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Celebrating Teachers

To commemorate World Teachers’ Day on October 5, we’ve highlighted some of our favourite Remarkable Teacher quotes from over the years — from hockey superstar P.K. Subban to acclaimed actor Rachel McAdams. By honouring the OCTs who encouraged and inspired these prominent Ontarians, we pay tribute to the importance of teachers in our society.

Profile photo of P.K. Subban.

"Every time I find myself thinking about my work in an original and uncompromising way, I feel that Lawrence is looking at me from out there somewhere. The magical thing about his teaching was that he didn’t just help you act, he helped you think and feel and live."
Zaib Shaikh actor, writer and director
Lawrence Stern, drama teacher, Streetsville Secondary School, Mississauga

"He taught me that the easy way isn’t always the best way. You have to give a lot to get a little."
P.K. Subban Montréal Canadiens defenceman
Karl Subban, principal, Warren Park Junior Public School, Toronto

"I learned so much about myself because of the freedom she allowed us in class and the kind of excitement she instilled in us about being alive. She’s really an incredible person."
Sarah Polley actor and film director
Phyllis Beverley Panikkar, Grade 2 teacher, Bayview Middle School, Toronto

"I don’t even look at the world of nature without thinking of Mr. Mann. He would get you up to the blackboard and he would put ‘tree’ up at the top and then you had to list as quickly as possible as many trees as you could imagine. So, you would never use ‘tree’ in a conversation. You would use chestnut or oak or maple or birch or tamarack."
Adrienne Clarkson former Governor General of Canada
Walter B. Mann, English teacher, Lisgar Collegiate Institute, Ottawa

"She gave me the kickstart that I needed. She had an honest opinion of what she thought I should be doing. Young people really need someone who will do that — see a glimmer of something in them and encourage them — even when they’re afraid of it. She did that for me."
Rachel McAdams actor
Linda Maskell Pereira, drama teacher, Central Elgin Collegiate Institute, St. Thomas

Profile photo of Rachel McAdams.

"She was actually one of the first people in my life to say, ‘You can do this.’ Right off the bat, she was supportive and more importantly, she believed in me ..."
Patrick J. Adams actor
Deborah Barton-Moore, drama teacher, Northern Secondary School, Toronto

"Make it real, get ready, and go.’ I can still hear Ian saying it. He would say it before we’d start a scene, and then he’d clap his hands, and away we’d go. I still do it to this day. It’s really the best advice you can offer a young actor."
Chilina Kennedy Stratford and Broadway actor
Ian Malcolm, OCT, drama teacher, Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute, Kingston

Profile photo of David Suzuki.

"His approach [to math] was, ‘this is a problem and you have a box full of skills and somewhere in your box of skills there is the ability to solve this problem even though you’ve never faced it before’… It was an attitude he taught that has been useful for me and made a contribution to my success."
Chris Hadfield, first Canadian to walk in space
Dean Murray, math teacher, Milton District High School, Milton

"[Ms. Wyatt] was such a presence because she had such high standards. She always expected more of me than I could deliver. Even if I got an A on a paper, she would let me know if she thought I could have done a better job. She expected the best of me."
David Suzuki, environmental activist and broadcaster
Louise Wyatt, English literature and composition teacher, London Central Collegiate Institute, London

"She made me better. She made me work harder. She made me work for her approval. There was something about her and the way she helped me achieve things."
Lisa LaFlamme chief anchor, CTV National News
Sister Vivian Zoller, math teacher, St. Mary’s High School, Kitchener

Profile photo of Lisa LaFlamme.

"Mr. Ferguson, as I called him all his life, had a great gift of illumination. He so obviously loved the works he taught that you would put your own natural aversion to Shakespeare aside and say, ‘If he can get this enthusiastic it must be something.’"
Peter Gzowski, broadcaster
Frank Ferguson, English teacher, Galt Collegiate Institute, Cambridge

"[Ms. Chapman] was everyone’s idealized version of who Mom should be if she were allowed to run a classroom. Loving yet demanding. She really cared about what was happening in your life. She said, ‘If you got 11 out of 20 it wasn’t because I was being mean, it was because you earned it.’ She always encouraged us to do better"
David Onley, former Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario
Mary Chapman, Grade 4 & 6 teacher, Heron Park Public School, Toronto

Profile photo of David Onley.

"The editorial staff at The New Yorker are generally regarded as among the toughest in the profession but I assure you that they never mark up one of my pieces as much as Mr. Exley did. He instilled his passion for precision, for choosing the perfect word or phrase, and that has shaped my approach to writing."
Malcolm Gladwell author
Bill Exley, English composition and literature teacher, Elmira District Secondary School, Elmira

"They say that if you’re lucky, you’ll have one teacher who will always stick out in your memory. For me, that was Luc. He was born to teach."
Kevin Zegers actor
Luc Renaud, OCT, Grade 6 & 7 teacher, St. Rita’s Catholic Elementary School, Woodstock

"I was one of these people who started out not liking math… There were a couple of students who were very, very good in math but he didn’t put anybody down for not understanding the basics. Even though he had these super geniuses in the class, he treated everyone in a similar manner. For the average student like me, it was just great to be in a non-intimidating environment."
Roberta Bondar, first female astronaut
John Fleming, geometry and trigonometry teacher, Sir James Dunn Collegiate and Vocational School, Sault Ste. Marie

Profile photo of Kevin Zegers.

"She helped build my personal sense of confidence away from the world of sports. She taught me to work on my weaknesses, as well as my strengths. She taught me how to sense opportunities for growth and learning. And, best of all, she framed it in a possible way: ‘You can do this, Rosie,’ she’d say, ‘you can.’"
Rosie MacLennan, Olympic and Pan Am Games trampoline gymnast champion
Lori Baskin, OCT, Grade 5 teacher, King City Public School, King City

Profile photo of Rosie MacLennan.

"Through Mr. Giles, I started to learn how to feel a sense of accomplishment. I started to learn that, if you do certain things — like have a goal in mind and put the required steps in place — then it’s quite possible that you will achieve that goal. And it consistently has proved itself with me."
Michelle Wright country singer
Maurice “Mort” Giles, athletics coach, Merlin District High School, Merlin

"Without lavishing praise, he did give me the strong impression that he believed in my abilities. He told me once that he thought there was nothing I couldn’t do. It was one of those remarks that you don’t forget and, when things aren’t going very well, you use to reassure yourself."
Elizabeth Hay author
Ross McLean, English teacher, Centennial Collegiate Vocational Institute, Guelph

Profile photo of Vincent Lam.

"He was passionate, wild and funny. At times his class was semi-controlled chaos. People would be debating and arguing. In retrospect, that was the whole point"
Vincent Lam physician and author
Stephen Durnin, English teacher, St. Piux X High School, Ottawa