New Teacher Recognized for Excellence

Elementary School Teacher Proves Success Comes With Passion

By: Lexi Wright

Every new teacher knows their next few years are going to be challenging, but despite the challenges Joel Carroll has faced as a first year teacher at École Oriole Park Elementary, his efforts have not gone unnoticed.

The Edwin Parr Teacher Award honors outstanding beginning teachers who have gone out of their way to bring the very best to their students everyday. Carroll was the 2017 nominee for Red Deer Public Schools, a confirmation that he was fulfilling his life’s purpose.

“You know, I had no clue the award even existed and for me, it was real confirmation that I'm doing what I'm meant to do. I feel like what I'm doing in the classroom is just part of my nature - I don't feel like I'm trying to be someone else”, says Carroll.

Growing up in Edmonton, Carroll had the opportunity to attend Red Deer College where he played basketball on a scholarship. After falling in love with the community and quaint city vibe of Red Deer, he decided to pursue a teaching career after discovering his passion for working with children.

“Looking back at my past experiences, it was continually the chance to work with kids, whether it was at camps or running sports camps. It made me feel like I was living my life with purpose”, says Carroll.

Although the award has been a huge honour for Carroll, being a new teacher has not always proved a simple task.

“I've pushed myself in terms of how to deal with certain situations, certain behaviours, and certain personalities. That, on top of the workload of just planning and being prepared everyday for the curriculum. You can be as prepared as you like out of college, but you have to be in the environment to really understand it”. says Carroll.

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Carroll had his Grade Four students working on a social studies project about Indigenous stories. The students carved their own personal stories into stones made out of flour, salt and water.

Carroll’s achievements as a teacher have been recognized by many of the staff members at École Oriole Park, including Vice Principal Everett Tetz.

“Joel was also instrumental in transitioning a student back to school after a tragic loss in his family. Joel’s caring attitude and empathetic approach created a safe and caring environment when a student needed it the most”, states Tetz.

Part of Carroll’s teaching style stems from his creative and passionate personality. Although he isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel, Carroll has added his own flare to the education curriculum.

“Often I build off of ideas. I like to make things my own - I feel like I do better at it. But the staff here have been wonderful at sharing ideas and lessons and units.”

Carroll hopes to continue teaching grade four as he progresses as a teacher, and is thankful he gets to provide valuable support for his students.

“I think this award means that I've found the place that I belong, and I truly care about kids - no matter where they come from. I think that all kids deserve a fair chance in learning and I want to do my best to provide that”.