'I want to help erase math phobia, one person at a time'
What's your educational background and area of interest?
I have a Bachelor of Science with a major in math and a minor in Biology (UBC), a Bachelor of Education (UBC), a Master of Mathematics for Teachers (Waterloo). Currently, I am also a school trustee for School District 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap). I am passionate about teaching for understanding and helping people become life-long learners.
When did you know you had found your discipline?
This was the hard part! I knew I wanted to be a doctor, physiotherapist, or a teacher. My physiotherapist said I shouldn’t be a physiotherapist because of my bad back. That narrowed it down to two. I still hadn’t decided by fourth year university so I decided to go teach in Japan for a bit to experience a different culture and see if I liked teaching before applying for my teaching degree or med school. I loved teaching (and Japan!) and now here I am almost 20 years later still enjoying teaching.
I also couldn’t pick which major and minor to do because I loved all the sciences and math so much. I ended up taking more science courses as electives and changed my major almost every year until I graduated.
Why did you choose to work at Okanagan College?
After having my kids, I wanted to work part time while they were young. A part-time job opened up at the Salmon Arm campus and I applied. I loved the atmosphere of the college and the smaller class sizes. I decided that I would like to stay and now work here full time. I couldn’t imagine working somewhere else! We have great students and an excellent staff. People are very welcoming here.
What do you like the most about the work you do?
I love working with students. I often work with people who struggled with math in high school, but end up being very successful at the college in Salmon Arm, with our smaller class sizes and more one-on-one attention. It is very rewarding work.
Favourite teaching experience?
I love it when students tell me that they never liked math before but they now enjoy learning it. I want to help erase math phobia, one person at a time!
Who gave you the best advice you ever received?
Do something you love to do, rather than choosing what pays the best. I heard that from many of my high school teachers and counsellors. Life is much more enjoyable when your work is rewarding.
Where are you the happiest?
I do love my work but I also love gardening, walking my dog and reading. I also like renovating so I constantly have projects on the go at home.
What matters most to you right now?
Keeping a balance between work and family. Some months can be very busy, but I have to remember to spend quality time with my family as well as keep up with my work obligations.
If you ran the world?
I would like to see math taught differently in elementary schools. I think we need specialist teachers, starting at a very young age. Teachers who are weary of math pass that on to the students. I would also like to see financial literacy taught better in high schools. Many Canadians have an appalling lack of financial skills. I am slowly writing a book geared toward helping people with their finances from a Canadian perspective.
What is Adult Academic Career Preparation?
Adult Academic Career Preparation is also known as upgrading - when a student out of high school returns to take courses. People of all ages and backgounds sign up for upgrading classes, which are often the first step to an amazing new career and life for many students.
Why upgrade your education?
- Complete high school graduation requirements
- Upgrade your high school marks
- Complete pre-requisites for College programs
- Develop your reading, writing and math skills
- Improve your career opportunities
How much does it cost?
Upgrading classes are free! There is also financial help available to cover extra costs like student fees, partial travel costs and unsubsidized child care.
Talk to the Administration staff at your campus for a copy of the grant application and help completing the form.
Upgrading is available at each Okanagan College location, and it is easy to get started. Stop by the campus administration office to talk to someone, or fill out this simple online form to begin the process.