‘I am blessed to love what I do’: Kirkland teacher recognized by PMO for excellence in teaching

Click to play video: 'West Island teacher recognized with national award' West Island teacher recognized with national award
WATCH: As students head back to school this week, an elementary school in the West Island is celebrating one of its teachers. As Global's Amanda Jelowicki reports, Sheila Dunwoodie received a prestigious teaching award from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office – and her students say she deserves it – Aug 31, 2018

Sheila Dunwoodie started teaching 27 years ago.

She said she grew up reading Anne of Green Gables, and wanted to be a teacher, just like the protagonist in the book. She says she’s as excited greeting her elementary students today, as she was almost three decades ago.

“They deserve to come in every morning and be greeted with a smile and a genuine delight to be seen,” said Dunwoodie from her classroom in Margaret Manson Elementary in Kirkland.  “I think everyone deserves that in life.”

Her students think she’s such a good teacher, they look forward to going to school every day.

“She is just fun to hang around, she’s goofy. She’s not like any other teacher I have ever met,’ said Grade 6 student Noah Couturier.

READ MORE: Canadian wins prestigious $1M teaching award for work in northern Quebec

It isn’t just Dunwoodie’s students who think so highly of her. The Prime Minister’s Office just recognized her for excellence in teaching, an award only one other teacher in Quebec received.

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“It was incredibly exciting. It was a thrill and a big surprise to win the award,” Dunwoodie said.

In giving her the award, the PMO cited her promotion of physical activity in learning.

Often during class, Dunwoodie will get kids to break out in dance or take a spin around the classroom.

“They will have brain breaks and dance breaks throughout the day because they need to move. If we are asking them to sit at a desk all day and listen to me, that’s not fun for anybody,” she said.

The PMO also recognized her for superiority in how she teaches technology. In the citation for her award, the PMO wrote:

“High-tech and low-tech happily co-exist in her classroom, where students of all abilities learn to plan, collaborate and problem solve through a marriage of literacy and technology.”

“You can see all the great strategies. She is basically an example of the best practices in teaching,” said school principal Stephanie Herault.

WATCH: Excellence in teaching awards — Is the Quebec government missing the mark?

Click to play video: 'Excellence in teaching awards: Is the Quebec government missing the mark?' Excellence in teaching awards: Is the Quebec government missing the mark?
Excellence in teaching awards: Is the Quebec government missing the mark? – Feb 26, 2018

For Dunwoodie, the award just serves as a reinforcement for the job she loves doing.

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“I wake up every morning really grateful to go to work. I know I am really blessed to love what I do so much.”

And her students feel just as blessed to have her as their teacher.

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