In 2015, Amy Soucie, a teacher from the Greater-Essex County District School Board and a graduate of the University of Windsor [Bachelor of Arts, Honours Environmental Resource Management (1999), Bachelor of Education (2000)] was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence. Working at General Amherst High School in Amherstburg, Ontario in the position of Learning Support Teacher and Special Education, Amy provides an inclusive environment with an open door policy to students from grades 9 to 12.
The Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence honours elementary and secondary school teachers across Canada who exhibit exemplary leadership and teaching practices. Amy says that she is honoured and humbled to have been recognized with the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.
“My teaching philosophy is quite simple. 1. Every day is a new day.2. My door is always open to everyone. 3. If I don’t have the answer, then I will find it. That’s it.”
Amy’s career began teaching science and geography in various high schools. During this time, she worked closely with Learning Support Teachers and saw what they did to ensure student success on a daily basis. After completing her Special Education Specialist in Continuing Education, Amy obtained a position as a Learning Support Teacher. Thus far Amy describes her experience as “amazing!” She states, “I work with students on a daily basis who experience challenges with their learning that most others take for granted. Given that schooling requires a great degree of time and effort, my students continue to inspire me for showing up to a place where they struggle on a daily basis.”
Looking back to her days at the University of Windsor, Amy notes that “learning the basics, such as how to create a sound lesson plan, organize and structure units, and network with other professionals” contributed to her successful career. In addition, practical field placements and time spent putting what she learned into practice was invaluable. When asked what advice she had for future Bachelor of Education students, Amy stated, “My advice for students entering the Faculty of Education would be, first and foremost, to make sure that you are going into the profession of teaching for the right reasons, not to just have the ‘summers off’. In addition, I would encourage them to be knowledgeable and have the understanding that not every student fits into a box. As teachers we must be flexible, consistent, always willing to learn, and work hard to keep them engaged.”