A Surrey high school teacher credited with infusing science with creativity and going above and beyond to see her students succeed has been given a Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.
Debbie Darling, a Grade 11 and 12 chemistry teacher, was announced as a recipient of a Certificate of Achievement on Wednesday. She was one of 13 teachers chosen in B.C. and one of 59 receiving a Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence nationwide.
“I am honoured, a little overwhelmed, and very humbled by this award,” said Darling. “There are so many dedicated and talented teachers at Tamanawis Secondary, and across British Columbia that never receive this type of recognition, but should.”
She said she was just fortunate to be surrounded by supportive colleagues and lucky to have been nominated by “a very special student,” Sunny Johal.
Intended to honour Canada’s outstanding and innovative teachers, the annual awards recognize elementary and secondary instructors who instill a love of learning in their students and use information and technology to better equip kids to meet future challenges.
Darling’s students and colleagues were clear in their praise of her efforts and impact.
“By having Ms. Darling as a teacher and mentor throughout my high school career, I went from being another apathetic student with a C- average to a top-ranked university student,” said one former student.
Her vice-principal called her “an exemplary educator” who will to do whatever necessary to see students succeed.
“She is the kind of teacher that I would want my own children to learn from,” the vice-principal said.
Darling is credited with introducing the first chemistry advanced placement course for her students, which has expanded to include calculus and world history. All of her students score so well that they become eligible for their first-year college/university credit and have won significant scholarships.
She was also noted for leading her students in designing an experiment that won a contest sponsored by the Canadian Space Agency. Darling also managed to have all her students participate in the Space Shuttle Challenge in Florida, where they got to watch their experimental design be launched into space.
The Certificate of Achievement awards are worth $1,000 and are given directly to the recipients to be used for professional development or equipment, resource materials, website development, teaching aids, or other tools to improve teaching and learning.