Growing up in Lethbridge, Azia Burton (BSc/BEd '23) always knew she wanted to join the University of Lethbridge Faculty of Education, but she did some exploring before finding what she was passionate about and committing to majoring in Science.
Do what you love and do not settle for an easier route! If you want to do something and are passionate about it, do it. Even if it seems intimidating or hard, it is so much harder to do something that you are not sold on.
Meet Azia: Determined. Inquisitive. Kindhearted. | Hometown: Lethbridge, AB
Program: Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Education | Major: General Major: Science
Why did you choose to pursue Education at ULethbridge?
Having gone to school in Lethbridge, I grew up hearing a lot about the University of Lethbridge and how amazing their Education program is. I got to experience being taught by practicum students from the Faculty and learning about the great possibilities that come from pursuing Education at ULethbridge. Living in Lethbridge already, and knowing how incredible the program here is, it was an obvious choice to choose the University of Lethbridge.
What inspired you to become a teacher?
Ever since kindergarten I have wanted to be a teacher. For fun as a young kid I would print off worksheets, make timetables, buy math posters and make my siblings play school with me. As I progressed through middle and secondary school, my inspiration for teaching progressed from a love for bulletin boards, to a love for positively changing lives. It was really my experience at Winston Churchill High School in Lethbridge that solidified my choice to become a teacher. Having teachers treat students as valuable humans that are more than just names on attendance sheets, and dedicate so much time to encourage us and support us to success was a huge motivator.
Seeing the positive impact that teaches can have, in the classroom and beyond, pushed me to choose education. I want to help kids recognize their worth, achieve personal success and fulfill their potential.
Did you know what you wanted to study before you came to ULethbridge?
My plan had always been Education, but choosing another major for the combined degree was difficult. When I applied during high school, I was in love with the sciences and felt strongly that that would be what I wanted to pursue. Over the next few months I had immense self doubt and believed that I was not capable of doing post-secondary Science. I talked myself out of it and switched my major to Sociology thinking it would be an easier option to get into Education - but that was not the case. My first semester in Sociology was extremely hard and I lost my love for learning. By second semester I switched back to General Science and pursued my major in Biology, Chemistry and Neuroscience. I was finally loving school again. My grades and morale were high and I had found my thing.
If you know what you love, just do it. Do not settle for something 'easier' because if it's not your passion, it will be so much harder.
What is your most memorable ULethbridge experience so far?
One of my most memorable moments at the U of L was my first lab in the new Science Commons building. I was lucky enough to be in classes during the opening of the building. I remember being in a Chemistry lab while there were public tours happening and herds of people would walk by and peer into our lab. I felt like an animal in a zoo with all the people pointing through the glass and taking pictures of our lab. Although it took some time getting used to having glass walls, I feel so blessed to have had such a fantastic facility to learn and work in.
How have your professors or instructors impacted your education?
I had some amazing professors in the Faculty of Arts and Science, but the best relationships I built were with my Education instructors. Having smaller sized, more intimate classes allowed us to authentically get to know each other and build a strong rapport.
I felt so much encouragement and understanding from my Education instructors. Having been in my shoes before, they always showed genuine care for me, support for my choices, and were the best cheerleaders. They were great examples to me of the type of person I want to be for my students.
Have you received any scholarships or awards? How have they impacted your education?
I have been blessed to receive multiple scholarships and awards throughout my time at ULethbridge. Receiving this type of financial aid has been a great relief and allowed me to focus on my education rather than stressing over finances. Further, it has pushed me to continue to work hard so that I remain eligible for more.
How have learning experiences out in the field impacted your education?
Practicum experience has provided me with more education than the classroom ever has. Being involved in real life, raw, day-to-day life as a teacher gave me great insight into the profession and the ups and downs that I will face. Working with a range of students, mentors, and in different subject areas was extremely eye opening. My practicums were not easy, but I gained so much knowledge from both the good and bad moments. Building strong relationships and turning to those people for support and encouragement was so necessary to persist through hardships and rediscover my reasons why.
What advice would you give to future Faculty of Education students?
There is a lot of advice that I could give to students currently pursuing Education and to those planning on it. First, do what you love and do not settle for an easier route. If you want to do something and are passionate about it, do it. Even if it seems intimidating or hard, it is so much harder to do something that you are not sold on.
Second, ask questions and ask for help. Use the resources you have around you. The instructors in the Education Faculty are amazing and are your biggest cheerleaders. Whether you need help on an assignment, need encouragement during practicum, or need someone to listen to you, they are they for you. Gain as much knowledge from your classmates and teachers as you can, because they are rooting for you.
And third, learn from everything. You may have a terrible lesson, disordered class, or a difficult mentor, but use every experience as a learning opportunity. Just because something did not go as planned, it does not mean that it was your fault or that you are not capable. Reflect, regroup, and try again.
What are your hopes/plans for the future?
The thought of being a certified teacher is intimidating, especially since it is so attainable at this point, but it is something I want to do. I am excited to continue developing classroom management skills, lesson planning abilities and classroom presence to become the best teacher that I can be. I am excited to work in Lethbridge and surrounding areas, and for everything that I will experience and everyone I will meet.
What are three unique facts about yourself?
1. I collect ukuleles and currently have 15.
2. I co-own a clothing boutique with my parents in Lethbridge called MISH.
3. I love painting and freehand calligraphy (if I can't teach Science, I want to be an Art teacher!)
What's your favourite place on campus?
My favourite place on campus is the curriculum lab. It has comfy seating, so many good books, a great view, and is a collaborative environment.
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