Andrew Calado has no regret about returning to the classroom to end up working in the classroom.
The former communications industry employee, married to a teacher, had always wanted that job himself. So he decided to leave communications, enrol at UBC Okanagan, and follow a dream.
“I enjoy teaching, I love what I do,” said Calado, 45, in his fifth year at Lumby’s J.W. Inglis Elementary, where he teaches Grade 6.
Originally from North Delta, Calado said he had a lot of great teachers growing up, ones that always made him feel special. His goal in life, no matter what profession, was to give back.
“For me, the number one thing is making a connection with a student,” said Calado. “When you do that, fantastic things happen in and out of the classroom. That connection could be just talking to them, asking them how their weekend was.
“Connecting is listening. Listening to what their goals are.”
It was one of his students who nominated Calado for going above and beyond in being an Unsung Hero in Education, saying Calado has made “such a positive impact on me and the other students in my class.”
“He is very helpful, kind and support,” wrote the student. “He plans all kinds of fun activities and is very approachable. He even reaches out during school holidays to make sure we are all doing OK.”
Calado has promised his students to help where he can as they grow up and extends that offer to post-season life and into adulthood.
“Even though he is my teacher, I know he will be a friend as well,” said the student. “He is someone I can rely on.”
Calado is involved in sports and after-school programming at Inglis.
He encourages students to push themselves hard and to the best of their abilities. He has a great sense of humour, says his nominator, and teaches kids not to take life too seriously.
“He always says we learn by making mistakes and should never be afraid to try,” said the student. “He has a quick wit and often shares stories about his famous skateboarding dog Max.”
For Calado, a full school year in a pandemic has made for some challenges but has also made lifetime memories.
“I wanted to make sure the goal was to make this a normal year for the students when it wasn’t a normal year,” said Calado. “The focus has been on what we get to do.”