For this project I chose to interview a close family friend, Christina Cameron. She is a grade 7 and 8 teacher at Citadel Middle School.
Why are you passionate about your job?
I am passionate about my job because I believe teachers can have an amazing impact on the lives of their students, not just through curriculum that they teach, but also through interpersonal interactions as so much learning happens outside of the curriculum. I also try to make learning fun for my students through math games, hands on science experiments, and student choice.
What obstacles have you faced to get you where you are today?
Initially, the application process was frustrating because of its subjective nature, and because the program was limited in size. However, throughout my teaching career, the greatest challenge has been having to deal with class size and composition, particularly in a needy school. I spent many years teaching in a school where there were 6+ students who were formally identified as needing learning support, but in reality, over half of a class of 30 students needed significant learning accommodations to be successful. This also coincided with a government who was not supportive of public education and those supports for students were constantly being taken away. This re-instatement of our stripped collective agreement by the Supreme Court has made big, positive changes in the classroom for teachers and students. There are still some classes with more learning needs or too large class sizes, but for the most part, both of these have been significantly reduced. Some learning supports for students are also coming back. This year we have seen a small increase in the amount of student service teachers and counsellor time at our school.
What advice would you pass onto someone interested in what you are doing?
It’s not an easy job to do, despite the good hours and the holidays. Most good teachers spend a lot of time outside of the regular school hours planning, marking, writing reports, furthering their own learning, coaching, etc.
Would you be open to further contact from Riverside students and if so, how can someone contact you?
What is an aspect of your job you find challenging?
Dealing with administration can be a challenging aspect of the job – both the people in administration, as well as the directives/procedures that govern our practice. For instance, the recent curriculum change was delayed beyond its implementation phase with changes still happening as we were supposed to be teaching it. There was limited or no support for the changes, and the associated changes to reporting are still extremely frustrating (particularly for middle school teachers due to the creative school organizations that also arose this year.)
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is interacting with my students and building connections with them.
Questions for me:
Why you chose to interview this individual:
I chose to interview Ms. Cameron because teaching has been a job that I have been interested in since I can remember. Several teachers have impacted me whether it be from them teaching me, or from knowing them and that being their profession. I think teaching would be a great job, especially since I am able to speak French. It would be a wonderful opportunity.
What you learned from the interview and how that connects to your passions/interests:
I learned a lot from this interview about how class sizes and students who need learning assistance is very impactful, and also that curriculum changes can be very difficult for teachers to transition.
This job connects to my passions and interests because I have a passion for learning, and have had a passion for learning since I was very young. I love school, and more specifically the opportunities that I have to be able to learn. That is partly why I am interested in this profession, someday I would love to be able to help students expand their own knowledge about whatever interests them.