October 15, 2021
On this International Day of Rural Women, we are pleased to present Six Questions with Susanne Maguire, the Elementary Program Coordinator for the West Kootenay Rural Teacher Education Program (WKTEP). WKTEP places a strong emphasis on place-conscious learning with strong ties to local communities and school districts. The program provides teacher candidates with the opportunity to develop the professional qualities and effective practices for teaching, with a strong focus on community, collaboration and innovation. We asked Susanne six questions to learn more about her interests.
What are you currently working on?
Since much of my role is teaching, I am busy planning and teaching in-person again. It is so nourishing to have our teacher candidates back sharing this place with us. WKTEP is also undergoing an expansion of our space, and I am very involved in the design and build process. It is so exciting to see a new learning environment coming together. Designing more engaging and effective learning environments is a passion of mine, so I recently enrolled in a certificate program to deepen my understanding and skills, in order to better support our expansion.
What is a topic you’d like to explore more in the future?
Living and learning today requires me, like many of us, to dedicate myself to the process of decolonizing my mindset and my practice. I am also working on new ways to collect and collaborate with our WKTEP Alum in order to maintain and nurture the unique community we develop when they are students here.
Who inspires you and why?
We collaborate a lot at WKTEP, so my colleagues here in Nelson are always encouraging me to consider different ways of being and doing. However, I am always inspired by my teacher candidates: they all come with such incredibly rich and diverse experiences, and their enthusiasm for learning and making the world a better place is energizing.
What is your favourite part of your job?
Being distanced from UBC-Vancouver means we are very reliant on our local team. We each wear many hats, which means I am constantly shifting focus and working on different things. I love working this way, as I find it keeps things fresh and interesting. My favourite time of year here at WKTEP is the certification practicum, in which I advise. I love watching these emerging teachers metamorphose into competent educators—it is a real highlight of my role.
If you could have a super power what would it be?
The ability to complete all the tasks in my email inbox!
What does supporting rural women mean to you?
Rural environments are so diverse and deeply interconnected, and the relationships we build here are foundational. In these communities where bonds are strong, it is important to also be welcoming and to support the development of connections. We offer resources and model the necessity of seeking out interconnective possibilities, instead of being siloed. We are better together!
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.