Coveted $1M prize for world’s best teacher goes to N.S. woman working with Inuit in remote Quebec village

Coveted $1M prize for world’s best teacher goes to N.S. woman working with Inuit in remote Quebec village

Aya Batrawy, The Associated Press | March 19, 2017 | Last Updated: Mar 19 8:14 PM ET, http://news.nationalpost.com/n...global-teacher-prize

Maggie MacDonnell raises the Global Teacher Prize with one of her students while standing next to Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, March 19, 2017.

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Coveted $1M prize for world’s best teacher goes to N.S. woman working with Inuit in remote Quebec village

Aya Batrawy, The Associated Press | March 19, 2017 | Last Updated: Mar 19 8:14 PM ET, http://news.nationalpost.com/n...global-teacher-prize

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Maggie MacDonnell had taught in Botswana, Tanzania and Congo, but had never seen anything like what she experienced in Salluit, Que., when she began teaching there six years ago.

“The memory that continues to haunt me is when I see these Canadian teenagers, their very own classmates of the deceased, literally digging the grave,” she said in an interview. “I didn’t know until I came to Salluit that that was a Canadian reality.”

Drug use and alcoholism rates are high in Salluit. The tiny Inuit community witnessed six suicides in 2015, all involving males between the ages of 18 and 25.

MacDonnell, a native of tiny Afton, N.S, won the $1-million Global Teacher Prize Sunday, probably the world’s most-coveted and high-profile award for teaching excellence. She was awarded the prize during a ceremony in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, beating out about 20,000 applicants from around the world.

The village of Salluit, Nunavik at the northern tip of Quebec.

The prize was established three years ago to recognize one exceptional teacher a year who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession, employs innovative classroom practices and encourages others to join the teaching profession.

The prize was established three years ago to recognize one exceptional teacher a year who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession, employs innovative classroom practices and encourages others to join the teaching profession.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered his congratulations in a video message that was broadcast at the event.

“You have done extraordinary things in exceptional circumstances and have showed enormous heart, will and imagination,” said Trudeau, a former teacher himself.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, Governor General David Johnston, and astronaut Chris Hadfield all took to social media to congratulate the teacher.

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was on hand to present the prize to MacDonnell. Her name was announced by French astronaut Thomas Pasquet in a video message from the International Space Station.

MacDonnell was among 10 finalists flown to Dubai to attend the ceremony. The nine others hail from Pakistan, the U.K., Jamaica, Spain, Germany, China, Kenya, Australia and Brazil.

Last week, MacDonnell told the Canadian Press she was excited three of her students could make the trip to Dubai with her. “They’re a huge part of the story and the reason I chose to get involved (in the award) was to make sure it could in some way benefit their lives,” she said.

Along with teaching, MacDonnell became the community’s fitness co-ordinator — “I’m also a coach, I’m also a mentor, I’m a bit of a motivator. For some children, I’m also somewhat of a parental figure, and older sibling, and aunt and extra mother,” she told the CBC.

Some 1,860 kilometres north of Montreal, Salluit is home to the second northernmost Inuit indigenous community in Quebec, with a population of just over 1,300, and can only be reached by air.

Her determination to stay in the remote area, where many teachers leave their post midway through the year, made her a standout for the award. Still, she was reluctant to join the contest — until a friend told her it would draw attention to the plight of children in the far north.

MacDonnell created a number of programs for boys and girls, including job mentorship and funds to assist with healthy meals. Her approach focuses on emphasizing “acts of kindness” such as running a community kitchen and attending suicide prevention training.

She said that if she won, she wanted to start an environmental stewardship program for northern youth, focused on kayaking.

“I can’t say it’s going after the root issues — physical activity isn’t the solution to the housing crisis, it isn’t a solution to the food security those kids are facing in the north,” said MacDonnell in an interview last week.

“But it is a tool to building resilience and it’s a really great coping strategy for them to have considering all that they’re dealing with.”

Last year, Palestinian teacher Hanan al-Hroub won for her efforts in encouraging students to renounce violence and embrace dialogue. The inaugural prize went to Nancie Atwell, an English teacher from Maine.

