October 14 – judge a book by its cover and its content

82/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. I started my teaching degree in the September of 1990 and finished the summer of 1991. Because I had a Bachelors of Commerce (business degree), I had to enrol in the Business Education co-hort and become qualified to teach high school business courses – something I totally didn’t want to do as I didn’t enjoy my Commerce degree and wanted to get away from that area but alas, I would be stuck in that subject area because of my educational background for the first few years of my teaching career. I met my co-hort members and most everyone was older than me and had some type of experience in the business world except for simple me who had just finished working for Social Services (welfare) and a couple of side jobs after university just two years prior. Coupled with this intimidation, I also didn’t look the part of the typical business teacher. I had long, shoulder length hair that was just a mass of curls, my own sense of fashion and a style very left of center – basically looking like a reject from an 80s video, that I directed myself! 🙂 Then, in walks the professor, a short chain-smoking Asian woman with a raspy voice – Shirley. I tried to do my best to impress her that year and no matter what I did, it never measured up. She was quick to critique my appearance, my curriculum knowledge (or lack thereof), my “uhms”, “likes” and other hedge words, and well, basically everything about my teaching – she even went so far as to say that she felt that I would not be successful during my practicum. However, not being a quitter, I stuck through with it and decided I would prove her wrong about me although deep down I thought she may be right. I was hoping to complete my teaching practicum in Richmond where I went to school but ended getting my placement in East Vancouver at a school called Tupper – to say that I was now regretting my decision of entering teaching especially with my instructor having very little faith in my teaching was starting to dawn on me. However, it turned out to be a godsend as those students were the exact kids that I needed to work with – they brought out the best in me as I brought out the best in them. I received my first teacher gift ever at the end of that practicum – a gold engraved pen and pencil set from my entire Marketing class (yes, I shed a few tears). I got glowing reviews from my school advisors. Upon my return to UBC to complete the remaining required courses, Shirley pulled me aside and said she was totally wrong about and very impressed by me. I wondered if she had said all the stuff before my practicum to actually get me to work to my true potential especially since she awarded me the Top Practicum Teacher award and the runner up for Top Business Education student award at the end of the year!! I will never know but I have a feeling. Thank you so much Shirley for that indirect motivation to push me to excel during that year which forever changed my life for the better! I throw my cap in the air and tip my diploma to you!

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