Teaching, a natural fit for Edwards
Courtney Edwards remembers the day that her teaching career beckoned. She was two years into her engineering studies when she woke up and realized that teaching high school was her calling.
“I’ve spent most of my life volunteering in a classroom setting, so it was a natural fit for me. I always felt great when I was teaching,” says the ninth recipient of the Joseph W. Atkinson Scholarship for Excellence in Teacher Education.
Edwards is a teacher candidate at the University of Ottawa with two engineering degrees from Carleton University and an unwavering commitment to community, both locally and globally. She is studying to become qualified in Intermediate and Senior division physics and math.
Edwards loves working with students and enjoys seeing their eyes light up with that I’ve-got-it moment. “That moment of mastery – it’s unmatched,” she says.
Edwards was considering a career in international development when she began her undergraduate degree. She was working extensively with Engineers Without Borders (EWB), where she came to see how important education in Canada can be in creating global citizens.
In university she was an education assistant for the environmental organization EcoSpark, where she assessed how to integrate environmental learning into existing high school curricula in Toronto.
With EWB she presented interactive workshops in Ottawa high schools and helped organize a youth conference. She also served as a member of the national EWB Youth Engagement Team and was later selected as the team leader. The team coaches 27 university representatives and works within the education system to equip and engage youth to take action against poverty.
From 2006–08 she developed the fourth-year university course, Technology and Society in International Development, at Carleton University. During her Master’s program she was a teaching assistant who was nominated for a university-wide teaching assistant award in 2011.
Of the many awards and honours that decorate Edwards’s resumé, it is the Carleton University Board of Governors’ 2009 Award for Outstanding Community Achievement that Edwards is most proud of. “Of any recognition I could strive for at the university level, commitment to my community is at the top,” she says.
Edwards brings to the classroom a genuine caring for students and an enthusiasm for learning. She’s also excited about math and is convinced that anyone can learn and enjoy the subject.
“Passion and excitement are important,” she says. “I remember from my own days in high school, it came across when teachers genuinely loved what they were doing. You knew they loved the subject. You knew they loved to teach. I think I have a bit of that, which I hope will continue to grow.”
The Ontario College of Teachers awards the Atkinson Scholarship annually in honour of the College’s second registrar. Teacher candidates must study at a faculty of education in Ontario and achieve outstanding academic success in their undergraduate studies while demonstrating a high level of preparedness for teacher education.