When Nancy Barr meets her new class of students for the first time each September she embarks on a building project.
Barr, a teacher at Brevoort Park School, believes in the importance of constructing a community within her classroom and in helping students to be engaged not only in their school, but also in the wider community that makes up their city, province and country.
“I start my year and I end my year building community,” she said. “In the classroom we are, every day, a community of learners. We are a team, we talk team all the time. We do things together.”
In recognition for her efforts in building both students and community, Barr was honoured by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission and the Think Good Do Good organization as a teacher who embodies qualities of understanding, compassion and leadership in the classroom.
“I believe what I do is what should be done in the classroom every day,” Barr told trustees during the June 20 Board of Education meeting. “I believe kids should be treated with respect. I think that kids should know what a citizen is, that they should know how to grow a community and that they should be respected for what they have to say about their community and what they have to do to change their community.”
Her work as part of a team that developed a new citizenship pedagogy in conjunction with the human rights commission illustrates Barr’s personal investment in community, said Chief Commissioner Judge David Arnot, and her commitment to the classroom and building capacity and resilience in students makes her a teacher worthy of recognition.
“She is a champion for human rights and good citizenship, she is making the world a better place one student at a time. She is a teacher of excellence and she is a good example because there are so many teachers of excellence that you have in this school division,” Arnott said.