Deborah Horen’s students are not surprised she just won a Prime Minister’s award for teaching excellence.
The Mildred Hall School Grade 7 and 8 teacher is the latest to win an award given to around 1,600 teachers since its inception in 1994.
The award recognizes teachers who are “preparing their students for a digital and innovation-based economy.”
But Max Morina, who’s in her class, would have given it to Deborah just for being so nice.
“She doesn’t get mad a lot. She’s really easy to have a conversation with,” says Morina, who loves basketball and Fortnite when he’s not in school.
He describes Horen as calm and says her ability to teach math is entertaining because she makes it fun.
Horen told Cabin Radio she wants students to feel like they belong.
“Starting with compassion and building those individual relationships with the kids, using that to create a strong classroom community.” Horen said.
“Once you’ve got that tight community of learners, the sky is the limit.”
Since winning the award, Horen has been flooded with congratulations. She is not used to having all the attention on her.
“It’s nice to walk down the hallway and have a kid yell congrats and give you a hug,” she said. “Or you’re headed outside and a parent comes up and says congrats or the teachers and the staff. So it’s a great feeling.”
Horen hopes her students will be great citizens when they leave her class.
“I know I’ve said it to them – and it often comes out at this time of year – that when you leave my room at the end of June, I want you to be a citizen that’s going to make a difference,” she said.
“I want you to be a respectful individual in the community.”
Meanwhile, Amandine Falette-Galiussi received a separate Prime Minister’s award for excellence in the field of early childhood education.
Falette-Galiussi, who works at Yellowknife’s Daycare Plein Soleil, has “put her tireless energy to work” for the community according to a summary of her work on the award’s website.
“Her innovative ideas, her commitment, her insatiable interest in early childhood, her leadership and her love of the outdoors make her an exceptional educator.”