ECS 100 Autobiography
I grew up going to the smallest catholic school in Moose Jaw, while my parents never participated in the church at all. I was/ still am an unbaptized bastard child, with an over baring orthodox Ukrainian catholic grandmother who still believes you’ll go to hell for not going to church. But I love her anyways, and I’d like to think I’m her favorite grandchild, even with her strick catholic views she has always been such a giving and charitable woman. But enough about her, for now…
I’m part Cree from Pasqua First Nations and part Ukrainian as you might have guessed. My white Ukrainian skin shines through more than the Cree thought, at best I get a really dark tan. my whole life, I’ve been not brown enough to be recognized as a Cree person, but darker than most of my friends. I think this is one of the reasons I became friends with the other kids who didn’t quiet fit in at the catholic school filled with less than 100 kids. We were drawn to one another, from the book nerd who never broke the rules, to the girl with the thick glasses and freckles, we bonded forming a lasting friendship that would last forever. From a young age I took the role of leader with my friends fearless of what the other kids thought I stood up for my group of friends when the other kids would try to bully us. Little did I know that this outgoing attitude would attribute to my future and help me become the teacher I want to be. From the start of school in kindergarten there was only ten of us. When your five and in a school with almost 100 people you still feel overwhelmed with the idea of this big scary place filled with big kids and adults. But Mrs. Mann our teacher, wouldn’t let us feel that way for long. She was one of the most inspiring teachers I had in elementary school, her passion to teach our young minds new things and the patience it must have taken to teach was admirable. Mrs. Mann was kind and passionate with the kids she taught, and she made us believe in magic from the very start. My most memorable moment of that class was one of the first days of school. To get more comfortable with the school and the other students, we read a story about the gingerbread man. while she read us the story, we “baked” (we decorated him on a pan and then put him in the oven) an actual gingerbread man in the staff room. During recesses we left him “baking” in the oven, while we were playing, he ran away but left a note leading us to clues all over the school for us to find him. Taking us from classroom to classroom meeting all the other students until finally we found him with the principal in his office. This magical journey through the school has stuck with me throughout life as one of my most cherished elementary school memories. I hope one day, I’ll be able to give students memories that last a lifetime as well ones that will help children keep their innocence as long as possible and help them believe in magic like I did that day.
As I grew up, I participated in many activities from Sparks to soccer and figure skating. These activities made me an active part of the community from a young age. Being involved with the fundraising, from walking door to door selling candy or asking for pledges and performing skating shows having a bunch of the community come cheer you on. The neighborhood I grew up in was filled with elderly women who just lit up when I’d come for a visit to tell them all about whatever I was fundraising for. The respect I gained for my community, by being an active member even from a young age, has helped me realize the importance community plays in the role to raising kids. It takes a village to raise a child not just one person. From teachers to neighbors to coaches and neighborhood kids they all have a role in the way we grow up.
As I got older, I continued to skate, and I was given my first volunteer teaching position within the club. Being older and more advanced we were given the opportunity to teach the little ones the basics of skating. These evenings on the ice were the highlight of my week. We would start the night out as one big group “dancing” to music to get warmed up singing along, jumping and skating across the ice. After warmups we’d break up into our groups, color coordinated by our pompoms strapped to our skates. We learned to teach from the ways we were taught. Keeping it fun by using games to keep the kids entertained, while learning new skills or giving them visuals like hopping like a bunny rabbit to learn how to jump. My favorite had to be when we were teaching them how to spin for the first time. “Stand in one spot with your legs together, knees slightly bent and pretend you’re grabbing your favorite teddy bear off the shelf beside you then give it a big hug” it worked like a charm every time. Being able to slowly seeing them improve throughout the season, always gave me such a sense of pride to see those little ones spinning for the first time with a big grin across their face.
Firefighter, professional skater, doctor, chef, fashion designer, hairdresser, teacher we’re just a few of the things I wanted to be when I grew up. But when does one really become grownup? I don’t think I’ve ever stopped growing. Graduating high school, I had many thoughts about what I’d want to be as an a adult, from moving across the country and going to chef school, maybe open a restaurant or work on a cruise ship, or maybe I should go to university like all my other friends. I had no real desire to commit to any one path, so I decided the best decision would be to work. So I stayed at my high school job working at the Super Store deli for another year where I’d meet the love of my life Nathan, and learned a lot of about customer service and how to make an elegant looking meat platter with salami roses. Longing for something that more meaningful than slicing meat I began looking for my next path, moving from deli meats to the luxury of jewelry. I worked in a factory for Fifth Avenue Collection. The job was boring, but the people were amazing coming from all parts of the world. Working with these people Taught me about their different cultures and the poor living conditions they came from. I gained a sense of compassion for these people and the stories they bore. this job was short ended when the economy slowed down and the layoff notices started getting handed out. This prompted me in deciding it was time to go back to school, this time I decided on hairdressing school since I’d been experimenting coloring and sometimes cutting my own hair for most my life.
For the last nine years I’ve been a hairstylist, being a hairstylist is less about the hair and more about the relationships you build with your clients and the community. I’ve been a confidant and a therapist. I’ve been filled with joy when a client comes in to share their happy news, and I’ve cried with my clients when they find out a loved one is dying from cancer. Its taught me how to connect with people but it also taught me to appreciate the little things because life is precious. But it has also taught me the importance of education in an ever-changing environment. I went from apprentice to journeyman to business owner to chair renter during these nine years. With all these changes I’ve always had to stay educated from learning new trends and sometimes just refresher in the basics. But One of the most unique part of my job has been going to Valley View a place where intellectually challenged people lived. For the past 5 years I’ve had a contract to cut hair out there, making it one of the most challenging and rewarding experience in my career. This part of my job is extra special and brings me back to my grandma at the beginning of my story. My grandma has always been the most charitable and giving person. For her entire adult life my grandma not only raised 3 children by herself, she managed to raise 2 unwanted intellectually challenged children from babies to adulthood. She was able to give them a loving home for 50 plus years and took in multiple hopeless cases of babies born with only a few months to live, usually giving them a longer than expected life and someone to love them. She has taught me that even though someone’s different it doesn’t make them less of a person and it doesn’t mean you should fear them. Growing up with Murray and Shelly living with my grandma has taught me how everyone learns differently and that everyone deserves to learn and be loved no matter their mental faculties. The values I’ve learned from my grandma have helped me be comfortable with cutting hair out at Valley View. Quickly I Learned the quirks and triggers of multiple people, knowing that if one person’s okay with getting a haircut the next person might be having a bad day and try and hit you or spit in your face. Being in this situation I had to learn what helps the person be more comfortable, so I can do my job and they can get their hair cut. sometimes little things from giving them a magazine to look at or turning on some Elvis and doing a little boogie while we cut helped comfort them. Or sometimes it was a simple as someone holding their hand. The bond you form with these people is something so rewarding, and It has also taught me patience, and how to be an advocate for someone who can’t advocate for themselves.
This ongoing learning experience lead me to wanting to do something even more meaningful in life so thus, began my journey to university to become a teacher. I want to help mold future kids and teach them compassion and fill them with a sense of magic like I felt when they gingerbread man came to life. I want to have a safe place for kids of all abilities, faith and ethnicities can learn from one another and together. I want to celebrate kids differences and teach them to embrace what makes them unique. I want to enhance my community and make not just my city but the world a better place. I want to feel that sense of pride again after a child accomplishes something, they thought they couldn’t.