Photo courtesy of Molly Marlow
Teaching a classroom full of teenagers can be intimidating, but one teacher at Father Gerard Redmond High School has started her career off strong with a first-year teaching award nomination.
“Middle school is just really funny, you can just see ideas happening in their brain and they’re already doing it. They just have no recognition of why they’re doing things, it’s just kind of happening and they’re just as surprised by it as you are every time,” said Molly Marlow, who teaches high school and middle school grades.
She said middle school was an eye opener for her in September, but principal Daniel Burkinshaw said she’s done a fantastic job switching between high school and middle school teaching.
Burkinshaw, together with vice principal Barb Marchant, and the rest of their administrative team nominated Marlow for the award, presented to first-year teachers for excellent work.
“Not only did she have the organization and the work ethic, she also really had a gift for connecting with kids, and connecting with tough kids. Understanding in a way that was well beyond her years,” said Burkinshaw about nominating Marlow.
“She was able to look at a kid and see them as who they are as an individual and she meets them where they are, she doesn’t expect them to meet her where she is, or where the curriculum says they should be,” he continued.
Based on the school’s nomination, the Evergreen Catholic Board then chose Marlow as their nominee. All nominees participated in a 30-minute interview as part of the winner selection process and the two winners out of 19 nominees were announced on May 24 by the ASBA (Alberta School Boards Association) from zone two and three at a celebration in Edmonton.
“The night was very nice, all the nominees were honoured and received a certificate after introducing themselves and talking a bit about their year. I did not win, but the two winners seemed amazing and it is an honor just to be nominated,” stated Marlow.
Burkinshaw also noted that the school has felt very fortunate to have Marlow as a teacher and have been impressed with her willingness to help out in any way she can.
“I think any principal in this district would tell you, we’ve been really blessed with some really great teachers, but it’s not easy recruiting to Hinton. A lot of young teachers want to be in the major centres, and I really do believe that we have been blessed by the [teachers] we have gotten,” said Burkinshaw.
Before moving to Hinton, Marlow lived near Toronto where she finished her teaching degree at York University.
“I couldn’t really think of anything else that I wanted to do. Every time I thought of what I wanted to do when I was older I just pictured still being at school and I like working with kids,” she said about choosing her career path.
With the lack of teaching jobs in the Toronto area, many of her fellow teachers in the Toronto area were moving to find a full-time job.
“I decided to go somewhere else and it worked out amazing. I subbed for one semester and then I got something full time so it’s been great to get to do that,” she said.
Marlow was initially hired as a high school English teacher and currently teaches English to grade 10, 11, and 12 students, health to grade five and seven students, and options to grade seven and eight students, which has allowed her to meet many of the schools students and build up her experience with different age groups.
For Marlow, teaching has been unlike what she thought it would be, which has made her first year both overwhelming and exciting.
“Every day is so different. I never know what to expect and it’s a good thing. I’m never bored. There’s just always something happening, a kid is really excited about something or something new is happening in the school,” she said adding that she expects to be better prepared for her second year of teaching.
“Having the connection with the kids will make it a bit of a smoother transition.”