April 22nd, 2024

Kindergarten teacher to be 2024 MHCBE Edwin Parr nominee

By ANNA SMITH Local Journalism Initiative on March 22, 2024.

Photo of Mackenzie Gill.--Submitted Photo

asmith@medicinehatnews.com

This year, kindergarten teacher Mackenzie Gill is the Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education’s Edwin Parr nominee.

Gill is from Fredericton, New Brunswick originally, but has lived in Medicine Hat for the past seven years. She completed her education degree at Medicine Hat College, via a partnership with Mount Royal University.

“It was just nice to stay in the city,” said Gill. “And because my family’s here. So it was nice to just be here with my family and stuff while going through school.”

While she had initially thought she would work with older kids, Gill has been finding her time with kindergarten students at École St. John Paul II School rewarding, teaching in both English and French.

“I teach two languages. So I teach English in the morning, and French in the afternoon,” said Gill. “And it’s been, it’s been weird navigating, how to teach, and then how to teach in two languages. So it’s been a challenge, but it’s been really rewarding. I’ve learned more about myself. And I’ve learned more about the French language.

“It’s just been a really big and growing year for me, as well as just for my students. So it’s just been, it’s been really good. It’s been challenging, but it’s been super rewarding.”

She was surprised and honoured by the nomination.

“It’s just really great to be noticed for your hard work, you know? I feel like a lot of first-year teachers are so hard on themselves,” said Gill. “You always wonder, ‘Am I doing the right things?’ ButI feel like after being even just nominated, by my principal, it felt like I was being noticed for my hard work. So it’s been very nice. It’s been humbling. And I’m just really grateful and really blessed.”

Gill considers her teaching to be extremely student-centred, making sure they have opportunities to learn not just as individuals, but as peers, in order to build the vital social and soft skills needed in kindergarten.

“I’m also pretty proud of how far I feel like my students have come, literacy wise. It’s just really nice to see them learning what I’m teaching them,” said Gill. “Because I feel like a lot of the time you could teach them, but if you really don’t go back to the important stuff, you’re not really sure if they’ve learned or not. But every time I see them reading, it just makes me realize, ‘Oh, like I taught them how to do that.'”

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