Collin Dillon is an esteemed and proud health and physical education teacher with over 11 years of experience. Known for his commitment in helping students find joy in their well-being, Collin has made a lasting impact on their lives and those that he works with. In addition to his role as a teacher, Collin has been actively involved in various leadership positions both locally and provincially. He has served as a presenter, curriculum writer, provincial physical education teacher executive, and a valued member of the PEI Western Region Sport and Recreation Council board. Collin's contributions and commitment to promoting physical education excellence were recognized in 2022 when he was honored with the prestigious PHE Canada Excellence in Physical Education Teaching Award. Collin’s passion, enthusiasm, and advocacy continue to shape the future of health and physical education in his community.
What are you most proud of, in your professional journey, thus far?
What I am most proud of is the (hopeful) fact that I have been able to motivate youth to live a healthy and active life inside and outside of the school. I hope that in my time as an educator, students have been able to relate the activities and experiences they had in my class and either apply or relate to them while in their adult life.
What do you hope to accomplish next?
My journey in education has taken me back home to Prince Edward Island. I am so fortunate to be able to teach in the area that I was raised. This life event gives me more motivation to encourage our communities on Prince Edward Island to value, appreciate, and find joy in living a healthy and active life. My hope is that I can play a small part both locally and provincially in the journey of making Prince Edward Island a healthy and happy place to learn and play!
Where does your love of health and fitness come from?
There are a lot of factors and influences that come to mind when I think about this question!
The first one brings me back to when I was growing up. I either found ways to play outdoors or get involved in organized sports. I was incredibly fortunate to have parents that supported my active hobbies, even if it was a parenting tactic to keep me exhausted at the end of each day.
The next influence that set the stage for my journey in teaching was my high school physical education teacher, Mr. Peter Bolo. I am one of the many who have been impacted by this individual who taught in Western PEI for over 30 years. When I think back to when I wanted to become a teacher, I think back to his impact on my high school experience.
And finally, I think back to my teacher education program at St. Francis Xavier University. I was a student who was unsure of what his next chapter was going to be upon graduation but thankfully I was immersed in a learning community that not only valued the theoretical components of education, but the hands-on experiential component. During my time at StFX, I was given many opportunities to work with a wide variety of children and youth which allowed me to see the benefit and impact I could make as an educator in this world.
All of these experiences helped me become the teacher I am today: Someone who finds gratitude in the thrill of seeing growth, persistence and joy in my students each and every day in my class.
What 3 words would your colleagues and friends use to describe you?
Passionate, Enthusiastic, dedicated to Wellness
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
This bit of advice I received during my time at StFX finishing my Teacher Education Degree. It was during a physical education course that we discussed motivation and planning for youth. The professor reminded us all that everyone in the class had a positive experience when participating in Health and Physical education class and that not everyone does. In some instances, Health and Physical Education class might be the only time a young person can get active on that day. Our job as educators is to ensure that students see the benefits and find joy in health and physical activity and can do so in a safe and welcoming environment. This piece of advice resonates with me in each lesson I create as I continue to strive to find ways for all of my students to find their own version of health and physical activity that they can connect to each day and into their adult life.
What career might you be in now, if you weren’t doing what you are doing now?
I feel that, based on what I know about myself now, I would be most successful doing something that involved the outdoors, movement and some problem solving. I love the coaching aspect of education and so I feel that I would try and pursue something in that field as well.
What do you do to take care of your own health and wellness?
My favorite way to take care of my own health is by spending time with my family. My three children are getting to the age where they are participating in many sports and activities so I love to be a part of those programs either as a coach or as a volunteer, plus it gives me a pretty good view as I watch my kids grow and learn the activity they are playing. As a family, we do enjoy finding new adventures whether it be through travel or through the outdoors. I am at my best when I am surrounded by my family. When I’m not chasing my family around the house, I do like to find time to participate in recreational sports such as hockey, baseball and golf.
What is the most important thing you have learned so far in your career?
Find your balance. This does not mean that your balance point stays in that position forever, it moves and changes just like you do! Early in my career my balance between work and personal looked a lot different than what it does now. Understanding that priorities change, commitments change, and where you want to spend your time can change. While it may be a constant back and forth of adjusting and juggling, being able to prioritize your balance point can help you enjoy both aspects of your work and personal life to the best that you can.