Beth Alexander - The Linden School

Year: 2017 – Province: Ontario

Transcript—Beth Alexander Video

[Beth Alexander speaks to camera, with the Parliament buildings as a backdrop behind her]

[Photos of Beth and her students are displayed on screen throughout her interview]

[Upbeat music plays softly in the background]

My name is Beth Alexander. I live in Toronto, and I work at the best school in the world, the Linden School.

[Text on screen: Beth Alexander, Ontario]

My mom was a teacher and my grandmother was a teacher, and so I thought as a teenager there's no way I'm going to be a teacher, that's not for me. And then it just called me little by little, and it was absolutely the best decision I ever made.

One of the things that I really want to do is make sure that girls don't feel left behind at some point in math. There's a lot of research showing that girls – a lot of girls do kind of lose their way for whatever reason. It could be the way schools are teaching them; it could be messages they're getting from the media. And it's really important to me that girls always see themselves in math and in science and in computer studies. So one of the things I do is I try and listen for what kids are actually thinking about, talking about, what they care about. And they care about the world. They care about the things going on around them, so looking for ways to mathematize that and turn it into actual problems they care about.

I have some advice for teachers. You should plan really, really well. Like, you should do a lot of research and draw up elaborate plans. And then when you get to school, you should be ready to throw them right in the garbage because the moment you get there something might change, and you have to feel comfortable with that change.

[Video footage of Beth receiving her award from Justin Trudeau is intercut]

I'm really humbled, and I'm also really reflecting on how many people I work with every day that make it possible. I work at a really amazing community, and I – and I think this is for them, and I really thank them for that.

Student 1: Beth is an amazing teacher, and she deserves this award.

Student 2: I'm surprised she hasn't already gotten an award. She's that amazing of a teacher.

Student 3: She is by far the best teacher I've ever had in my whole life.

[Canada wordmark]

[Music ends]

Certificate of Excellence Recipient

Beth Alexander

The Linden School
10 Rosehill Avenue
Toronto, Ontario  M4T 1G5

Principal: Janice Gladstone
School telephone: 416-966-4406
School email:
School website:

Subjects and grades taught: Grades 4 to 11, Math, Science and Technology

Bill Nye, Ada Lovelace and the Energizer Bunny have nothing on this science teacher and her innovative programming that focuses on getting young girls excited about STEM and ICT. From a life-size model that allows students to climb inside a computer, to a lab exploring the chemistry of candy, Beth Alexander consistently goes above and beyond to transform school into a magical place for her students.

Teaching approach

Alexander understands that all students learn differently and regularly engages them directly in providing feedback. She adapts lessons accordingly, using a flipped classroom model to pre-teach material if necessary and has students setting goals, keeping checklists and performing self-assessments.

Outstanding achievements

  • A believer in the Citizen Science movement, where not just professional scientists can further global knowledge, Alexander inspires her students to look for solutions to real world problems and supports them in speaking confidently about them to those in power. Her students' initiatives have been featured in the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, CBC and Global News.
  • Organizes a yearly Social Justice Data Fair where students use math skills to make the world a better place – such as learning about forces and mechanical advantage while designing land-mine detectors. These fairs have inspired schools in New York and Chicago.
  • Coordinates an annual Math Mavens and Science Sisters event that has girls and their mothers exploring problems together while building confidence.
  • Researched and wrote a comprehensive K-8 curriculum that focuses on age-appropriate coding skills for every grade. Started a popular Programming Club where each week, girls as young as five are learning how to code.

Rave reviews

"Beth understands what students in the 21st century need to know and do in order to be successful, and is a leader in developing programs that meet these needs. Her curiosity and enthusiasm about technology are contagious."

Nominator and colleague

"Even though we are young, Ms. Alexander helped us share what we learned with many important people, and helped us fight for changes in our community."

Past students