WEST Teacher Wins Sparks of Excellence Award

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WEST Teacher Bushra Hanna Wins Sparks of Excellence Award

Bushra Hanna is a proud TESL member since 2006, and a member of Executive Board of Directors TESL Windsor since 2020. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Adult Education from Brock University, along with a Master’s Degree in Translation and a Bachelor Degree of Arts/ English from Baghdad University Iraq. She has been working with newcomers for over 20 years. Currently, Bushra is a PBLA Lead Teacher at Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor, a non-profit organization that empowers women and upgrades their skills to excel in their careers.

In the span of her teaching career, Hanna has taught Literacy up to LINC 7, as well as teaching ESL at the University of Windsor.

Through her career, she has worn many hats, including certified court interpret with Provincial and Supreme Courts, with IRCC for refugee claimants, Settlement Councillor, Employment Services and GED instructor, and Editor in Chief for Arabic Newspaper Windsor Voice. Hanna will attend a  Welcome and Awards Celebration virtual ceremony on Wednesday November 3 at 7:15 pm.

“Bushra Hanna exemplifies all the attributes the Sparks of Excellence Award! She is continually working to improve the wellbeing of her students and her community. We are so glad to see her acknowledged with this provincial level award.” Says Juan Wang, Language Skills Development Coordinator for WEST.

In March 2020, she started a group of women called Ladies of Hope in response to Windsor Regional Hospital call to address a shortage of medical face masks for patients. Her goal was to sew 100 face masks, but the total number ended up being closer to 10,000. Weekly, she would drop 700-750 face masks to Windsor Reginal Hospital and was recognized by a Thank You letter from WRH.

She also created a daily newsletter with her learners through WhatsApp. Learners would share everything, including current community news, family events, job wanted, houses/ apartments for rent, workshops attended. This social media increased her learners’ Reading/ Writing and Researching skills.  Bushra noticed that virtual Learning had made many learners depressed, especially seniors and the low income who are stationed with 6-9 children and spouses in small apartments. Many of them messaged her about missing “normal life.” In July 2021, Bushra took action to do something for these leaners, arranging a biweekly picnic at Jackson Park in Windsor and included multiple activities, including bingo, barbecues, and even garage sales in the park.

In addition, an environmental advocate, Bushra arranged a simple workshop speaking about the importance of a clean environment during one of these learning picnics. In their last gathering, they cleaned the park with the support of their local Member of Parliament who attended to hand out empty bottle of water to the participants.

Bushra credits her students with the inspiration for all the activities she undertakes, “My students are often professionals in their countries of origin, and I want them to make a positive contribution in Canada, too. I love to see them succeed!” explains Hanna.

The Teachers of English as a Second Language Association of Ontario (TESL) Sparks of Excellence Award is designed to recognize and acknowledge the excellence and commitment of TESL Ontario members who provide outstanding educational experiences to their students or who demonstrate exceptional leadership/mentoring expertise towards their colleagues and student teachers in a manner that goes above and beyond the day-to- day duties of their job.

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