A typical day for Gavin Bowers might include setting up courses for track and field, using GPS devices to organize an Amazing Race competition for his students, marking Google Drive fitness logs and jumping (safely) off roofs while in costume.
Yes, he’s a creative physical education teacher at Glenlyon Norfolk Junior School, but that’s why this year he is one of the recipients of a Prime Minister’s Award for teaching excellence.
“To be singled out… there’s incredible staff here, so I feel incredibly lucky to be nominated by my principal,” Bowers said.
Bowers received a regional level certificate of achievement for his integration of technology in the classroom.
“I suppose it’s the balance of everything, really. How we can use technology with GPS, modern day phones, Fitbits and things like this,” Bowers said. “We’re constantly talking about technology and how we can integrate and use it to… push ourselves to lead a healthy lifestyle.”
He’s also known around the playground as the “Heart Hero,” a super hero alter-ego that promotes the Jump Rope For Heart campaign. Since the Hero came to town, GNS has raised over $120 thousand dollars for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
“I love dressing up and playing those parts, and having fun with the kids, because the kids love that sort of stuff,” he said with a smile.
|Gavin Bowers holds up part of his “Heart Hero” costume, used to promote the Jump Rope for Heart campaign. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS|
While Bowers was nominated by Principal Jean Bigelow, other staff members and students are also elated to work with him.
“He’s an amazing teacher!” said manager of the annual fund Mary Anne Marchildon in an email. “He taught my daughter in Junior school, and Maddy is almost 21 now!
“He resonates with the kids,” she added “It certainly resonated with me to see how he is now and all the activity he does.”
Bowers has one essential rule when it comes to his classes: have fun. He starts every day off with a game so that the kids start off on the right note before diving further into discussions and lessons on health.
Despite the fact that he’s now an award-winning teacher— and that he was recently promoted to deputy head of the junior school — he says none of that will change.
“My goal is to still do a lot of those events and activities to promote a healthy lifestyle.”
Bowers has been a teacher at Glenlyon Norfolk for 28 years, but he’s still excited for the future.
“I’ve loved every moment of it,” he said. “It’s been a wonderful journey so far.”