Patricia Evans has a way with her Grade 1 students, and their parents - and really, everyone at Margaret Stenersen Elementary, the Abbotsford school where she teaches.
Now her winning ways have been recognized nationally with a certificate of achievement, bestowed on her through the Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence.
"She represents all the great things teachers contribute and how positively they can affect their students. Parents are thrilled she's being recognized," said her principal, Anna Lisa Osterby-Batryn.
Appropriately, the news got out to parents and her colleagues at Margaret Stenersen on Friday (Oct. 5), which is also World Teacher Day.
A teacher for about 20 years, most of them at Margaret Stenersen, Evans goes far beyond her classroom duties to support her young charges, said Osterby-Batryn.
Just one example: when one of her young students was diagnosed with cancer last year, Evans helped out the family with practical and emotional support, even driving to B.C. Children's Hospital and organizing a fundraiser.
"And even though the child isn't in her classroom anymore, she still supports the family. She did the same thing 10 years ago, with another child who was diagnosed with cancer," said Osterby-Batryn.
But Evans' dedication and selflessness is also evident in her day-to-day interactions with each one of her students, she added.
"She encouraged all her Grade 1 students to write [journals] through the summer. Every one of her 22 students did that, and although they've all gone on to other classrooms, they all got together at the beginning of the year for a pizza party," she said.
Evans got her start teaching in New York, with a specialty in autism and special education - she has even taught her classes sign language, which made youngsters with special needs and even ESL kids feel more comfortable and better able to communicate with their peers.
In her award profile, her nominees note that "by listening to parents and getting them more involved, Evans adapts her lessons to suit every learner."
At the end of each year, Evans holds an award ceremony "that is one of the proudest moments in the lives of her students," they wrote.
Evans ensures at least one parent or family member is there for each child as she recounts the events of the year.
It's clear to everyone that every story has been carefully thought through and parents are reminded of how their child has grown in a way that is special and unique, said the nominees.
"Patti really works hard to bring out the best in each student. She really has dedicated her life to her students," said Osterby-Batryn.
The Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence are given yearly to teachers who are recognized to instill a love of learning in their students that will help them to excel in their future endeavours.
Certificates of excellence are awarded nationally to the 15 top-ranked teachers, with a cash prize of $5,000.
The next 50 top-ranked nominees each receive a certificate of achievement, which carries a $1,000 cash prize. The financial awards go to the recipient's school to be spent under the recipient's direction.
Evans definitely deserves her recognition, said Osterby-Batryn.
"For us it's a really big deal. The parents are thrilled she's being recognized. To have one of our staff recognized as an exceptional teacher, that has a very positive impact," she said.