Maegan McCart-Sophomore-March 22, 2017
A teacher from the Canadian Arctic was recently named as the winner of the annual Global Teacher Prize. Maggie MacDonnell, who teaches at a remote village school, spoke at the award ceremony about the
problem of youth suicides in the Inuit community. The winner was announced by a
video-link with astronauts on the International Space Station. She was congratulated by Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau”she is shaping the future”, Trudeau reported “You chose to teach at the Ikusik school in Salluit, a remote village in the Canadian Arctic.”
“There are no roads to Salluit – it is only accessible by air and it gets cold, really cold, -20 celsius this time of year,” said Mr. Trudeau.
“I’d like to say thank you to every teacher out there.”
She has taught for the past six years in the Inuit village of Salluit, Québec, in the Canadian Arctic, According to Ms. MacDonnel’s biography, this area has a high rate of suicide. Ms. MacDonnell has worked hard to improve the health and opportunities of an isolated community of young Inuit people who have faced deprivation. She reported the impact these high rates of youth suicide have on the community. She described how it felt to be a teacher after the suicide of a student.
“As a teacher, when I come to school the morning after, there is an empty desk in that classroom. There is stillness and silence,” she told the award ceremony. MacDonnell said she has witnessed over 10 suicides. “Thank you for bringing global attention to them,” she added. The memories of such deaths have impacted her tremendously. This prize was very important to her. She felt the prize would cast a light on the problem.
“I didn’t know until I came to Salluit that that was a Canadian reality,” she mentioned. The 1 million dollars prize for teaching excellence was announced at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai.
The prize is aimed to raise the status of teaching, using a show-business style ceremony with glamour and famous names.
- The Guardian