In this installment of TeachOntario Talks, we are profiling and celebrating the work of Victor Barker, OTIP Teaching Award recipient in the Secondary Teacher Award Category, at Port Colborne Secondary School in the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN).
Although Victor has retired he leaves behind an incredible legacy at Port Colborne Secondary School as an exceptional educator. His support and belief in his students resulted in relationships of trust and mutual respect.
As a welding teacher Victor gave countless students an insight into a career path that matches their interests and supported them in developing skills that could ultimately lead to life-long careers. As a role-model and ally, Victor focused on preparing students for life after secondary school. By knowing his students and identifying their needs he was able to create a learning environment that supported student engagement and achievement. He developed partnerships with industry and college programs that would support his students in gaining hands- on skills and making themselves marketable when ready to join the “world of work.” This resulted in many of his students being successful in the job market after graduation from high school.
Victor played a major role in establishing the Specialist High Skills Major Manufacturing Program at Port Colborne Secondary School. As the students developed their confidence in welding, they were given the opportunity to compete in local, provincial and national competitions with tremendous results. Victor exemplified the importance of giving back to the community and environmental stewardship through the Broken Spoke program, which was founded by Aubrey Foley. Victor helped implement and run the program, which helps students understand the mechanics of bikes while learning the importance of reducing waste and helping others in need. Over 4,000 bikes have been donated to the local community and overseas. To encourage students to think about issues impacting the environment, students created masterpieces by recycling metal for the Green Art Show hosted by Community Artists Niagara.
Victor Barker has been instrumental in shaping students who can identify their strengths and aptitudes and are keen to pursue new learning. Victor Barker is an excellent example of the dedicated, engaged and passionate teachers in Ontario’s classrooms. Congratulations to Victor Barker, OTIP Teaching Award recipient in the Secondary Teacher Category.