I was born and raised in Ottawa and I completed my Bachelor of Science at Carleton University. My program elements allowed me to pursue various areas of interest, including a double minor in Neuroscience and French Linguistics. My childhood nicknames include Hurricane and Dennis the Menace, so it should come as a surprise to nobody when I say that my sense of wonder lead me to mischief on more than one occasion. After one particular incident my first grade teacher told me the cautionary tale of how curiosity killed the cat. Luckily, the proverb hasn’t quelled my inquisitive nature and I consider myself a lifelong learner, a laugher and a dreamer. I have a love for all things adventure-related and I am an avid fan of exercise: I can usually be found trail running, hiking a mountain, doing yoga, or playing hockey. I also enjoy trying new things and being challenged: I am new to skiing and mountain biking.
Meeting Rachel Lacroix
What is your most memorable experience from your time in the Faculty of Education?
I completed my Bachelor of Education through the West Kootenay Teacher Education Program (WKTEP) in Nelson, BC. Having the opportunity to explore and travel to small communities around the West Kootenays with my cohort and with the program coordinators was really meaningful. There’s something really beautiful about this place and I consider myself lucky to be able to teach here. I also had a wonderful mentor teacher who opened her classroom to me from the very start. My practicum experiences were really meaningful, as I too was able to learn and grow in a welcoming environment.
Where has your education from the Faculty of Education taken you in your career?
After finishing WKTEP, I was hired full time at a small high school in SD8. I had the chance last year to take on a full time Learning Support position before returning to the classroom. The bulk of my current teaching assignment consists of English Language Arts and French 7-8. With that said, being a rural educator means that one may be assigned a variety of courses. I’ve had the pleasure of also teaching Career Education 7, Science 7, Graduation Transitions 12, and Psychology 12.
Where do issues of inclusion find a place in your life or at work?
When I tell people that I am a teacher, I am sometimes met with responses which suggest this notion that my job is centered on my ability to deliver content. The reality is that a successful teaching career, at its core, hinges on my own ability to learn and adapt. This has some interesting implications when you are a struggling learner yourself. I feel lucky that my passion for education guides me through, but I didn’t anticipate the extent to which my own struggles with learning would continue to permeate virtually every aspect of my job, albeit to varying degrees. It is frustrating and crushing at the worst of times, but there are perks that outweigh the drawbacks: Firstly, I empathize when a kid is struggling. I also encourage them to see these obstacles as opportunities to try something new, to work together, and to think outside the box. Like I said, I love a good challenge. Secondly, struggling has allowed me to take ownership of my own learning and to advocate for my needs. I try hard to model this for my all my students, not just those who are struggling at any given time!
I am still navigating how my own challenges with learning shape the way I learn and how I make sense of the world, but I have come to a point where I wouldn’t change this aspect of who I am if I was given the chance to. And this brings me to an issue in inclusion that I find relevant and interesting.. What do we validate in our children, and what do we seek to “fix”? It’s a question I don’t have an answer to. All I know is this: As teachers we are taught to honour all our learners and I think it’s important to apply that same framework when it comes to understanding and honouring all humans.
Do you have any words of wisdom for current students? Newly graduated folks?
Stay curious and stay passionate… My advice would be to continue exploring who you are as a learner and as an educator. Cultivate your teacher identity and really take the time to celebrate who you are and what you have to offer, because I think it’s an important part of having meaningful interactions with your students (and colleagues) and is crucial for authentic learning experiences.