Rachel Luke: A Global View of Education

Some footage used in this video was filmed prior to the pandemic and may not depict social distancing measures.

Transcription – Rachel Luke- 2021 Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence

[Photo, with voice over. Photo: A classroom with students sitting around a table and the teacher giving instructions. Music playing.]

“I love what I do. I love teaching so I think I try to be very, very engaging in the classroom.”

[Fade to white with a medium shot of woman, smiling, on the right side of the screen, with the following words appearing, line by line, on the left: Rachel Luke, Glenforest Secondary School, Mississauga, Ontario. Cut to close-up of Rachel in the interview setting. Music playing]

[Cut to Rachel in the interview setting.]

“I really love culturally responsive pedagogy. So making sure that the students see themselves represented and reflected in the material, and that they can make connections to the material. And that we can have diverse voices brought into the classroom. And I think the students really engage with that, and love that.”

[Cut to photo with voice over. Photo: Rachel behind a podium in an auditorium with ‘Black History Month’ on the screen.]

“And I think my passion rubs off. The students know that I love what I'm doing and I think that, that translates into motivation.”

[Cut to Rachel in the interview setting.]

“So I like to have the students adapt something that they've learned for younger students. So for example I had my students take narratives by black writers, picture books and they had to adapt it into place. And then virtually they presented these to kindergarten and grade 1 classes. And it was a lot of fun for the students. My students were able to develop leadership skills. The younger students were able to see a presentation and interact with older students.”

[Fade to black and then up to Rachel in the interview setting.]

“Aspiring teachers? I would say to them be prepared! That's what I would say. Because you just don't know what's going to happen every day. Particularly at this time. You have to be prepared for anything. You have to be flexible.”

[Cut to a photo with voice over. Photos: Rachel and students in a classroom looking at a textbook; Rachel and students on stage; Rachel and students in a circle performing.]

“I think it's not just teaching a subject. It's really helping the whole child. And so I think you just have to be prepared for any and everything. I was so thrilled when my colleague took the time to nominate me for the Prime Minister's Award. And I think there's a lot of teachers doing a lot of wonderful things in their classrooms that they often don't get recognized for.”
[Cut to Rachel in an interview setting.]

“And I think it's just really wonderful for us to acknowledge one another. Teaching can sometimes be very isolating, and sometimes very unrewarding. So I think it's always wonderful when we recognize one another. And this has been for my just a wonderful experience. So I encourage you to do the same and I will do the same as well. I will nominate other colleagues for this award.”

[Music ends. Fade to black, with the Government of Canada FIP and then the Canada Wordmark appearing in white.]

Year: 2021 — Province: Ontario
Certificate of Excellence Recipient

Glenforest Secondary School
Grades 9 to 12 - English, ESL, drama
Mississauga, Ontario


“Rachel is THAT teacher whom every single student respects and adores. Rachel is THAT teacher who at-risk students respond to, and have the utmost trust and respect for. Rachel is also THAT teacher who staff are amazed by, and wonder how she finds the time in the day to do all that she does for students.”


Teaching Approach

Rachel does not believe in the “one-size-fits-all” approach to teaching. She spends countless hours creating personalized lessons and assignments for her students. She is meticulous in the development of her learning concepts and is careful to include details that draw students’ attention and keep them engaged. One of her strengths is to naturally and fluidly incorporate other subject areas into her lessons and assignments – demonstrating relevance and application to life realities.

Rachel infuses creativity and technology in every aspect of her teaching. She incorporates resources, information and creative ideas designed by herself, other educators, experts and leaders from communities near and far to provide students with globally-minded viewpoints and holistic educational experiences. Rachel uses her technical skills to create digital tools on a wide range of subjects, including the Holocaust, Black History & Anti-Racism resources and events for students, staff, school board and community members.

In the Classroom

For Rachel, learning is about learning to live in society. She uses her unique creativity to produce distinctive and innovative activities, projects and opportunities for her students to learn and build a variety of soft skills, notably collaborative skills. Her students also marvel at her ability to make cooperative learning fun, engaging and purposeful, while giving them the opportunity to build teamwork skills.

Rachel is always concerned with inclusion. And her premise is that the classroom must be a safe and fun place to learn. She provides a stimulating and engaging learning environment for all of her students, regardless of their skill levels or abilities.

Outstanding achievements

Rachel consistently encourages students to become global citizens and to explore world issues such as human rights, cultural diversity and inclusivity by providing them with hands-on, real-world opportunities. She fosters awareness of different cultures and backgrounds, particularly, Black, Indigenous, and Jewish cultural traditions, identity and history. She has travelled to many developing countries and provided resources to students in rural villages during some of her travels – including Cambodia and Uganda, where she provided children and their teachers with educational resources and supplies.

Rachel has received many awards and recognitions for her academic performance and work with youth, including the 2018 William Dahlgren Teacher of Excellence Award from the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering, the 2018 Education Week Award of Distinction from the Peel District School Board (PDSB), and the 2011 District 19 Award of Merit from the Ontario Secondary Schools Teacher Federation, and the 2011 Award of Distinction from the PDSB.

Get in touch!

Glenforest Secondary School
3575 Fieldgate Dr.
Mississauga, ON  L4X 2J6
Email: glenforest.ss@peelsb.com
Twitter: @GlenforestSS