Alain McCann

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What the nominator said:

Mr. McCann is an exceptional and extraordinary teacher. He teaches music, English and geography and is the head teacher for the arts department. He is also a professional musician. Like a lot of teachers, he has a limited school budget for his own resources as well as for the arts department he oversees. Nonetheless, he manages to get us some music scores for a wide variety of music genres and for our different ensembles. But we need more. For example, our jazz band has no clarinets because we don’t have the scores for them to join. If we want to do a particular arrangement and don’t have all the music, it takes hours for him to score it for us (if he can fit it in with his heavy load of teaching responsibilities). The department he oversees includes a vibrant visual art department as well as dance and drama. They need all kinds of supplies—paint, brushes, plaster, canvases, countless types of paper, silk screen equipment, costumes, props… the list goes on. Our school is known for its arts. This is because he takes an interest in every student and fellow staff member and works hard to promote what they do. This grant would help this wonderful teacher who already does so much for us to be able to do more.

What was your proudest teaching moment?

Last year, I heard my name being called from across the aisle at a local grocery store. It was a former student, who was waving and smiling at me. The student thanked me over and over for helping him get on track and make better choices in life. When I asked what class he had taken with me, the student explained that he hadn’t but knew me from the school halls and daily conversations. Our job as teachers goes well beyond the classroom and this moment reminded me of that. I was very proud of the student and glad that I had, in some way, helped him to be successful.

If you win, how will you allocate the Teacher Awards prize money?:

I would purchase new instruments for our music program.