The award is presented by the Varkey Foundation. Its founder, Sunny Varkey, established the for-profit GEMS Education company, which has more than 250 schools around the world.

With files from The Canadian Press

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Teacher Maggie MacDonell (second from left) and students (left to right) Samantha Leclerc, Lucasie Amamatuak and Larry Thomassie pose in Montreal on Tuesday, March 14, 2017at has become one of the most-coveted and high-profile awards for teaching excellence.

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Maggie MacDonnell started a running club with her students in Nunavik to improve their physical health and give them an outlet for the personal and social challenges they face. Many of her students have now competed in half-marathons in Nova Scotia and Hawaii, and as a result, have become role models for other youth.

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You did not and cannot quote me; I never make such idiotic statements ! For the nth time; you are an idiot and therefore have never had anything intelligent or meaningful to contribute to discussions on GNI !!  Without exception, every statement that you have made is rubbish so I am again suggesting that you devote your time and energy to your job of washing and cleaning toilets for the US army. You are unquestionably a seriously intellectually handicapped person so please do everyone a favour and stop posting your trash on this board ! Get lost with your 'brown South Asian' rubbish and other racist/ignoramus repititions ! You are a racist and an idiot !!

Keffer unlike you Prashad is proud of his roots. Prashad is of mixed race. East Indian, African, Polynesian and Chinese. Nevertheless Prashad is 100 percent proud of his Indo -Aryan and Dravidian roots. You on the other hand is racist against your own race and is trying to adopt another peoples identity. Not only are you a dumb brown fool but also a sameless sucker. 

Prashad posted:

Keffer unlike you Prashad is proud of his roots. Prashad is of mixed race. East Indian, African, Polynesian and Chinese. Nevertheless Prashad is 100 percent proud of his Indo -Aryan and Dravidian roots. You on the other hand is racist against your own race and is trying to adopt another peoples identity. Not only are you a dumb brown fool but also a sameless sucker. 

You are an ignoramus and a racist idiot who is quite evidently suffering from an enormous self-confidence crisis which is probably triggered by your routine as kitchen helper and toilet cleaner ! I suggest you seek the services of a psychiatrist; hopefully he/she will be able to help you in alleviating your achievement/identity crisis. Until then ...STOP POSTING RUBBISH !! Aryans and Dravidians were two distinctly different and separate people, you idiot !!  

Keffer posted:
Prashad posted:

keffer when I come to see you, see if you can get a box of Arabian sweets for me. I like them.

You cannot come to see me because, one look at you and you will be booted out !! 

Keefer if I wanted to hear from a brown a**hole I would have farted!

Prashad posted:

Keffer I have to stop this back and forth here now because I don't want to get in trouble with the administration. We can carry it on by Pm. 

There is no back and forth ... you are an unmitigated idiot and you continue to post rubbish based on your severely limited and racist mentality ! Get the hell off the board and stick  to your profession of washing army toilets ! 

Prashad posted:

Keffer at least I have an identity Indo Aryan and Dravidian but you are a brown ediot who is racist against his true identity.

What identity ? You do not know your ass from your elbow ! You cannot even speak or write proper English but you keep hollering that you are Indian/Dravidian.... despite the fact that you do not know shit about anything ! Shut your yap and get the hell out of here .... your mission in life is to wash toilets !

Keffer I am not going to get ban by the administration because of your crazy behind. If you have issues with me then you Pm me. Before I go I have one thing to say. It is better to wash toilet for a living than to be the man who does beg the man, who does wash toilet for a living, for his money so as to buy dry goods. Which is what you do for a living. You beg the man who does wash toilet for a living for his money. So cheers you old goat. See you later alligator.

Prashad posted:

Keffer I am not going to get ban by the administration because of your crazy behind. If you have issues with me then you Pm me. Before I go I have one thing to say. It is better to wash toilet for a living than to be the man who does beg the man, who does wash toilet for a living, for his money so as to buy dry goods. Which is what you do for a living. You beg the man who does wash toilet for a living for his money. So cheers you old goat. See you later alligator.

You are such an ass; you just confirmed your ignorance and stupidity without even realizing it !! Go back to your toilet cleaning job, you idiot !!

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