me,” said Myers. “You’re working here with students who are struggling. You are seeing with these students, when you get the chance to work with them one-on-one, how much they need a different approach.”
As part of the recognition for the award, it was noted how well Myers is able to adapt a teaching style to reach a particular student.
“They struggle in the traditional sense of what teaching used to be and that doesn’t work for kids anymore,” said Myers. “That has really kept my drive forward to keep changing what I do.”
She credits the school board for allowing her to continue to learn new approaches.
“I have been really lucky to go to lots of great professional development (workshops),” said Myers. “The school has sent me to some and our board has offered some great stuff. I’ve worked with great teachers where I’ve learned lots of new ideas and lots of good people to talk to so that when I try something and it flops, I can figure out where it went wrong. I’m always really honest with the kids in my class. I’m trying something new here because I want to see if it’s better for you. It might not work and you’re going to let me know if it’s not working.”
NDSS is different than a lot of the secondary schools in the board in that it draws its student population from a wide range of feeder schools. That means students come from a variety of backgrounds, whether its large or small classrooms. That’s why the one-on-one time with the students allows her to develop a program that will help individual students learn the material.
“That’s my number one goal, to make sure I’m paying attention to what they need and I’m adjusting to meet that,” said Myers.
She was officially presented the award as part of a year end assembly held earlier this month. It’s now up to the students to take what they’ve learned and apply them to their year end exams and EQAO testing as the school year draws to a close.