Little Red River School teacher recognized for teaching excellence
- Julia Peterson | December 07, 2020
Kalyn Heisler, a high school teacher at Little Red River School in Christopher Lake, looks forward to getting texts from her students at night or on the weekend.
“It’s really nice knowing that my students are working on assignments on a Friday or a Saturday night - because that’s when they’re asking me questions,” she said.
Her colleagues say she brings this type of commitment to all her teaching pursuits.
So when Heisler received a Certificate of Achievement in the 2020 Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence (PMA), no one was surprised.
Principal Darren Solomon was proud to put Heisler’s name forward for the award. To him, she is a deserving candidate for an award meant to honour educators who are leaders in their school community with exemplary teaching practices.
“She is a constant professional,” he said. “She is always looking for ways to make things interesting for them to learn.
“She always has a very strong relationship with all of the students. They respect her and understand that she’s working her hardest to get them to learn the content as well as they can.”
Heisler is one of only two Saskatchewan teachers to receive the certificate this year, and the only one at a First Nations school.
At Little Red River School, Heisler is the teacher leader for the student chief and council, involved in organizing activities like dances, pep rallies and spirit weeks. And when she is in the classroom, she brings the same enthusiasm to the curriculum.
“I’m very passionate about what I teach,” she said. “I’m an extrovert, I am outgoing, I like to make jokes. So I think my teaching style is laid-back, but it grabs the attention of the students and gets them motivated to learn.”
Over her ten years at the school, Heisler has taught math concepts using chocolate bars and oreos, brought in live animals for students to work with and helped students make books of their photographs for display in the school library.
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Heisler has used her existing appreciation for technology in the classroom to build an even closer relationship with her students.
“For every class I teach, I do have a website for it,” she said. “And because students are so technology-based right now, it’s nice to have them working with their phones or on a device. It’s a new way of helping them learn and complete assignments.”
Some of her students were even texting her their congratulations when they heard she had won the award.
Since winning the Certificate of Achievement, Heisler says she is even more motivated to continue being the best possible teacher for her students.
"All of those late nights and the times I’ve brought homework home, it definitely feels worth it,” she said.