These people have greatly impacted my decision on becoming a teacher! In our ECS 100 class we were asked to write an autobiographical essay on our journey to becoming an educator. Although this journey has been wonderful, I have also experienced some hardships along the way. This essay is extremely personal and I cherish each memory I have had the chance to make.
I was born in Saskatchewan in 1991, My parents are Sheldon and Sandy, I have one older brother named Scott. My Dad is a farmer and my Mom worked at a few different jobs growing up. With my parents having the jobs they did it allowed for an wonderful upbringing which included camping, summers at the lake, fishing, snowmobile trips, suppers in the field, and lots of time spent with each other. My parents are always together and I find that very special. You can see the love they have for each other but also for us. My Dad has an grade eight education and my Mom has her grade twelve. My parents have a very strong work ethic and they are both kind and generous. Even though they are not university educated they have allowed my brother and I to have any opportunity we wanted. Their selflessness, hard work, thoughtfulness are all attributes that have helped shape and guide the person I am today. They have been very supportive about my journey back into education and are proud that I will be the first one from our family with a University degree.
I started elementary school in the year of 1996 at Indian Head Elementary School. I guess this is where you would say my “structured” educational experiences began. Although it is greatly known, we begin learning long before we start kindergarten. I do not remember much of my early childhood education, but what I do remember were the kind and caring teachers that helped me get through those early years. Reflecting on those specific teachers, I see how I wish to emulate their actions and be just as helpful and caring to my students in their early years so they learn to love school like I did. I want to make their school experiences wonderful.
I had my first intern teacher in grade eight, his name is Mr. Ryan Harding. He later become my boss and principal at McLean Elementary School. I didn’t realize in grade eight how much of an influencer he would be on me, until we began working together in Mclean. He pushed me to be the best! He encouraged me to apply for university and complimented me as an EA. He knew I was good at what I did. I was given the harder assignments in our school because of my hard work ethic and my strong bonds I was able to form with students. This meant some students would only talk to me when they were breaking down, it also meant I would be given the chance to help the most challenging students because of my ability to understand them and use my patience to work with them. He was a great administrator in our building with staff and students. He listened, disciplined fairly and had respect for his students and staff. He cares about each person that enters his building and I strive to instill his values in myself to prepare me for my professional journey. Ryan gave me that big push to enter my career into Education.
High school is where I started playing sports. Sports impacted my life hugely, which is something I did not realize would change my life, until I graduated. In grade nine I decided to quit basketball. I was too “cool” and didn’t feel I had the time to play and also enjoy a social life. In grade ten Mr. Clark sat beside me one lunch hour and worked out a deal with me so I would play. In his words “I was too good of an athlete to be sitting on my ass all winter.” That was a huge moment of change for me. He pushed me and expected a lot from me. When I was in grade twelve I was the captain of the senior team and learned sportsmanship and leadership from this title. He made our team feel more like family and we grew to become the people we are today from his guidance and support. I would have to say that being apart of a team and having someone as passionate as him coach me was what I remember most of high school. I agree that education is important but the teachers you remember are the teachers that make a difference, go the extra mile, show they care, and support you. I want to be that teacher that students remember for my kindness, but also for my passion of learning and growing with my students. I hope that I can make a difference in my players as Mr. Clark did with me. I want them to have a hard work ethic. I want them to be dedicated to something, anything, that will help them later on in their personal life.
I took my Educational Assistant course after high school. It landed me a job at McLean Elementary School where I started working with a boy named Kieran. Kieran was in grade one and he lives with down syndrome. Throughout the years I built an incredible relationship with him. I did most of my growing as a person when I met him. He has changed my life for the better. He has allowed me slow down, and appreciate the little things. He taught me patience and how to care for people; which will benefit me greatly when I become a teacher. I still have a very special connection with Kieran. When I become a teacher, I want to build connections with all my students. I want them to remember me. I want to impact their lives the way Kieran has impacted mine.
Another student that was near and dear to my heart was named Kaleab. Kaleab was the type of kid that did not open up or trust many people. Fortunately, he opened up to me and we shared a great bond. I tried my best to help guide him and encourage him. I wish I could have done more for him. Sadly, he took his own life when he went to high school. That has been one of the hardest days I had to get through. Comforting his friends still in our school, asking myself if I did enough… He taught me that I need to listen to all my students needs and try my best to find the help they need. I want all my students to know in the future that they can reach out to me in an appropriate manner whenever they need support. I want my students to know that I will seek out advice if I am unsure how to go about situations and I will try my hardest to encourage them and guide them in the direction they need. During this tragedy I also learned that the strong bonds I had with the students translated into forming relationships with the student’s parents. I also want the parents to be able to trust me with their child. While our students were coping with the loss of Kaleab, a parent called the school and asked if I would go to their home and check in on their daughter to make sure she was doing alright. To me that is one of the most important messages: that the parents trust me with their child!
Two very special ladies in my journey have been Ms. Nye and Mrs. Ursu. They were both teachers at McLean School. their hard work ethic, relationship with the students and the community were incredible. I visited Ms. Nye in the summer and she had her school prep work already started on her kitchen table for the next school year. She took the time to form special bonds with all her students. A lot of the time she would get the class started and ask me to watch over them when she took the students with disabilities to work one on one with them. Reflecting back, not many other teachers do that from my observations. I will try to be as hardworking as her and put in the extra effort to have my students succeed. I will make the personalized programs for my students so they can do well in my class. Mrs. Ursu has a heart of gold! She is always thinking of the best outcomes for her students, mindfulness is very important to her and her classroom atmosphere. I aspire to have her selflessness, caring, thoughtfulness, and positive attitude and incorporate what I have learned from her into my classroom. Mindfulness is something we should all be teaching students. We need to start helping our students when they are young how to deal and cope with stressful situations; giving them the tools to help with anxiety. Schools a lot of the time, are children’s escape from the realities of their home lives, especially if their home lives are not a supportive, structured atmosphere. I want my classroom to be the safe place for students, giving them comfort when they walk through the door. I want to teach students confidence and build up their self-esteem.
So far this educational journey has opened my eyes to many opportunities to learn and grow as an individual and educator. I still have so much to learn, but thanks to these people in my life, I feel like a have a good road ahead. I think the most important message out of all of the qualities I want to bring to my classroom would be building special and trusting relationships with my students and with parents. Having those relationships, the rest will come naturally. I am so excited for the rest of my chapters to unfold.