TREENA MIELKE/Rimbey Review
Tia Grahn discovered her love of teaching when she began setting up activities for her oldest son, Jesse, when he was still a toddler.
“I loved it and at that time I decided that what I really wanted to be was a teacher,” she said.
Her career choice proved to be a wise one.
Grahn, who teaches Grade 6 at Rimbey Elementary School, received the 2011 Zone 4 Edwin Parr Award for outstanding first year teachers.
The award recognizes teachers, new to the profession, who show significant promise in their first year.
It is a prestigious award and one that Grahn is honored and excited to receive.
“Honestly, teaching is a reward itself and I am so happy that I chose this profession. There were so many great nominees that were all equally deserving of this award. I was very surprised when they called my name. I was overjoyed to be recognized and it was so great to have my principal and vice principal and my family all there.”
Grahn graduated from Red Deer College in 2010 with her teaching degree. She began teaching at Rimbey Elementary at the beginning of the school year and has never looked back. She finds the job to be rewarding and challenging.
“It doesn’t feel like work,” she said. “I have so many ideas running around my head, I keep a notebook beside my bed so I can jot down ideas.”
Grahn has integrated project based learning into her classroom with positive results.
“This type of learning is based on their individual style of learning and the students take learning into their own hands. I give them the choice of how they would like to learn and give them the outcomes.”
Grahn explained that some students learn through a visual process such as creating a play or skit, some do research and some learn best through other methods.
“The neat part is that we focus on their strengths. Some do not learn while sitting in their desk, and I try to figure out a better way.”
She also encourages the students to build on their weaknesses by working on a project in a way that challenges them.
Helping her students learn through new and innovative ways is a challenge Grahn continues to explore.
“I love it. It doesn’t get old. It’s always new and different every day.”
Rimbey Elementary School Principal Jodi Bramfield said Grahn has a natural ability to understand her students and has made a difference in each of their lives.
“Tia has a passion for teaching that is evident from the moment you walk into her class and see her interacting with her students. She has a calm and caring nature that has resulted in a classroom environment where all students know they are respected and cared for.”
“What makes her unique is her ability to create a learning environment that targets and build on the strengths of all her students. She goes the extra mile to get to know her students personally and her classroom is a positive, warm learning communities,” added Wolf Creek Public Schools assistant superintendent Jayson Lovell.
Grahn received her award May 30 at a special awards ceremony in Red Deer.
She will also be recognized at the Alberta School Boards’ Association’s fall convention.
Rimbey Elementary School is a kindergarten to Grade 6 school with approximately 355 students.