Calvin D. Van Eek: caring, compassionate and dedicated to student success

Year: 2019 – Province: Ontario

Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Calvin D. Van Eek

Human Development, World Cultures, Personal Life Management, Philosophy, Working with Infants
and Young Children, grades 11 and 12
Waterloo Oxford District Secondary School, Baden, Ontario

"[Mr. Van Eek places] everyone on the same level of respect and importance in the classroom. He does not hold himself at a higher level, and believes that we the students also have potential. He genuinely listens and appreciates our opinions."  — Student


Towering over his students, Calvin Van Eek is a gentle giant, known for his caring, compassion and dedication to student success, and for energizing and engaging classes. Beginning his teaching career in the federal corrections system, he is the long-time head of his school's family studies department.

Teaching approach

Calvin is thoughtful listener, who tries to develop the same skill in his students. With a background in psychology, he works to understand where his students are coming from and to support them in a positive manner.

In the classroom

  • Integrates technology in a variety of ways: students dictate class notes using Google Read and Write, and explore the development of language by examining and discussing artificial intelligence voices; students learning to care for children analyze the data collected by an infant simulator.
  • Incorporates cross-curricular teaching into social science classes: for example, he uses real sheep brains when introducing brain structure and development; students create posters of critical human growth periods to ground them in the basics of growth and reproduction.
  • Prioritizes students' mental health, not scheduling tests on the same days as other teachers and being flexible with due dates; works closely with guidance counsellors and others to support students who are struggling and, in fact, became a guidance counsellor himself for two years.

Outstanding achievements

  • Chairs the school board's family studies subject matter association, helping colleagues enhance assessment and evaluation for courses in this area.
  • Active participant in the school community, running a hand-drumming club, coaching the alpine ski team, catering fundraisers and helping run the annual feast the school puts on for 200 seniors.
  • Facilitates professional development sessions on, for example, using new digital tools in teaching and evaluation, and on supporting student mental health initiatives.
  • Has acted as a mentor in the New Teacher Induction Program.

Get in touch!

Waterloo Oxford District Secondary School
1206 Snyder's Road West
Baden ON N3A 1A4
519-634-5441
carolyn_salonen@wrdsb.ca
https://wod.wrdsb.ca/
Twitter: @WOCarpeDiem

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