What the nominator said:
Mrs. Gaylene Mackay exemplifies the caring and committed teacher. She spends her time diversifying programs for her English-as-a-Second-Language students and making sure they have every opportunity to be successful in our school and community. Each year, she organizes a potluck dinner where families bring food from their culture. This dinner allows students and their families the chance to spend time getting to know one another, hear about the supports that our school can provide, and enjoy the fellowship afforded by sharing delicious food.
“The world lives at Lindsay Thurber” is a saying that we have on the wall of our school. Mrs. Mackay has helped bring this to life by organizing various student-led events which enable our 1,600 students to appreciate the diversity of our school and reflect upon the importance of this in our society.
Finally, Mrs. Mackay often acts as a conduit between her ESL students and their families and outside agencies, ensuring that her kids get access to medical and other community supports. This is above and beyond the call of a teacher’s duty but, then again, that is Mrs. Mackay.
What was your proudest teaching moment?:
Each year on graduation day, I am very proud to watch my students cross the graduation stage, especially those who arrived in high school with limited English and having had limited previous education.
If you could have any person, dead or alive, fictional or real, come in and speak with your class, who would that be? Why?:
I would choose Malala Yousafzai. We often speak about her in class because of her amazing determination to fight so strongly for what she believes. Her appreciation of the value of education is extremely inspirational.