The Northern Lights Public Schools Board of Trustees has selected Colby Bowers as the Division’s nominee for the 2018 Edwin Parr Award for outstanding first-year teachers.
Mr. Bowers was born and raised in the Northern Lights area, attending Ardmore School from Kindergarten to Grade 9 and graduating from Bonnyville Centralized High School. He completed a combined Kinesiology and Education Degree at MacEwan University and the University of Alberta in 2017. He began teaching Physical Education at H.E. Bourgoin School at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.
“I was so honoured when I found out about the nomination,” Mr. Bowers said. “I know that I work hard, but it’s very gratifying to know that my work has been appreciated by others as well.”
Mr. Bowers says that teaching Physical Education in Bonnyville has been his goal since he graduated high school:
“I had a really great Phys-Ed teacher in Grade 12 at BCHS who steered me down this path. I got to do some work experience with her and I immediately knew that’s what I wanted to do, and that’s where I was supposed to be. I always wanted to come back and teach in Bonnyville. The students here deserve excellent Phys-Ed teachers, and I’m just trying to give them what they deserve.”
Key to success in his first year of teaching is Mr. Bowers’ efforts to get to know each of his students personally.
“I had a university facilitator who told me that great teachers understand that their priorities should be, ‘relationships, relationships, relationships, and then curriculum,’ so I make sure to take extra steps to talk to students that are a bit more reserved or often by themselves. I try to get to know them on a deeper level and understand them more in order to make P.E. a class to which they want to come.”
Another important aspect of Mr. Bowers’ teaching style is being able to re-examine what student success looks like in Physical Education.
“It’s not about lining kids up on the free throw line and grading them on their ability to make a free throw,” he said. “It’s not about making students run until they drop and giving the highest grade to the last one standing. That’s just backwards. Skills make up a very small part of Phys-Ed. So to base a student’s grade on how well they can play a certain sport at a technical level just doesn’t jive with me.”
H.E. Bourgoin School Assistant Principal JoDee Conrad described why Mr. Bowers is such an asset to the team at the school, saying that, “Colby has this energy about him. The students absolutely adore him, and his enthusiasm just shines right through. He’s one of those people that make you feel good just to be around him, and he works so hard to make sure that every single student feels safe and feels welcome. He’s the kind of teacher that all of us should aspire to be, and he’s only been teaching for seven months.”
Northern Lights would also like to congratulate first-year teachers Morgan Metcalfe from Duclos School, Tamara Toole from Art Smith Aviation Academy, and Hailey Babcock from Ecole Plamondon School on being selected by their schools as potential nominees for the Edwin Parr Award.
“We are thrilled to have had such an excellent group of first-year teachers this year,” said Hrynyk. “We look forward to seeing what they do as they continue to grow and impact the lives of our students.
The Alberta School Boards’ Association’s Edwin Parr Award will be presented to six teachers, one from each Zone in Alberta, during the 2018 ASBA Fall General Meeting.