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People of Meadowridge: Mr. Darrell Lester
Mr. Darrell Lester

Mr. Darrell Lester

Grade 8 & 9 Design Teacher, Design Department Head 
Joined Meadowridge in 2009 

Why did you become a teacher?
Teaching runs in my family. My grandfather was a headmaster, my mother and sister were teachers, my wife’s grandfather was a headmaster… there are a lot of us! Even though my dad was a carpenter, his calm and patient nature would have made him an excellent teacher.

What does a typical day look like for you?
I have about five classes a day and spend time in between prepping for projects and making sure things are in order—there is a lot to be done behind the scenes! From ordering materials to charging robots, I stay busy and there are always projects to be marked. Outside of class, I also coach volleyball and host a weekly maker club.

What are the best parts of your job?
I love my job! My favourite part is seeing the “aha” moment when a student grasps or solves something they’ve been struggling with. That’s the best part of every teacher’s job. I enjoy seeing students tackle challenging projects and the hands-on aspect of Design. Unlike many things nowadays, Design is a tactile course; students get to create things they see and feel.

What’s your favourite Meadowridge tradition?
Week Without Walls is one of my favourites, but I also love how everyone at Meadowridge—students, teachers, parents—works so well together. Everyone works towards the same goal, ensuring that students are happy, educated, and cared for. I enjoy that.

More about Mr. Lester

Grew Up In
Lobatse, Botswana and Florida, South Africa

Educational Background
Bosmansdam Primary School
Capricorn High School

Johannesburg College of Education/
Wits University

Physical Education & Biology
University of South Africa
Diploma in Computer Science & Physics

Work Experience
Teacher, Edenglen High School
Teacher, Monta Vista Primary School
Teacher, Boston Primary School
Franchise Owner & Operate, FutureKids Teacher, Meadowridge School

Languages
English, Afrikaans

Fun Fact
Mr. Lester’s Grandfather kept orphaned animal cubs on the land he grew up on in Botswana. These animals included leopards, jackal, antelope, pythons, and lions.

What would surprise us about the Design curriculum?
The best part is that it has students doing something physical and not just virtual. From silversmithing bracelets to woodworking puzzles and even rocket engines for personal projects, students learn practical skills. Also, a lot of what we do in Design involves thinking and analysis; design thinking is a big part of our program.

One person you would like to sit down with.
I’d like to spend one more day with my dad. He never got to come to Canada, and he would be so amazed by the building methods and the hardware shops—they don’t have Home Depot in South Africa! I would have loved for him to see buildings made out of wood as apposed to bricks and mortar and how houses are put together and done differently. He was always curious like that.

Favourite Meadowridge memory.
One year in volleyball, there was a student who had not managed to serve the ball anywhere near the net. Then, halfway through grade 8, I got her to serve during a match. Before this, we’d sub her out so she wouldn’t have to serve. She finally agreed to try. Well, she got up, served, and got it right over. Everyone watching was so excited. The students and even parents knew what a big deal it was! We all jumped up, shouted and cheered. The other team was surprised and lost the point.

Spring or fall?
I love any changing season. In South Africa, it might get a little colder or rain a little more, but there’s no massive change in season. Here, there are seasons. In the Spring, the bulbs come out. In the fall, there are leaves. The weather is just awesome.

Favourite meal?
I like food a lot. My wife is a great cook, so we’re a good match! My favourite food is ice cream. We used to take a group of students each year to EPCOT Center in Florida and, by the third day, students knew to follow me because I had all the ice cream vendors mapped out.

Best way to spend the day?
I love sports. I play tennis and volleyball and enjoy fishing from a kayak at sea. I also always have some project on the go at home. When one project stops, I start another. I’m always doing, building, or fixing. Always. Right now, I’m learning how to string badminton rackets. I do my own tennis rackets, but I’m now trying to learn badminton rackets so I can teach students at Meadowridge. I’m also learning how to replace fascia boards. Basically, if you want to torture me, make me sit still.