Teacher Education graduates honoured for excellence

Three Brock University teacher candidate graduates have been honoured with awards from Ontario teacher federations.

Timothy Hewitson and Johan Kromhout received the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) Faculty of Education Award, and Ivy Allen received the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation Faculty of Education Award. All three are graduating from the Consecutive Teacher Education program.

“It’s surprising and extremely humbling,” said Hewitson. “Receiving this award validates that I’ve chosen the right career as an outlet to be an agent of change.”

He is also the recipient of the Dean’s Medal for Education for exhibiting academic and professional excellence in the Teacher Education Program.

Hewitson was inspired to become an educator by his Grade 6 teacher who helped him adjust to a new school and get excited about learning after overcoming personal obstacles. He returned to volunteer in the same teacher’s classroom many times throughout his time as a student, including when he was in high school.

Hewitson received his bachelor of applied science at McMaster University and chose to complete his bachelor of education at Brock because of the Faculty’s reputation among his mentors.

“Brock has been a fantastic experience,” he said. “The rigour of the coursework, the rich collaborative experiences, the supports have all been top tier.”

As a new Brock graduate, Hewitson will be working with the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board as an occasional teacher.

Kromhout, who spent eight years teaching English in Taiwan before returning to Canada to earn his bachelor’s degree, will be returning to Taiwan to teach in an international elementary school.

“So much enjoyment came from teaching and that’s when I knew it wasn’t just a job anymore — it was a vocation,” said Kromhout.

Returning to Canada to complete his undergraduate degree allowed him to advance his career and introduce his wife and two young children to Canadian culture. He grew up in the Niagara region and was familiar with the University’s and Faculty’s reputation.

The move was a significant undertaking for the young family, with Kromhout’s wife facing health challenges and Kromhout working full-time in construction while pursuing his degree. This meant balancing a demanding program with volunteering and family life.

Kromhout has volunteered with Scouts Canada, teacher candidate organizations and at Makerspace events run by the Faculty of Education’s Instructional Resource Centres.

“Being awarded the ETFO Faculty of Education Award is a tremendous honour,” said Kromhout. “I feel that it validates the hard work and sacrifices made by my family as they supported me through this program, and also as I worked to advocate for students at Brock through the Teacher Candidate Liaison Council.”

He also advocated for students on a provincial level as a founding member and executive communications officer of the Ontario Teacher Candidates’ Council.

Volunteering with teacher candidate organizations was a significant part of Allen’s experience in the program as well. She sat on Brock’s Teacher Education Liaison Committee, which serves as the primary liaison between the Ontario Teachers’ Federation.

“I was very happy to be able to get back into volunteering through my work on the TELC at Brock,” she said. “It inspired me to continue my community involvement throughout my teaching career. I was honoured to receive the OSSTF award for this work and was thankful for the consideration from the awards committee.”

Allen appreciated being able to learn more about the teacher education program, Ontario’s teacher federations through her involvement with the TELC. A love of learning inspired Allen to become a teacher, which she hopes to share with her future students.

“I have always loved to learn and the excitement that comes with learning new things,” she said. “I love watching others learn and experience the excitement that comes with exploring new topics and making new discoveries.”

Allen completed her undergraduate degree in Science at Brock before pursuing her bachelor of education. Her fellow teacher candidates were the highlight of her time at Brock.

“I was so encouraged by their passion for teaching and learned so much through our constant debates, conversations and group work,” said Allen, who has been hired as an occasional teacher with the District School Board of Niagara. “Their desire to be the most supportive and effective teachers was contagious.”

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