Audrey (Lyndie) Irving
Life and Work
Audrey has been an articulate advocate for children. Whether it meant boldly approaching a superintendent or principal with a concern, bringing issues to the forefront among her peers and colleagues, or intervening herself to affect change, the well being of her students and the children of Sundre has always clearly been one of her priorities. And reading! Audrey has always been passionate about reading. Her premise is that reading is the foundation of all other learning - and of course she’s right! In her classroom, everything she did revolved around developing competent readers. She read to her students, she taught phonics (even in the days when teaching phonics was frowned on), and who could forget the hours she spent making story cards on squares of manila tag to help her students practice their sight words at home.
When they did arithmetic, her students read. When science and social studies topics were addressed, reading was always involved. When they sang - you guessed it - there were the words neatly printed on chart paper or overhead transparencies! Even after her retirement, Audrey has continued to teach, building literacy into the lives of her grandchildren and great grandchildren.
While she was employed by the school division, Audrey’s school day typically began at 7:00 am, when she unlocked the doors of E.W. Miller School and plunged into the day’s tasks. These ranged from preparing the materials she would need that day in her classroom, to looking after the myriad of paper work and administration required in her position as Head of the Primary Department. Thanks to her systematic and organized approach to the tasks at hand and to her incredible energy, she was able to pack more into each day than most of us could dream of! When the dismissal bell rang at the end of the afternoon she would tidy her classroom, pack her ever present box of marking and planning, and head home to enjoy an evening with her much loved family.
Because of her dedication to her students, Audrey was always ready to listen to new ideas and to examine new approaches to teaching. Her willingness, combined with a discernment that came from years of experience meant her teaching never became stagnant. A true proponent of the concept of life long learning.
Laughter and stories. These are the glue that binds all these many parts of Audrey’s life together. She is gifted with the ability to see a humorous side to almost every circumstance and, with her stories, shares her laughter with those around her. How many times did we go back to class after recess, our stomachs aching from laughing? Audrey clearly models the truth that laughter is good for the soul.
Throughout her life, Audrey has enriched many lives with her gifts. I count myself fortunate to be one among them. To Audrey Irving, my mentor and friend, congratulations on being honored as a Woman of the Aspenland!