Recipient: Nicholas Maes
Number of years teaching: 10
School: CHAT - Richmond Hill Campus
Inspiration/Motivation for being a Teacher of Excellence:
Nicholas is inspired by history. He finds it very important for himself and others. He doesn’t often feel like he is teaching, rather that he is communicating to other human beings about the journey of humankind. He sees his students as fresh and curious. They don’t disguise a “WOW experience” which is very heartening.
Nicholas is motivated to keep teaching when his students make connections between history and their life-- when they make what is being discussed personal. He always assumes that he is dealing with adults. He tries to put to one side the complications of adolescents and focus on the topic. He says, “I won’t speak down, I will respect them and I will expect the best from them.”
Nicholas’ nomination came from one of his students. Leora wrote:
Dr. Maes has got to be one of the smartest, if not the smartest, person I have ever had a conversation with. What makes Dr. Maes excellent? There are so many things: his insanely vast knowledge, the relaxed and always encouraging environment in his classroom, his sense of humour, his modesty, his amazing flexibility, bending over backward to help his students and finally and perhaps most importantly, his dedication to, and passion for, what he teaches. Dr. Maes’ passion for history shines through every lesson and he makes us feel it too. In fact, Dr. Maes has been such a catalyst for my interest in history that I plan on spending the summer after high school on an archeological dig and perhaps pursuing the subject further.
The thing about Dr. Maes is even though he is so knowledgable, he genuinely respects our relatively uneducated opinions. At the end of a comment or presentation, when Dr. Maes comes up to you, and he always does, to tell you you’ve done a great job, suddenly you really feel as though you have and you feel honoured that someone like him agrees. Dr. Maes deserves to feel honoured too, and that is why he deserves this award.