WARMINGTON: Mr. D returns to classrooms across Canada

Gerry Dee makes kids laugh while giving teachers a break

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Mr. D was back in the classroom this week and students and teachers alike gave him an A.

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This was a much-needed injection of humour — at a time when people are in need of a good laugh.

“It was fun,” Canadian comedian Gerry Dee said Friday after his innovative virtual sojourn back into the classroom.

It was an eye-opening experience.

“These teachers today are faced with so much,” said Dee, who played a teacher on the CBC’s Mr. D for eight seasons and now hosts Family Feud Canada. “With the technical aspect to it with online learning I don’t know if I have the patience for it.”

He lauds today’s teachers for their commitment. It was actually while getting his own three kids — 14, 12 and 9 — up to speed for this week’s return to online learning that he decided to offer up some help by putting out an invitation on Twitter.

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“TEACHERS, DM me a ZOOM link and a time TODAY & TOMORROW you have a remote class happening & I will jump on and chat to your students. Gives you a little break! Will get to as many as I can. I won’t tell you ahead of time so just let me in if you see me waiting. DM’s open!”

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Just like that, the one-time teacher himself was back in the classroom for the first time in more than a decade.

“I was just sitting at my computer and I just put it out on social media not knowing if anybody would even respond,” said Dee.

But they did — by the dozens.

He ended up joining in classrooms, from Kindergarten to grade 12, right across the country on Wednesday and Thursday.

“I was pleasantly surprised,” said Dee. “But then I quickly found out that while their teachers knew me, a lot of the kids had no idea. And they don’t hesitate to let you know that.”

“Are you the new principal?” some kids asked.

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But a lot of the older grades knew him from TV and the teachers know he’s one of their own.

A veteran of the stand-up comedy stage, Dee has played some tough rooms. But this was the ultimate test. And he did great. It was a neat idea and some real, out-of-the-box community spirit.  

“I loved every minute of it,” Dee said. “The students and teachers have been through so much during the pandemic and they are working hard to make the best of it.”

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

He joked it also gave him something to do with his kids in school and no hockey happening to coach, play or watch.

“I am preparing for a 16-date (stand-up) tour in April and May and just wanted to do something to help out,” Dee explained.

He ended up with so many requests, he couldn’t get to them all.

“I may do it again next week,” Dee said.

Next time Mr. D will aim for an A+.

jwarmington@postmedia.com

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