Was there a teacher who made a real difference in your life as you were growing up? Did he or she go the extra mile and help you or inspire you at a critical moment? Was a teacher “there for you” when your life seemed so confusing?
On Thursday afternoon, May 3, 2012, students graduating in a few weeks from faculties at the University of Manitoba will take time to salute teachers from kindergarten to university who have made significant impacts on their lives.
The theme of “going the extra mile” is most significant this year as some graduating students are giving tributes to teachers who taught them in small rural schools or large urban complexes.
“This is one of the best events of the university year,” says Mark Torchia, director of University Teaching Services. “Each year, graduating students give personal and touching tributes to certain men and women who made such a difference in their lives and inspired them to become the trailblazers and challengers they are today.”
Cathy Lethbridge teaches physical education and computer science at Fort Richmond Collegiate. She taught Deondra Twerdun several years ago and developed a coach/athlete bond and relationship throughout high school.
Twerdun, who is graduating this Spring from the Faculty of Education, explains: “I would visit Ms Lethbridge every morning before school to talk about math (my least favourite subject), basketball, university and, more importantly, life. Looking back now, she probably came in before 8:00 am to get some quality quiet prep time before a chaotic day began, but she always took the time to make a connection and talk about what was going on. I’ll never forget some of our early morning chats and am ever grateful for the time she was able to spend with me.”
Karen Boyd taught Twerdun in the Faculty of Education. Twerdun says, “I could not have asked for anyone better to influence and educate me as I graduate into the teaching field. She brings stories and experiences from her own teaching days and shares them with us wide-eyed student teachers.”
Twerdun adds: “I now know that authors like Chris VanAllsburg, Jack Ezra Keats and David Wiesner will have permanent locations in my own classroom library. I even went and found an old Brother’s Grimm Book of Fairy Tales just to satisfy my inner Karen Boyd voice: ’How are they supposed to know the Disney version if they don’t know the original version?’”
Richard Scrapneck is a teacher at Pinkham School in Winnipeg’s Inner City. He remembers his former student Jessyca Fan from when she was about ten years old in Grade Three in about 1997.
“She was very well-behaved, and eager to learn,” he recalls. “Her homework was always done beyond expectations and I knew she would always do well throughout her education.”
Scrapneck adds: “All of Pinkham School is proud of her. Jessyca is one of the true success stories of the Core Area of the city.”
Fay, graduating now from the Faculty of Architecture, says Scrapneck made a big impression on her. “I don’t remember too much about the subjects we learned back then, but I do remember how much I enjoyed going to his class every day. He was the one teacher at Pinkham that all the kids talked about and wanted to be in his class. I chose him because he always made his students feel like they were special.”
Fay notes: “I remember Mr. Scrapneck taking a vacation in Hawaii, and when he came back he brought everyone a keychain, which I still have. My friends and I speculated that he must have spent $100 out of his own pocket for our class. And to a 10 year old, $100 was everything!”
Fay also has much praise for the teaching style of Deb Scott in interior design at the U of M. She notes: “When she teaches, she has a genuine joyful spirit that is contagious. When you know that your professor cares about the work you are doing, you naturally want to work harder, and to have a professor that believes in your work means there is value to what you are designing.”
The spirit of the Students’ Teacher Recognition Reception is possible best summed up by an observation by Deondra Twerdun, who says about Boyd: “I would leave every single class knowing that I was a better teacher that day because of her.”
On Thursday, May 3, 2012, the Students’ Teacher Recognition Reception begins at 3:30 pm in the Multi-Purpose Room of University Centre, Fort Garry Campus.
The reception will be webcast live at:
For more information, contact Erica Jung, University Teaching Services, at: 204-474-7025 or cell: 204-955-3308