Meet Our People: Alex Noel

March 21, 2024 3 min read

Senior School teacher Alex Noel has been a friendly face at Calgary Academy for years, and his impact reaches farther than his excellent teaching.

He’s involved in various clubs and initiatives throughout the school, including student leadership and the Student Belonging and Engagement Committee. If there’s a chance to get involved and support the community, his name is likely the first on the list.

As an educator, Mr. Noel values the learning process, understanding that the journey is greater than the destination in life and academics.

An Open, Honest Approach

While Mr. Noel is an expert educator, he doesn’t see himself as a perfect teacher. In traditional education, teachers typically lead from the front of the class. He prefers a different approach, empowering students to foster a collaborative school experience.

He tries to create a respectful, open classroom where he and his students can ask any questions. Relationships are important to him—learning is easier when someone knows they can ask their teacher anything.

“I find we learn best from people who we connect to. Relationship building isn’t about me being the ‘cool teacher,’ it’s about being the honest teacher… there’s room for students to ask questions and be honest without fear.” – Mr. Noel

Mr. Noel understands the difficulties of school—he describes himself as someone who struggled as a student, but years later, this has become his teaching superpower.

Completing his schoolwork was challenging, but he eventually understood how to break down complex information into something anyone could learn—one of the hardest skills needed as a teacher.

Mr. Noel has his specialties as a math and science teacher (he loves teaching biology) but feels confident he can help break down any subject for his students.

“I feel that with enough time, I can teach anything if I accept that I won’t master everything at once because nobody can. I find that focusing my expertise on the process of learning rather than a particular subject makes me better at teaching students.”

Appreciating the Journey of Learning

Another crucial aspect of teaching for Mr. Noel is community. Having kind, caring people around can provide support, offer different perspectives, and spark new passions. Providing these spaces is paramount for him as a teacher.

He always looks to help others and get involved in school clubs, including stepping up to help run the Calgary Academy Student Leadership (CASTLE) and even learning to play Dungeons and Dragons to support one of CA’s popular clubs.

Mr. Noel believes that if students have a hunger or passion for something, it’s up to him as a teacher to provide a space to enjoy their passions.

“Children need a place to join and feel valued… If they want to be involved in the community, let’s help maintain that space.” – Mr. Noel

As a Senior School teacher, he works with many students entering their final school years when they need to “figure everything out.”

While someone should have an idea for their future, Mr. Noel doesn’t want learners to only focus on their careers or academics. He understands the importance, but so much is lost if someone only looks forward. People should stop and smell the roses and appreciate where they are and the community around them.

“There’s glory in the middle ground where we’re not pushing towards a single-minded goal of prestige or money. We’re living right now and reaping the benefits of the people sharing this space with us.”