There is one constant in Andrea Regier’s classroom at Saskatoon’s Bishop James Mahoney High School.
“She usually has a song for every class that goes along with the lesson that she’s teaching,” Jessa-Lynne Robb, a Grade 12 student at the school, said Friday.
Music is just one of the interactive tools that Regier uses in an effort to create a learning environment that engages students. This week she was one of 11 Canadian educators to receive the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence, which honours outstanding and innovative educators across all disciplines.
“It was affirming, inspiring, I think encouraging,” Regier said about receiving the accolade.
“I hope that it bestows an honour to my colleagues and to all the people that have chosen this profession and brings some honour to them as well.”
Regier has been teaching in the Saskatoon high school system for 15 years. She said her approach has developed over time to incorporate outdoor activities, field trips and games to help make her class lessons stick.
Bishop James Mahoney High School vice principal Kari Weiman said she once walked into Regier’s classroom and saw a senior class performing a play about the northern lights.
“These are Grade 12 physics kids and she had them out of their comfort zone, but they will always remember the northern lights and the science behind it,” Weiman said.
“She just finds ways to connect with students to make learning real for them.”
Regier also helped establish a school-wide composting program and formed the first ever partnership that allowed high school students to take part in research with the University of Saskatchewan’s synchrotron at the Canadian Light Source.
However Regier said her students have also taught her a great deal through feedback and constructive criticism.
“I truly share this with them,” Regier said of her award.
“They’re the reason I love what I do.”