Peter Jazinsky, who is completing his first year as Grade 5/6 teacher at Ecole Providence has been nominated by the district for the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) Edwin Parr “First Year Teacher Award 2018.
The award, named in honor of Edwin Parr who homesteaded in the Meanook area near Athabasca in 1920 and soon after began his long career in Alberta’s educational services.
Parr was a member of the board with the George Lake School District, served as chair of the board with the Athabasca School Division and was on the council of the County of Athabasca from its formation in 1959 until his death in January 1963.
From 1956 to 1962, Edwin Parr was president of the Alberta School Trustees Association, which is now the Alberta School Boards Association.
To honor the profession he so clearly respected and to ensure his enduring legacy, what was then the Alberta School Trustees’ Association established the Edwin Parr Teacher Award in 1964.
The criteria for the Edwin Parr Award is that any first year K to 12 teacher with a minimum of 100 fulltime equivalent days of teaching service within the current year is eligible for nomination but the teacher must have completed that first year teaching with a school jurisdiction that is a member of the ASBA.
Jazinsky says being nominated gave him the reassurance that he was doing something good and even though he struggled throughout the year, he still made a difference in the classroom and outside.
“It is really nice to get that reassurance, from someone besides your principal or co-workers telling you that you are doing a good job and being recognized by the superintendent that’s a pretty big deal,” he said.
The nomination came in February for which Jazinsky was the first year teacher nominee brought forward in the school district and in March he was given a rigorous interview to decide if he goes forward to represent the northern zone in the province-wide contest for the Edwin Parry First Year Teacher Award.
“The Skype interview had three trustees and two superintendants and was pretty stressful,” says Jazinsky. ‘ There were general questions such as what advice would I give a first year teacher, what would I do differently next year, the role technology plays in the classroom and where I see it in the future and some classroom management questions.”
He said one of the most complex question he was asked was in relation to talk of getting rid of Catholic schools and how would he respond to parents if they asked why they should keep their child in Catholic education.
“That was a very complex question and I needed a minute to think about that. I believe Catholic education provides a platform to explicitly communicate strong moral values and to establish in children an enduring moral and ethical compass.”