York University Faculty of Education teacher candidate Kara Nagel was recently awarded the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) Intermediate/Senior Scholarship. The $2,000 scholarship is awarded to an Ontario teacher candidate in the intermediate/senior division who demonstrates a high level of preparedness for teacher education through examples of community involvement, background and life experiences.
Nagel was presented with the scholarship at the annual OCT Awards ceremony on March 1, where she had an opportunity to address her colleagues. During her comments, Nagel shared that her own educational experience included school refusal behaviour and dropping out of the regular school system to attend an alternative school called SALEP. She also spoke about living with post-traumatic stress disorder as both a student and educator, and how she uses tools to manage the disorder.
“Being able to talk about the importance of mental health and resilience for students and educators by speaking about my story to the council was life-changing,” said Nagel. “I would like to thank the educators who never gave up on me and encouraged me to be the best version of myself.”
Colleagues describe Nagel as a resilient and passionate educator of dramatic arts and French as a second language, who quickly builds strong rapport with her students by being open, honest and passionate about her lessons. She is known to create inclusive and safe environments for her students by incorporating student voice and choice, using preferred pronouns and teaching from an equitable lens.
“Kara was an exceptional student who learned to use drama as a teaching methodology to effectively and artistically explore issues of mental health and teaching,” said Course Director Kathleen Gould-Lundy. “Her work in applied theatre was exceptional, and she quickly grasped how performance inquiry can shine the light on research that matters. I am thrilled that she has been granted this award.”
Winning the award has enabled Nagel to attend more professional development opportunities and meet people from OCT. She participates in at least 20 hours of professional development each month, including the Ontario Modern Language Teachers Association (OMLTA), the Canadian Organization for Development through Education (CODE), Indspire, and French as a Second Language (FSL) chat on Twitter where she continues to learn, relearn and unlearn.
“The Ontario College of Teachers Scholarship Program recognizes and supports excellence in teacher education,” said College Council Chair Angela De Palma. “We are proud to acknowledge Kara’s achievements and the many hours she devoted to her community and teacher studies. We wish her continued success in her future teaching career.”