Recipient: Nicky Kagan
Number of years teaching: 25
School: Bnei Akiva School
Subject: Grade 10, 12 History and Grade 11 English
Inspiration/Motivation for being a Teacher of Excellence:
After finishing her first degree, Nicky worked in an office and knew it wasn’t for her. She finished a degree in teaching and has never looked back. She enjoys going to work because every day is new. She believes in forming relationships with her students which begins when students feel respected and fairly treated. Nicky acknowledges her students as people with ideas. She listens to them, shares humour with them and has learned not to take herself or her students too seriously.
Nicky says that she doesn’t consciously teach with excellence but learned early in life to do everything to the best of your abilities. She brings this into her teaching by knowing her subject, being well prepared and being flexible so that she can follow her student’s lead. If they spark a discussion, she loves to hear their point of view and knows then that they are able to apply their learning, not just the facts, to their lives.
Sarah, one of Nicky’s students, wrote this about Nicky:
Mrs. Kagan taught me Anthropology in Grade 11, and from the first time I walked into her classroom, I knew that being her student would be an exciting journey. Every lesson she taught was carefully planned, well thought out, and enjoyable.
Most people consider history to be “boring”, but those people don’t have Mrs. Kagan as a teacher. Honestly, I look forward to every class. She excites the students as she describes trends and recurring themes.
Mrs. Kagan has managed to find the perfect balance between being a teacher and a mentor. To her, they are one and the same. She is interested not only in providing us with textbook information but rather with developing us as people. It is hard to find a teacher who so superbly can do this. But Mrs. Kagan does.
Mrs. Kagan has impacted me in ways that I will always remember.