Teachers change lives every day

Mr. Woolgar, a one-in-a-million teacher

Author: Heather Tobin
Teacher's name: Greg Woolgar
Teacher's school: St. Matthew's Elementary

I wasn’t sure what to write so I thought just I’d go ahead and post the email I sent to Mr. Woolgar when I saw on the news that he’d won an award for teaching. It reminded me that I’d always wanted to let him know how much of an impact he’d had and how much I appreciated it.

I started in Mr. Woolgar’s class in sixth grade. I’d just moved from Ontario, didn’t know anyone, and was one of those kids who was shy to the point of teachers commenting on it in all my report cards. I’ve never forgotten how being a part of Mr. Woolgar’s class helped me start changing that. I eventually got my engineering degree at Memorial and a huge part of getting there was learning to get out of my shell. He was (is!) a one-in-a-million teacher who made all his students feel not just involved and engaged but seen and heard. So here’s the email:

Hi Mr. Woolgar,
I just read on CBC that you received the Prime Minister’s certificate of achievement. First and foremost, congratulations, you deserve it! But seeing your name reminded me that I’ve always wanted to thank you for being such a great teacher and there’s no time like the present.

I was in one of your 6th grade classes when you taught at St. Patrick’s in Bay Bulls. I had just moved to Newfoundland and was feeling pretty shy and overwhelmed. Being in your class was the best thing that could have happened to me. Drama class, acting out what we learned in social studies, competing for awards in story writing and assignments, and learning to play mancala!

I have such great memories from that year. I remember being impressed (maybe that’s not the right word, I was in 6th grade after all, but something like it anyhow) that you connected with students that other teachers might have gotten frustrated or angry with. We all adored you, and being part of your class gave me (and probably a lot of others) some much needed confidence at an age where that can be hard to come by. Anyway, thanks again, and keep doing what you’re doing. We may be ungrateful little tykes sometimes, but we don’t ever forget teachers like you


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