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Celebrating World Teachers' Day - Leading in Crisis & Reimagining the Future

October 5, 2020

As schools and other educational centres were closed around the world, the education of nearly 1.6 billion learners, representing over 90% of the world’s total enrolled student population, was, and continues to be, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.   

On October 5th, we are taking time to celebrate World Teacher's Day and recognize the leadership and dedication to education by the teachers in our community every day, but especially throughout the pandemic. Through 20 years of PALS (Partners Assisting Local Schools) partnerships with local schools, we have been proud to support the teachers, administrators and support staff that lead in crisis and reimagine the future for the next generation.  

Working together with schools in Saint John and New Brunswick, we have seen firsthand the tremendous impact teachers have in growing our communities and impacting the future of our province.  

As Mr. J.K. Irving often says when meeting with groups of educators, “You have the most important job, that of educating our youth. Thank you for allowing us to work with you to support your efforts.” 

We are very pleased to recognize and share the stories of the following Anglophone School District-South educators in our community, as representatives of their colleagues. 

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Shawn McVicar, 
K-8 Phys. Ed.; 6-8 Math 

Prince Charles School

The great teachers who taught me and with whom I have worked always put the students’ best interests first. They hold high expectations for their students and themselves. They can motivate students to want to learn and establish connections by displaying respect, enthusiasm, and creating a sense of belonging. They possess effective classroom management skills, are very organized, have positive relations with all staff and students, and can adapt to change. Great teachers are dedicated to continuing to learn how to better their craft. 

Growing up, I played a lot of sports and when we were not at the rink or the ball field, we would be playing out in the back yard or down at our uncle’s field. Although we were just playing, I would often be the “coach” and have my brother and friends/cousins do drills that I made up. I loved playing that role and they had a great time doing the drills. I thought, “It would be great if I could do this for a living.” It may sound silly, but I guess this would have been when I first thought about becoming a teacher. I’ve always considered myself to be a helpful, caring person so teaching sounded like the right path to choose. 

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Andrea Matthews, 

Lakewood Heights School

We are living and teaching in a very challenging time.  I couldn’t be prouder of how teachers have embraced the necessary changes while keeping a positive outlook on the new school year. Our teachers are patient, caring, and kind. This year, more than ever, they are up for the challenge of ensuring students experience academic success. 

Teaching makes me feel like I am making a positive impact on the lives of children. I can’t imagine being in any other profession, I love being a teacher! I hope my students learn as much from me as I learn from them.


Natasha Peddle, 
Learning Commons Teacher and Coordinator of Engagement and Enrichment

St. Malachy’s Memorial High School

My colleagues are great teachers who genuinely care about each student’s progress, achievement, and well-being. They motivate students to become kind, confident, and curious citizens dedicated to improving themselves and the world.

Sharing my love of learning and sense of wonder about the world motivated me to become a teacher.  By being kind and empathetic, I strive to show students I care and help them achieve their dreams. Social change begins with education and I want to be a part of improving our community.

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Zoë Watson, 

Anglophone School District - South

Teachers need many qualities and skills – good teachers never give up despite challenges with students and they have strong skills in connecting and building positive relationships with students to show them that they care. Great teachers know their curriculum and can make it relevant and engaging for students.  They also model the importance of learning by being life-long learners themselves!   It is also important for teachers to be prepared and organized – and to be good listeners!  A challenging but very rewarding career!

I knew in elementary school I wanted to be a teacher and in high school I was told I wouldn’t find a job, but I had no second choice at that time for a career. I knew I couldn’t be a nurse!  I enjoy working with people, and as a student I loved school and learning, and tasks that involved being organized.  If I was sick for a day and couldn’t go, I remember crying!  Imagine being upset that you would miss the next story in your “Dick and Jane” reader!  Young teachers today would not remember those!  I remember having many great teachers during my days as a student in Sussex and area schools.  I started by teaching Sunday School in middle school come to think of it!   I have been extremely fortunate to hold many positions in education at the local and provincial levels and have learned from each one and I continue to learn today!  The weeks and years go so quickly in this profession!