Local teacher has chance to win spot at 2014 MLB All-Stars Game
By: Allison Chorney
| Posted: Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 10:13 am
Ralph McCall Grade 6 teacher Brian Jackson is much-loved by students.
He has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence not once but twice, won the Right Stuff Award from the U.S. Space and Rocket Centre and was the first international teacher to win the AIAA Educator of the Year. Now he is a finalist for one of the first All-Star Teacher awards from Target, People magazine and Major League Baseball (MLB).
“I’m humbled,” Jackson said of the nomination. “I’m truly humbled. You never go into teaching for the awards or recognition, or some days even the thanks. I’m really flattered that I’ve made an impression for somebody to go out of their way and nominate me.”
A student who asked to remain anonymous nominated Jackson for the award, which recognizes outstanding teachers who help kids and make learning fun.
“It’s kind of cool when it comes from a student,” Jackson said.
Thousands of nominated teachers were narrowed down to just three finalists for each MLB team.
Jackson, who has a love for science, is among three teachers who have made it as finalists to represent the Toronto Blue Jays at the 2014 All-Star Game in Minnesota on July 15.
If Jackson wins, he will have the opportunity to attend the game and be recognized there for his contribution to teaching. One of the 30 award recipients will also be featured in People magazine.
“I’m just like a little kid,” he said of the excitement he’s feeling.
Jackson’s love of teaching is obvious as he speaks about his career.
“The thing that challenges me the most is I get to reach out to kids so they get it, they take it home and they remember it,” he said. “It’s my responsibility, it’s what I’m supposed to do, to try and find ways to make learning meaningful for the kids.”
He said though he works hard to make learning fun and meaningful, he is not alone in this endeavor as he has the support and encouragement from not only his colleagues at Rocky View Schools but around North America, thanks to online groups he’s involved in.
“It’s not easy to find new ideas but it’s so worth it (when you do),” he said.
He also credits his family for their amazing support and understanding.
“This is my 23rd year and my ninth here at Ralph McCall. Years ago, I looked at what I was doing and really I wasn’t a really good teacher – I was just teaching out of the textbook. I decided then to do whatever I had to, to make it fun (for the kids),” he said.
“The thing I love most about what I do is I get to be a kid, I get to play.”
As part of making it to the finals, Jackson will enjoy an all-expenses paid trip to Toronto with his father to watch a game against the New York Yankees. At the game the Jays will recognize Jackson on the field.
“The Blue Jay fan inside of me is just beside myself,” he said. “I got my fanhood from my dad. We’ve always been Jays fans for as long as I can remember.”
He will find out on July 1 if he is selected as the winning teacher to represent the Jays at the All-Star Game.
Eighty per cent of the decision is determined by the how the teacher’s have helped students, how they’ve made learning fun and the awards and recognition they have received during their teaching career.
The remaining 20 per cent is determine through online votes, open now until June 29, voting at mlb.mlb.com/allstar-teachers
To vote for Jackson visit mlb.mlb.com/allstar-teachers and select the Toronto Blue Jays, then select Jackson.
“I’m just so thrilled to be recognized this way, to be a teacher in Rocky View and to do what I feel I was meant to do,” Jackson said. “If I win, that’s just icing on the cake.”