If teaching is an inherent trait, then Ian Bell came by it honestly. As the son of a tenured teacher, Ian aspired to follow his father’s academic path.
While a student at Algonquin, Ian saw that he could finally fulfill his dream of working in law; not as a lawyer, but as a paralegal. But Algonquin also reminded Ian about something else – that he loved the classroom experience. After starting his own practice and now with a few years of legal experience, Ian joined the Algonquin Legal Team. Ian currently operates a successful practice all while teaching both in the morning and evening paralegal classes. In the 5 years teaching with Algonquin, Ian has never taken a sick day or been late for his class; this is because he is so committed to his students that to let them down would be letting himself down. It is this sense of commitment to his craftsmanship that transcends to his classroom.
Ian is known as the technical guru at the college and is always seeking different ways to enhance and bring technology into the classroom. A great example of this creativity is when Ian had identified that many students were scoring below average specifically with the multiple choice questions. Ian implemented an interactive review where students use there smart phones to participate. Not only did the students see increased test scores and a better understand through this review they enjoyed the injection of new technology in their learning. This is just one example of the foresight that makes Ian a wonderful instructor. In 2017, Ian was promoted to the Paralegal Program Coordinator. It is in this role that Ian ensures that the academic integrity and professional standards are met.
With 5 years of teaching now behind Ian, he often reflects on some of his most memorable teaching achievements and he recalls this – In the last year, three of Ian’s students partnered together and opened a paralegal practice focusing on different areas of law, it was through with the mentorship from Ian that helped inspiration these students. Many of Ian’s students have begun legal careers throughout Ontario such as:
- The Landlord Tenant Board
- Small Claims Court
- Provincial Offences Court
While Ian remains fully engaged in the legal profession, his contributions to the community have included:
- Donating 25% of his logged paralegal hours to pro bono work.
- Volunteering with Probation & Parole, Correctional Services, assisting people convicted of an offence find employment and learn life skills.
- Volunteering at Beverly Heights Junior High in the Music Department, teaching music classes that emphasized comradery while learning an instrument.
When we asked Ian’s colleagues why they nominated him for this award they had this to say:
“Ian displays a tremendous amount of dedication and commitment to his students, often coming in hours before or staying hours after class to ensure that students get that individual assistance that is needed to ensure their continued success and development in the paralegal program.
“Ian has so much knowledge to share; he gives without hesitation and shares without bias.
What is next for Ian? “I find great comfort in the balance that I have found with an active practice and a fulfilling teaching career. When I see former students who are now equal colleagues, with successful careers, I couldn’t be more pleased”, Ian said. “So, for now, I am where I belong, with my Algonquin Family!”