John Mackett, History Teacher Extraordinaire, has Left the Building

by Sonia Ruivo

John Mackett, beloved history teacher at PACC Adult, recently retired after 35 years of teaching. John is known for his mischievous smile, easy-going manner, and dedication to his students. Most people have little if any idea what they want to do when they grow up. Not John. He knew at a young age that he’d be a teacher. He also knew that loved History, calling it a tapestry.

After doing his undergraduate and graduate degrees in history, John went into teaching. Over the years, he taught in a variety of schools, both public and private, as well as youth sector and adult education. In 2002, he started at PACC Adult and that’s where he felt the best. “I’ve been here over 20 years, and I feel very comfortable here.” When asked what he likes about teaching, John answered that he likes engaging students. “I don’t like the notion of influencing students. I like the notion of students thinking for themselves and finding their own way.”
Assistant Centre Director, Qaadira de Coteau, said that John is an exceptional teacher. “John Mackett is a beautiful soul. There is something so unique about John and his ability to story-tell that is captivating. That’s what makes him such a strong social science teacher. He connects the topic with people in such a unique way that makes his courses really engaging. We’ll miss John around here. He was very generous. He’d have more students than desks and he’d be okay with that. He’d say “bring them in. We’ll make it work. What a legacy and what a gift he’s been to us.”

After three decades in the teaching trenches, John felt that the time was right to retire and pursue his passion: travelling to new countries and having new adventures. Over the years, he has taken many memorable trips including travelling down the Amazon River in Brazil, and visiting Tibet which are of his favourite trips.
An adventurer at heart, his first post-retirement trip will be to spend 5-6 months in Madagascar, Mauritius, Kenya, Zambia, and East Africa. He’s never been to Madagascar or Mauritius. John is looking forward to seeing the Boabab tree in Madagascar. Boabab trees are gigantic, with many growing to 45 feet in diameter. The tree is filled with water and has branches at the top. John is not a fan of our cold winters and will schedule his travel during our winter months.

John had some words of wisdom for future teachers: “teach what you know and what you enjoy. Don’t take yourself too seriously. You’re not going to change the world, but you can change yourself. That’s a great thing in itself.”
John also had some advice for students: “find out what you enjoy and do it. You’re never going to be successful at something if you don’t enjoy it. “
We wish John a long, happy, and healthy retirement.