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Education & Learning

Prairie Rose Public Schools announces Brooklyn Burzminski as the 2024 Edwin Parr nominee

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Brooklyn Burzminski teaches science and English at Eagle Butte High School. She completed a degree in pharmacology prior to completing her education degree. In her first year of teaching, she feels this is her perfect job. Students are excelling in her classes due to Burzminski's teaching style and caring manner.

Prairie Rose Public Schools announces Brooklyn Burzminski as the 2024 Edwin Parr nominee
March 20, 2024

The 2024 Edwin Parr nominee for Prairie Rose Public Schools (PRPS) is Brooklyn Burzminski, who currently teaches at Eagle Butte High School. She feels honoured to be the nominee for PRPS and says it makes her want to do more and work harder at her job.

“I like what I am doing so much, which is potentially making a difference and I want to keep expanding and hopefully live up to the nomination,” stated Burzminski.

Teaching wasn’t a career choice Burzminski had considered and during high school contemplated either a science or English degree. She took science as there seemed to be more career options available, starting at the University of Saskatchewan before transferring to the University of Alberta (UofA) to complete her pharmacology degree. Career choices were primarily in research, which Burzminski felt wasn’t a good fit as it would be isolating. Remaining in Edmonton long term wasn’t ideal either as she wanted to move back to Medicine Hat to be close to her family.

While working for a year in healthcare and at an auction house, she considered her options and settled on an education degree after someone recommended it. After exploring this path further, Burzminski realized it was the perfect fit. She decided to remain at UofA for two more years to obtain her degree in education and appreciated how her chemistry transferred along with all her English classes, which she minored in.

Landing the job at Eagle Butte High School has been ideal as she gets to teach Science as well as English classes. Last semester she taught Chem 20 and English 10-1 and this semester she is teaching Chem 30 and Science 10. Initially, she was stressed about her first year of teaching as she’d been told how crazy it would be.

“I’ve had an awesome experience, in part because of where I am and I am teaching the perfect job right now. It is exactly what I could have asked for, which I didn’t expect for my first year. All the students have been amazing and I like the work I am doing,” said Burzminski. “I’m working long hours, I come early and stay late because I am a perfectionist, but I enjoy what I am doing and don’t feel like it’s draining on me.”

She’s putting in extra hours to ensure her lesson plans are the best she can make them and to be certain she knows how to teach the material, particularly for Chem 30. Her goal is to make the lessons interactive and find fun activities the students want to do, rather than only discussing what is on the board and giving worksheets to complete.

Additionally, Burzminski attempts to add in cross-curricular lessons between her English and my Science classes, such as reading comprehension strategies in chemistry. Her goal is to make school more relevant and easier to understand for students and to help them understand how material transfers from one subject to another.

In the first semester, Burzminski helped with the Eagle Butte cross-country team and plans to continue her extra-curricular involvement this spring with track and field. “It’s a different experience to be involved with those sports and the school activities,” stated Burzminski. “All of it is fun, so it doesn’t feel like you are being forced to stay when the kids are here.”

Grade 10 student Talayna Miller was in Burzminski’s English 10 class last semester and is taking her Science 10 class this semester. “She is a caring teacher and thinks about all her students,” said Miller. She’s really amazing and thorough with the material, so she doesn’t just give what is there. She goes beyond and explains it, so we have a good understanding.”

Grade 12 students Kelsie Pleau-Stewart and Samantha Lentz are both in Chem 30 with Burzminski. All three students talked about how understanding Burzminski is and that she not only cares how students are doing in her class, but also outside of school. They also mentioned her availability for students, including before and after school, and during Tag and her prep period.

“Whenever a class is missed, I can go back in and she’ll teach a mini lesson and be open to questions,” explained Pleau-Stewart. “She is open to giving us time to work on our assignments in class and offers help if needed and gives us direction if we are doing something wrong. Right now, I have an 83% in the class, normally I’m around the 60% area, so this is a big upgrade for me.” Pleau-Stewart is planning to go to Lakeland College to become a veterinary technician after graduating from high school.

Samantha Lentz, who intends to pursue her post-secondary nursing education in Lethbridge after graduating, feels having Burzminski as a teacher is why she is doing so well in Chem 30.

“I’m sitting with an 87% right now, which I think is great and I have a higher grade now than what I finished Chem 20 with,” stated Lentz. “I like her as a teacher, she cares about each of her students mentally and physically. If you are having problems outside of school, she is always there for you. She is such a welcoming teacher and is easy to talk to.”

What is key for Lentz is that when she asks questions, Burzminski doesn’t make her feel inadequate and is always non-judgmental. Additionally, each week Burzminski provides old Chem 30 diploma exam questions for the students to attempt. “It’s for us to get a better understanding of what the Chem 30 diploma questions might look like this year, which I find awesome because I struggle with writing diploma exams, so having a small understanding of what diploma questions look like make it so much better,” concluded Lentz.

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