I believe that every individual deserves the right to have an education.
I believe that there should be no biases in the classroom, and that all students should be given an opportunity to learn that is unique to their needs.
I believe that all classrooms should uphold a positive learning environment.
I believe that every student should be challenged to their full potential while giving them opportunity to be creative and unique.
I believe that all teachers should foster a love of learning and a dedication to their profession.
I believe that beyond the curriculum students should be taught skills that will help them in life, such as respect, responsibility, and appreciation.
I believe the classroom should be a place where learning is top priority, and that students should have an opportunity to explore the curriculum in an informal and hands on manor while keeping excellent classroom management.
I believe that teachers should have a respect and appreciation for surrounding teachers.
I believe that teachers should have a sense of humour so they can laugh at themselves.
I believe that all teachers should not be afraid to embark on an honest self-assessment of their work and their personal beliefs.
Samantha K. Smith
My passion for teaching began after I was an ambassador for Alberta on an exchange to Spain in 2007. I was a student for two months in Spain, and although I had taken classes in Spanish, my oral and written fluency was not enough to keep me up to date in all of my classes. It wasn’t until meeting an architectural design teacher that took my love of art, and undoubtedly his broken knowledge of the English language, that I truly understood what it meant to have, not only a passion, but a talent for teaching. In this man’s small attempts he showed me kindness, understanding, and patience. He did what he could with what he knew, and challenged himself to give me an experience that would make me feel comfortable enough to challenge myself. I was given an alternative project in this class; he took my love of art, and the classroom curriculum to develop a design concept using pottery. It was one of the few classes that I felt I was excelling in, something I didn’t think possible as a Spanish language learner.
During my two months in Spain I stayed with a family who’s mother was a psychologist working as a grade 3 teacher at the school I was attending. I had only ever thought of going into psychology for post secondary education; I had not made the connection to psychology and working with children yet. After dropping into her classroom periodically throughout my stay, I realized the impact her education as a psychologist had on her interactions with her students. It is then that I decided to strive towards one day becoming a school counsellor. I have since then sought as many opportunities with students. My experience in Spain has led me to a career in teaching. I have seen firsthand from family members who are educators the dedication and hard work that goes into being a teacher, work I might add that often can go unnoticed by some. Whether our efforts are recognized, having students learn something, grow in their character as a citizen, and find their own inspiration is something worth the long hours. I hope to one day be the inspiration that these teachers were to me.
During my APT and IPT I found my experiences as a tutor for ELL and language and literacy to be extremely helpful in my classrooms. I was able to empathize with students who had moved to Canada recently, knowing how difficult it can be to communicate and learn the customs of a new culture. My experience in children’s ministries enabled me to better communicate with parents from different spiritual backgrounds while trying to teach a non-denominational program. I found my work as an educational assistant for Red Deer Public Schools made my transition into the classroom smoother as I went from working with students in grades 6 and 7 in a middle school to teaching a grade 5/6 split. I have worked in out of school care programs for 5 years. I believe this experience to be one of the greatest assets in gaining confidence in large group management, parent interactions, and learning proper inclusion of students who have disabilities such as turrets, autism, FASD, ADD, and ADHD, and Asperger’s.
I taught my first 2 years in Grade 1 with Nipisihkopahk Education Authority in Maskwacis, AB. I am so grateful to have had my first years of teaching at this school. I learned a great deal of patience, care, and flexibility from the staff, students, and families. The students coming into my classroom challenged me to find creative and unique ways to differentiate and implement my lessons and teaching styles. I have been able to use what I had learned in regards to the importance of dedication and balance in my current Grade 1 classroom.
I am currently teaching Grade 1 at Iron Ridge Elementary Campus in Blackfalds AB. This past year I have learned to implement and use assessment and instruction tools such as FreshGrade, QSI data for Word Work, STAR, and Fountas and Pinnell reading assessment. I have had the opportunity of attending the Daily 5 and CAFE 2 day session where I was able to develop my knowledge and skills in implementing these effective literacy strategies and mini lessons. It was my pleasure to assist in organizing and leading Lego Club, Earth Day Grab Bag Challenge, and Gardening Club for our special needs students. I have appreciated the amazing staff at my current school and enjoy the consistent enthusiasm by all teachers to see their students achieve. I will strive to provide this same atmosphere for my future students and fellow staff.
In addition to completing my education degree, I have a great passion for physical fitness. Through summer camps I lead mountain biking, rock climbing and sport activities for small and large groups of children. My love of health and fitness can be seen through my lesson plans and classroom objectives. I currently volunteer with Jr. and Sr. High Youth groups and enjoy the meaningful conversations, as well as the positive impact they have on their community as 21st century learners. In the future I plan to complete my master’s degree in school counselling. I hope to instill in my students the same passion for education that I was given long ago. By continuing to be a lifelong learner I know I will be able to provide an inclusive and unique learning experience for all of my students.