Education has always been a passion for Joel Tailfeathers (BA'05, BEd'07, MEd’21). After spending years teaching in the city of Lethbridge, his decision to pursue grad school to become an administrator was a goal Joel accomplished in his time as a student.
Why did you choose to pursue graduate studies in Education at University of Lethbridge?
I am a graduate of the Bachelor of Education program at the University of Lethbridge and its teacher education/ preparation is the best in Canada. Along my journey of becoming a teacher my ultimate goal was to complete a master’s degree. I had built relationships through the Faculty of Education and as my job of being a teacher in the city of Lethbridge. The University of Lethbridge Master of Education in Educational Leadership was the perfect program as I always wanted to become an administrator. Faculty members like Dr. Adams and Dr. Mombourquette made the choice easier as they are excellent school leaders.
As an Indigenous educator, what does this mean for you and your community?
I made a huge decision in year two of my program by accepting a leadership position on the Blood (Kainai) Reserve. I am currently an associate principal at Tatsikiisaapo’p Middle School within Kainai Board of Education. I bring my knowledge and experience from working at a junior and senior high school for 12-plus years to not only my middle school but the district as well.
What was your most memorable experience while at the University of Lethbridge?
The most memorable experience at the University of Lethbridge is what all students have taken for granted and that is the in-school classes. Due to COVID-19, I truly appreciate the importance of taking classes in a classroom and being on campus.
What was the most important lesson you learned as a graduate student?
The most important lesson I learned is the importance of time management and the importance of building relationships with staff, students and parents. Finding the time and committing to your graduate readings, homework, assignments and presentations was very difficult working full time as an administrator. There were no weekends off. Building relationships with staff, students and parents is the key to success in any school but even more important for on reserve schools. Part of the difficult task of overcoming intergenerational traumas of residential schools.
Is there someone specific who had an important influence on your experience?
Dr. Pamela Adams is a wonderful prof and even better human being. Her experience working with school leaders is second to none and her kind, gentle demeanour was very appreciative during some difficult and trying times while completing my masters.
What are your hopes/plans for the future?
I have achieved a leadership position by becoming an associate principal, however now that I have experience by being a school leader, I now want to turn my focus on potentially working at the University of Lethbridge in the Faculty of Education by working with students who would want to become teachers. I also want to be able to be a role model to Indigenous and non-Indigenous students and encourage them to continue with their educational journeys.
Why become a teacher? Who inspired? What lessons learned? Here are some voices from the Class of 2021 as well as a message from Dr. Robin Bright, Interim Dean Faculty of Education:
• Congratulations to the Class of 2021 from the Faculty of Education
• Brad Aldridge (BSc '18, BEd '21)• Lisa Patten (BSc/BEd ’04, MEd ’21)
• Sara Bieniada (BMgt/BEd ‘21)
• Ashley Hoisington (BA/BEd ‘21)
• Dominique Point du Jour (BEd '21)
We'd also like to take this time to congratulate our annual award recipients. You may find their stories here:
• Faculty of Education Gold Medal: Lacey Rose (BEd ‘21)
• Alberta Teachers' Association William Aberhart Award: Sophia Larney (BEd ‘21)
• Faculty of Education Grad Studies Medal of Merit: Kathryn Desrochers (BSc/BEd ’13, MEd ’21)
Convocation 2021 Celebration Centre ow.ly/Yqpf50F8HJe
Stay in Touch
We invite you to join our Twitter account which is more than a social media platform, it is a professional development resource. It is comprised of an active community of 11,000+ educators from around the world, our alumni, current students, and Faculty of Education professors. As you continue your teacher journey you can use this active account to share, connect and reconnect with other educators, and to contact us directly Twitter: @ULethbridgeEdu and our Graduate Studies and Research account: @ULethEduGrad
In the future, we hope to see you as teacher mentors to our students!
We would be honoured if you would consider having one our student teachers learn in your classroom. More info about becoming a teacher associate here.
Can alumni borrow Curriculum Laboratory materials? Yes, and more here.
Faculty of Education website here.
A collection of stories about the Faculty of Education here.
Keep your contact information up to date with Alumni Relations. The folks in Alumni Relations have all sorts of benefits and events to keep you involved in the uLethbridge family and it helps us all stay connected.
For more information please contact:
Communications, Dean's Office
Faculty of Education
University of Lethbridge
Learn more about the Faculty of Education: Legacy Magazine (2008-2019)
Faculty of Education Twitter: @ULethbridgeEdu | @ULethEduGrad
BecomeaTeacher.ca | BecomeaTeacherAssociate.ca | EdGradStudies.ca