Teacher Amy McIntyre was awarded this year’s Excellence in Catholic Education Award. Amy is a faith leader both in her school and community. She provides exemplary work in her role as Faith Coordinator at St. Andrew’s School in High Prairie, is an active member of St. Paul’s Parish, and is a member of the Archdiocesan Youth Committee.
The Excellence in Catholic Education Award is annually given to a certified Catholic teacher who has done an exemplary job in preparing our youth to grow into strong Catholic citizens. The award winner must be passionate about Catholic education and the students they teach, inspire their students, and demonstrate commitment to Catholic education and teaching excellence.
We asked Amy some questions in reaction to winning this prestigious award.
Q: How does it feel to be recognized for the Excellence in Catholic Education Award?
I am truly honored to be recognized for this award. It is certainly not anything I ever expected. I have been blessed to work with great educators all across the country and want to thank each and every one of them. My relationship with each of them has helped shape me as an educator.
Q: Tell us about your background in coming to be a teacher in Catholic education.
I was raised by a strong Catholic family. I would often attend mass on Saturday evening with my grandparents so that I could be an altar server and then attend again on Sunday mornings to be part of the children’s choir. The church was the ‘heart’ of the community where I was raised. I was also part of an active youth group where many lifelong friendships were formed. When I was presented with an opportunity to teach in a Catholic School setting I jumped at the chance to work in an environment that focuses on the whole individual and in supporting their faith formation.
Q: What is it you love most about teaching?
There are so many great things about teaching, but I’d have to say that the thing I love most is the connections that I am able to make with students and their caregivers. My current teaching role is the interventions teacher for grades 1 through 3 at St. Andrew’s School, where I work with a small group of students at a time on a specific learning goal. We get to know each other quite well and the students are so proud to tell me about what they did on the weekend or something exciting happening in their lives. I love when the students rush up to see me outside of the school and tell me about their day.
Q: How does your Catholic faith influence your teaching?
I enjoy sharing my personal experiences with the students. During preparation classes for Sacraments, I am able to show the students pictures of my First Communion or speak about why I choose my sponsor for my Confirmation. These talks help the students connect with their personal journeys.
I am often reminded of a professional development I once attended where the presenter asked a simple question: “What if that child in front of you was Jesus? How would you treat them?” This has not only shaped my perspective on how I treat my students but how I treat people in general.
Q: What do you think are the greatest challenges facing teachers in Catholic education today?
I think all teachers, not just Catholics, are seeing a number of increasing challenges today. The education system has changed over my time in the profession. Classrooms are becoming increasingly complex in student needs. However, I think first and foremost we are seeing an increase in needs for mental wellness and health support which concerns me most.