Ft. McMurray teacher spurs problem solving

Abbi Easton

Abbi Easton

June 13, 2016
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Abbi Easton, a Grade 9 teacher at Holy Trinity High School in Fort McMurray, is a tech-savvy educator who likes to present things in ways that are meaningful to her students.

"I want to teach my kids to be problem-solvers in life; that's the most important thing for me and I always say to my kids: 'I don't really care how you get to an answer; I just want you to get to the answer.'"

Students can use the Internet or talk to a friend to find the answer, Easton said in a telephone interview. "As long as you understand, and you can problem-solve to get there then you'll come out a winner at the end."

She transitioned from teaching Grade 1 to Grade 9 three years ago, bringing along techniques to engage teens and guide their learning.

"I went to Grade 9 with the mentality that they are still kids, and they still want to have that engagement with their teacher; they want to feel like their teacher values their opinion," Easton explained.

Easton is available to her students 24/7 with technology. "They can email me anytime. Some of them will send me tweets but mostly emails. I just make myself really accessible to my kids as well as their parents."

Easton teaches math and science and likes to do a lot of projects "where students are creating new ideas and where they are really engaging and learning."

She goes out of her way to mentor both students and colleagues and never backs down from a challenge.

One time she brought an electrician to class.

"It was fantastic because he sat there with the kids, and he would go through the projects with them. He was able to help them problem-solve in areas where they had weaknesses."

The electrician also explained things in lay terms to Easton, who then felt "so much more prepared to work with the kids on the project."

Easton spearheaded the introduction of interactive whiteboards to the school and showed her colleagues how to use them effectively. She developed more than 300 interactive whiteboard lessons which she shared with teachers across the school district.

"It's fantastic that the teachers have access to this fantastic technology that really allows teachers to engage their learners."