Cody Young, is a first-year teacher at Hays School and has been nominated for the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) 2013 Edwin Parr Teacher Award. Young has been teaching at the school since the beginning of the school year.
“It’s been a rollercoaster ride. It’s been extremely rewarding to work in a small school, getting to know the kids on a one-to-one basis. I know sometimes in big schools you don’t always get the relationship that you want one-on-one with your students. Out here I know every kid, I know their parents and I know who their siblings are,” said Young.
The 22-year-old teaches homeroom Grade 5 and 6 and Grade 9 Social and Science along with some junior high options and a Grade 3 and 4 class.
Young, who graduated from high school in Medicine Hat and graduated from a University of Alberta program at Medicine Hat College, said the transition from a larger populated area such as Medicine Hat to the smaller town of Hays was a change.
“I graduated with about 180 students in my grad class and I come here and the entire school is under 60 kids so it took time to get used to that. In your homeroom class you only have about 15 kids and at McCoy in Medicine Hat you have classes up to 30 kids,” added Young.
Young also said moving from post-secondary education to the workplace is even more of a change and has some challenges.
“At university and you’re doing your practicum, you always have someone there to kind of have your back such as the teacher and everyone helping you,” said Young.
“I mean if you have questions or if something’s just not working, you always have them there, all the time, to ask questions. Coming into the workforce and having my own class and my own students and my own responsibilities you don’t always have the luxury of having someone cover your back or someone helping you out — so it’s a big change. It’s been really, really good so I’ve learned a lot this year.”
Extracurricular-wise Young coaches the junior high cross-country track team, as well as the Grade 5 and 6 basketball team.
He also helped out with the school’s transition to a tech-savvy upgrade with iPads and other new technology brought into the school.
“My deal was to kind of get them set up and figure out how we’re going to use them in class and try to get them off the ground for teachers and students. So that’s something else I kind of took on this year and it went really well,” said Young.
Young noted it is an absolute honour to be nominated for such a prestigious award such as the Edwin Parr Award. “It was a big surprise. Just knowing some of the first year teachers that I’ve gone to conferences with and I’ve been in contact with, they are all fantastic too.”
As for future endeavours in education, Young said within the next five years he’d like to start work on a Master’s program and perhaps down the road get into administration.
“I want to, like any teacher, keep the idea of being a life-long learner up and learn from other teachers and other staff and most importantly learn from the kids you teach. I think that’s something that every teacher has to take into perspective,” said Young.
Every school board has excellent first year teachers and these individuals can acquire an additional level of local recognition by being nominated for the ASBA Edwin Parr Teacher Award.
Edwin Parr homesteaded in the Meanook area near Athabasca in 1920. Prior to 1925 he began his long career in educational affairs as a member of the board with the George Lake School District. He 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.
Edwin Parr was president of the Alberta School Trustees' Association from 1956 to 1962.
Each year a member of the teaching staff was chosen to receive a gold watch and an appropriate certificate for long and meritorious service. In searching for a way in which his memory might be perpetuated and to honor the profession he so dearly respected, the Alberta School Trustees' Association established the Edwin Parr Teacher Award in 1964.
The Edwin Parr Teacher Award winner will be announced May 8 at the Heritage Inn.