For Bryce Honsinger, teaching has been a lifelong passion.
With 23 years under his belt, he has accomplished many of his dreams – namely, being an educator who inspires students every day and brings the classroom to life.
“The fire had been lit in me when I was really young,” Honsinger told The Lake Report.
Honsinger is a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence, which were announced last week.
The grades 7 and 8 teacher at St. Davids Public School was nominated by a parent, Amanda Adam, who found his teaching style helped her son greatly.
This is Honsinger’s second major award in the field of education: he was awarded the Premier of Ontario’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2010.
“I never thought in a million years I’d win anything. For this to happen at a second time at a national level is just overwhelming. I still don’t believe it,” he said.
Honsinger grew up the son of a teacher, his mom working at District School Board of Niagara for 33 years.
From a young age, he had been interested in pursuing the same career path, but two exceptional teachers at Grantham High School, which he attended, gave him a final push.
Doug Melville taught Honsinger history in Grade 10 and Mike Simpson was his football coach.
Honsinger recalls Melville used to teach history class in a helmet from the First World War in-character as Baron von Schlieffen, Honsinger recalled.
“I thought I could definitely see myself doing something like that, because I love history,” he said.
To him, Simpson was not only a teacher and coach, but also mentor and academic who “lived in both worlds,” Honsinger said.
The football coach left the high school after Honsinger’s first semester of Grade 10: he was promoted to the role of vice principal at William Hamilton Merritt Public School.
“I remember one day I went to pick up my marks after the first semester and he was gone … I remember vividly thinking ‘Oh my gosh he’s gone,’ and I realized how much I looked up to him,” he said.
In terms of what teaching techniques he took from his mentors, Honsinger said it’s better to ask the students themselves.
“Let’s put it this way: I want to be here,” he said.
“Respect is key. Show the children respect and you get respect in return.”
Honsinger said he also tries to find ways to keep the curriculum alive wherever possible, whether that be using technology in lessons or going on hands-on trips.
In celebration of his award, the school organized a party for Honsinger last week on Oct. 5.
“The school did it up like a champ,” he said.
Students made flags and signs and a special assembly featured words from Honsinger’s parents and wife.
He said it meant “so much” to be with the people he respects and cares about during this celebration.
“St. Davids is a special place: it’s home.”