A Grade 7 teacher in Nanaimo has received a top grade from B.C. Premier John Horgan for after-school student leadership programming.
Tanya Adelborg, from Randerson Ridge Elementary School, won the first-ever B.C. Premier’s Award for Excellence in Education in the Extracurricular Leadership Award category, for activities that include athletics and social justice awareness. Adelborg was honoured to receive the award, but said it is more of a team effort, as opposed to individual achievement.
Adelborg coaches volleyball and basketball and also does a lot of social justice activities with her Grade 7 students – food drives and local, provincial and international fundraisers. There’s basically an activity a month, she said.
“We have the ‘We Scare Hunger’ [drive] and that will go to the local food bank at kind of a different time rather than Christmas,” said Adelborg. “We get teams of the Grade 7s together and basically we’re teaching them leadership skills and then towards the end of the year, our goal is for them to take on an issue themselves.”
The teacher said the students are at an age where they start figure out that they have a “little bit of power” and she said they start to see themselves in the broader picture of the world. When they feel like they have some sort of control over what’s going on, they start to blossom, she said.
Adelborg finds a way to draw a parallel with contemporary issues. She showed the documentary Living on a Dollar a Day, in which three economics students go to a Third World country to see if it’s sustainable.
“We do lots of background information on what’s going [on],” said Adelborg. “For example we were talking about Donald Trump and the immigrants coming from Guatemala and what it’s like to have 7,000 people that are trying to get to the United States for a different life, so I really do feel like they get a really good sense of the world and how lucky they really are.”
Darren Brick, Randerson Ridge principal, nominated Adelborg, and said all the extracurriculars she provides – athletic-, social justice-, academic- and patriotism-related – keep students engaged in school.
“What I found with her last year that made me nominate her was that I know for sure there were some students that stayed in school last year simply because of the many opportunities that Ms. Adelborg provides for them to be engaged in our school and that to me makes a great teacher,” said Brick.
Adelborg wasn’t the only Nanaimo-Ladysmith district teacher who received accolades. Mandy Jones, a Ladysmith Secondary School teacher, won an award in the Indigenous Education category, while Emily Recalma, a Nanaimo District Secondary School teacher, was also a finalist in that category.
“The teachers, administrators and support staff being honoured … are truly exemplary,” said Horgan in a press release. “I’m grateful for their commitment to making life better for students in British Columbia both in the classroom and their communities. Great educators give our students the opportunity and tools to succeed, today and into the future.”