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Warner School’s Bennett achieves success in first-year teaching

Posted on May 31, 2024 by admin
Westwind Weekly News Photo submitted

By Heather Cemeron
Westwind Weekly News

The Edwin Parr Awards Banquet was held on May 15, at the Taber Heritage Inn and although she didn’t win, nominee Azia Bennett feels extremely honoured that she was nominated for the Edwin Parr Award and to be a representative of Horizon School Division.

“It is fulfilling to see my efforts be recognized and to feel validation that what I am doing is valued and appreciated,” said Bennett. “As a first-year teacher, there is a constant feeling of unsurety and insecurity, but this nomination has greatly boosted my confidence in my abilities. This experience has taught me to not be so hard on myself and that things are likely going better than I feel that they are. It is hard to be proud of yourself when you do not feel like you see your efforts paying off, but in teaching, sometimes you don’t see those positive repercussions until much later.”

The Edwin Parr Award, Bennett says, is given through the Alberta School Board Association (ASBA) to six outstanding first year teachers across the province. Alberta is broken up into six zones, with each zone comprising about a dozen school divisions. 

All first-year teachers in the Horizon School Division, were brought forth by the administration, Bennett says, and she was picked as the single nominee. 

“I am not one to draw attention to my accomplishments, so I am not sure if any of my students are aware of my nomination, but word has been getting around to the staff and they are all so proud of me, and the representation for our school,” said Bennett. “Warner School has the most encouraging and supportive staff, and they have been so great about this achievement.”

Bennett says she completed her final practicum through the University of Lethbridge at Warner School after graduating from there with a Bachelor of Science, and taught there for four months at the end of 2022 before acquiring a job there to start for fall 2023, teaching elementary Music, Art, Phys Ed, and STEM, and Grade 8/9 Math.

“I am a very determined person, and I feel like my upbringing was founded on the concept of ‘if you really want something, you’ll find a way to get it,” said Bennett. “For most of my life that determination was focused on getting good grades, and now it has been shifted to doing A+ work at my job. That hint of determination, mixed with a lot of perfectionism is what has pushed me to be the best teacher I can be, and honestly, in all aspects of my life at whatever I may be doing.”

Outside of teaching school, Bennett says, she owns a clothing boutique in Lethbridge called MISH, with her parents, and has given herself the title of manager, but she also does all the social media, buying, photography, and website for the store as well. 

“My family is extremely proud and excited for me,” said Bennet. “They have all seen how hard I have been working and how much I care and would agree that this nomination is a reflection of that. My husband is my biggest supporter and loves to tell everyone and anyone about my accomplishments and how proud he is of me. He comes from a big family of educators, so for them this is a pretty cool thing. My parents and in-laws were the first people to post about this on their social media, so that was lovely to see their excitement for me.”

Bennett says she also has hobbies of playing the ukelele, collecting ukeleles to the point where she has 14 of them, and she also draws, paints, and does freehand calligraphy.

“I honestly do not know what my future holds, but I definitely feel confident in my abilities and have gained immense belief in myself,” said Bennett. “This year has taught me so much about teaching, children, and myself, that is forever invaluable in  any circumstance. Do the hard thing, if it’s the thing you really want to do. Too many times I have settled for something easier because I lacked confidence in myself, and then was dissatisfied because it was not what I really wanted. You have to climb the big mountain, and the hike might suck, but that is the only way to make it to the top.”

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