Average Comp student hits stride as teacher
Education: Drew Hoover a nominee for the Edwin Parr Award
Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 06:00 am
It takes one to know one.
The Foothills School Division’s nominee for the Edwin Parr Award knows all about that students who might get a ‘fails to work to his full potential’ comment on their report card.
Nominee Drew Hoover, a teacher at High River’s Senator Riley Middle School, was a bit that way while roaming the halls at Foothills Composite High School.
“I see myself in a lot of students,” said Drew Hoover, a 2008 Foothills Composite grad. “They like being at school for the social aspect, but they haven’t found themselves in acquiring knowledge – struggling to navigate their way through school.
“These are kids I definitely know can succeed.”
The Edwin Parr Award is in recognition of outstanding first-year teachers.
He credits Comp’s Social Studies teacher Myles Foster and then Foothills science teacher Scott Carey (now principal at Big Rock School) as his mentors and starting that spark to teach.
“Myles Foster, who is still there, is one of the biggest reasons I wanted to become a teacher,” Hoover said. “I didn’t go to high school with a lot of fervor, but he was able to connect — it (the connections between students) was something I was going to aspire to if I ever did become a teacher.”
Foster isn’t surprised about Hoover’s success. Hoover might not have been an A student, but he was a Grade A person in the classroom.
“One of Drew’s greatest strengths was his ability to relate to different types of people,” Foster said. “I just remember him having such a positive spirit in my classroom. Nothing got him down and he was always willing and ready to help when needed.
“He was able to carry that positive spirit beyond the classroom.”
Foster said he also isn’t surprised that Hoover is a teacher.
“He knows this (teaching) is a great way to work with other people and he sees the value in it,” Foster said.
It just took a while for Hoover’s teaching spark to catch fire.
“I come from a family of teachers and I think I always knew I wanted to be a teacher but I didn’t decide until I was 23,” the 27-year-old Hoover said. “It took me a longer route, I took some time off, travelled, didn’t get back to academics until I was about 20… I definitely took some time to find my own way.”
He also had to put in the work.
“My average might have been the low 60s, if not below 60 per cent (at Foothills),” Hoover said. “I had to go back to upgrade at Mount Royal, to get a high enough GPA to go into post-secondary.”
It also took him a few years to qualify for the education faculty at the University of Lethbridge, arguably the top education school in the province.
Hoover has turned into a jack of all trades at Senator Riley.
“I teach all grades, but I am a generalist,” he said. “Social, Science, Math, some food classes, some gym classes. We are a small school, so you can’t really specialize. I love it… I am where I am supposed to be.
“We have an excellent team out here, and I love the kids. It’s great.”
Hoover was a bit stunned to receive the nomination.
“I was humbled,” Hoover said. “It kind of validates what I am doing in my approach to instruction and it reciprocates and validates where the Foothills School Division is developing young teachers.”
Hoover said the emphasis is on relationship and human-centred focuses in the division.
“I’m a relationship guy with these kids – I get them and I connect with them… I will put the hammer down on them and we get the work done.
Hoover can ask a former classmate about the Edwin Parr procedure. His fellow 2008 Comp alumnus, Katlin Strand, was the provincial recipient two years ago.
“We graduated together – we go back as far as Big Rock together,” Hoover said.
Strand, a teacher at Big Rock School, was there when Hoover went back to the elementary school for a practicum as a student teacher.
“She was a few years ahead of me in terms of education and we have been acquaintances for 19 years now,” Hoover said. “She was someone I spoke to and got advice from when I was at Big Rock.”