Mugi Masaki is a Secondary French Teacher at H.J. Cambie Secondary School in Richmond, British Columbia. She completed her Bachelor of Arts (French and Mathematics), her Bachelor of Education (Secondary French) and her Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) certificate at the University of British Columbia. Since then, she has taught Core French, French Immersion and ELL at both the Elementary and Secondary levels. She has also founded and coached multiple high school cheerleading teams, including the Cambie Cheerleading Team who were named Provincial Champions in 2019.
According to her mother, being a teacher has always been Mugi’s calling; from a very early age, her passion has been caring for children. However, her desire to pursue this career was also a result of her experiences growing up as a second generation Japanese immigrant in a predominantly caucasian community. Discrimination and low self esteem were a part of her every day life, and she knew that she wanted to help students navigate these challenges. Her greatest goal as a teacher is to provide a safe and caring space for each student, and build an inclusive community of empathetic individuals.
What is your most memorable experience from your time in the Faculty of Education?
My most memorable experience was meeting my now fiancé in one of my classes! But aside from that, my teaching practicum was a life-changing experience for me. Under the guidance of my incredibly supportive School Advisor and Faculty Advisor, I was able to gain the skills necessary to pursue my dream career and make the positive difference I wanted to make. The most memorable moment was a couple of weeks into my long practicum, when I realized that despite how stressed I felt, I had never, ever felt so fulfilled. I knew in that moment that this was exactly where I was meant to be.
Where has your education from the Faculty of Education taken you in your career?
My BEd has taken me to the career I’ve dreamt of since I was a little girl! I was hired as a temporary French/ELL and French Immersion teacher in my first year after graduation, and was hired as a continuing Secondary French teacher in my second year. I am currently a full time teacher and cheer-leading coach at H.J. Cambie Secondary School, a school that consistently promotes multiculturalism and inclusivity. I feel very blessed to be part of such a wonderful community.
Where do issues of inclusion find a place in your life or at work?
As a visible minority, discrimination and issues of inclusion have always been a big part of my every day life. Although questions like “Where are you REALLY from?” or assuming that I am less capable may not be ill-intentioned, this does show that we must change our colonial ways of thinking. This is why I believe that events like Orange Shirt Day and the Annual Women’s Memorial March are so important; it is vital that we acknowledge the terrible mistakes that Canada has made when discriminating against aboriginal peoples and committing a cultural genocide. By educating ourselves, acknowledging our mistakes and working towards reconciliation, we can pursue a more inclusive society.
Do you have any words of wisdom for current students? Newly graduated folks?
For current BEd students: As stressed as you may feel right now, it is absolutely the most rewarding experience. Don’t forget why you started on this journey, and really enjoy the time you have with your students. Make sure you take the time to be part of the school community by coaching a sport or sponsoring a club, conversing with staff, and participating at school events. And lastly, get as much planning done as you can before the practicum! Trust me, you will be so grateful that you did.
For newly graduated students: Be patient; your first contract(s) may be far from ideal, but your time will come. Give it your all, but don’t forget to take care of yourself. Be a lifelong learner, because there is so much to learn. Congratulations, and best of luck!