Irma Snyder

2023 Invisible Champion Award - Nova Scotia/Halifax

Nominator Comments:

Irma supports her GED adult students through a lens of kindness, understanding and patience. She works within a philosophy of forward is forward, no matter what the pace. Often her students will go the extra mile to earn her praise. This past summer Irma dedicated volunteer time over the summer when our programs were closed to support one of her adult students one on one, to help him work through his anxiety, to raise his confidence, and help him succeed in writing one of his GED exams. Irma has worked with adult students since her retirement from the public school system and has given many hours to support her learners. Some of these folks took many years to succeed and Irma never loses faith in their ability. She takes the time to listen, to encourage, to understand and always puts the students well being first, often adjusting her schedule beyond her paid hours to accommodate her students and their needs. Irma treats all her students regardless of age, race, life circumstance (folks working through mental health issues, or addiction) with the same dignity and respect. She arranges her course content to support a students capacity to learn, helping all to feel valued and included. . Her goal is to help folks succeed, and she works hard to ensure that they see the value of their attempts and understand their own strengths. At one time our local library was discarding some of their outdated books. Irma spent hours going through these books, pulling resources she knew still held teaching value. She understands that we work within a limited budget Irma is a remarkable 82 year old woman, who has never stopped giving. She is a retired public school teacher. She has dedicated her life to the academic success of others. Her ability to make those around her feel like more is a gift. She gives her all to help just “one more student” pass their GED. Sometimes, her adult students were her students from years past in the public school system, who for whatever life circumstance, did not graduate, and they forge through their anxiety to attend GED just because they know it’s “Mrs. Snyder” who is teaching. Irma has been a student herself these past years since the pandemic, enrolling in our Tech programs to learn how to serve her students through a digital lens in our “blended learning” platform, when they weren’t able to physically attend class, or to be able to engage with our team through zoom meetings. This dedication, to step beyond her own comfort, and face her own anxiety about her capacity to learn digital technology in order to help support her students and her coworkers speaks volumes about her as a teacher and a person.

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