'I get to make a space for self-discovery and allow students to shine up their personal star'
What is your education?
Bachelor of Education, Brandon University
When did you know you had found your discipline?
I have 3 younger sisters, so by the time I was 10, I had a class running each summer using leftover pencils, crayons and notebooks. Along with one-legged Barbie’s, farm dogs and barn cats, my sisters let themselves be my students.
Why did you choose to work at Okanagan College?
I never thought of adult education as a career for myself. One of my employers from the late 1980s seemed to think I would be good at it and recommended me for a position at Okanagan College. I am forever grateful to him. His name is Henry Sundquist.
What do you like the most/least about the work you do?
That’s easy for me. I dislike any kind of administrative tasks I have to do. What I like best is being with my students in the classroom. I have learned so much from them over the years. They have taught me how to be a better instructor and a better human.
Favourite/least favourite teaching experience?
My least favourite teaching experience used to be June, when students and I both began to run out of steam. I have learned to change it up a bit and now it’s better.
I have two favourite teaching experiences. One is watching the students from the creative writing course, called "Writing Your Life," publicly share their work at the end of the semester. When they step up to the mic and begin to read, it’s a great thing. The second favourite teaching experience is watching the sense of empowerment students develop when they take the history course “History of People with Intellectual Disabilities.” The sense of empowerment enters them like a glowing flame. I love that.
Who gave you the best advice you ever received?
Rather than advice, it’s a piece of wisdom from my dad who was a humble man. He cheered for the underdogs and would affirm, “They are doing the best they can, poor buggers.” I go for the underdogs too. In my job I get to make a space for self-discovery and allow students to shine up their personal star.
Where are you the happiest?
I am happiest in nature, surrounded by forests, flowing waters and the sky.
What matters most to you right now?
Right now what matters most to me is to be a respectful human.
If you ran the world?
I have thought about this quite a lot. If I ran the world, all world leaders would be women. The age to join the military would be raised to 65. All civic leaders would be people with disabilities. Don’t you think that would shake things up a bit?
Adult Special Education
Adult Special Education programs at Okanagan College provide the support students need to reach their full potential. Our programs are part of a life progression – integrated where possible – teaching independence and encouraging interest in a lifetime of learning and working within the community.
What programs are available?
- Basic Skills A
- Basic Skills B
- Advanced Skills
- Preparing for Access to Careers and Education
- Supported Access to Modified Education
Acccessing Adult Special Education programs at Okanagan College is easy: the first step is contacting the administration department to set up an intake interview.