August 7 – master class

14/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. Embarking on a Masters degree requires a lot of mental fortitude as the journey you set upon is very time consuming, arduous and takes a toll not only on yourself but others around you – specifically family. Add to this that I decided to enroll in a 1 year full time program while also maintaining my full time teaching job – yes, a glutton for punishment is what I am! Well, two simultaneous courses into the summer portion of the program with a bunch of personal and professional issues coming to the forefront, I approached my advisor to quit the program and just opened up about the stress I was going through. If I had any other advisor, I’m sure I would not be with my completed degree at this moment. This amazing soul by the name of Stephen sat me down in his office and the next words blew my mind. He told me that “you are not going to fit a Masters program, we are going to fit a Masters program around you”. I was in shock. The entire foundation of my Masters was redirected to my benefit. He registered me into two further summer classes for later in that summer – they were the toughest required courses and he was the instructor. I worked my ass off as I did not want anyone feeling sorry for me and I don’t take free rides not that he was going to give me one. He then helped me redefine my thesis which was around the Pedagogical aspects of ethnic students and instead I completed a 200 page project ending up being an autoenthnography on “Self Identity and Representation as an Educator” – an amazing discovery of who I am and what it means to be me in my educational career. I have never ever learned so much and enjoyed education as much as I did while completing my Masters program. As my year was nearing an end, Stephen told me that in his entire career, he had never worked with a Masters student with the work ethic that I had: completing the course and project work in a year while teaching and to academic rigour – okay, I will shamelessly admit that I did end up with a 96% average in all ten courses. He told me that he would keep me in mind if a job ever appeared at UBC working with student teachers. I thought it was just something he probably said to all his advisees but 3 years later, he kept his word and emailed me about a teaching gig at UBC. Unknown to me, he was also on the interview panel having a 1/3 say on the decision and once again, I did not want to disappoint and worked that interview to where I ended up with the job – hey, I quoted Obama’s winning speech and made fun of beauty pageant contestants’ contrived answers to my advantage. I proved myself in the role at UBC as my contract was extended for the maximum 3 years. I thank you Stephen so, so very much. The support you gave me and the subsequent doors that opened because of that support – I am forever grateful.


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