Winnipeg teacher wins GG Award

Do you remember a teacher who made a difference in your life?
Matt Henderson has won the 2013 Governor General's History Award for Excellence in Teaching. (Jen Baron)

Do you remember a teacher who made a difference in your life?

Matt Henderson does. And now he is a teacher at St. John's Ravenscourt. He's also the 2013 recipient of the Governor General's History Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The Governor General’s History Awards are administered by Canada’s History Society. They draw attention to the best Canadian achievements in the field of history and heritage.

Because of a Hat: Stories of Red River by Mr. Henderson's Canadian History Class 2012/13 (St. John's-Ravenscourt School)
Last year, Henderson took his grade eleven history class to the provincial archives to help them gain a better understanding of the experience of indigenous persons in Manitoba.

They learned about conducting research in archives, they wrote historical fiction based on what they discovered - they even published their own Idle No More textbook called Because of a Hat - Stories of Red River.

No doubt those students will remember their experience and their teacher. SCENE wanted to know if Henderson had a teacher who made a difference in his life:

"In high school I was not a very good student. I wasn't necessarily inspired by teachers which probably prompted me in a way to get into education later in my life.

There was one teacher however - my Grade 12 english teacher actually made me excited about literature. He made me excited about words, about language.

He cared about us. He demanded the most from us. (And rarely did we deliver.) But he treated us as adults. He was passionate. We could clearly see that he loved what he was talking about and it was one of those situations where you did not skip english class.

I felt like I was in a learning community. We would sit in circles and talk about literature. Even at that age, I could tell that this was how we were meant to learn - in collaboration, where we followed our curiousity about things - not with work sheets and memorization.

I think about the good and the bad experiences and that's how I try to base my teaching. How do I make experiences transformative for my students and how do I get them excited about what we're talking about?

So that Grade 12 english teacher was probably the turning point for me, at least educationally. And, he's still teaching today which is a good thing."

Hear Matt Henderson on Information with host Marcy Markusa on Wednesday October 23, after the 7:30 news.


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