As Kennedy Dery (BA/BEd ’22) completes her combined degree journey with ULethbridge, she desires to work with children and also hopes to help them grow in their understanding of FNMI (First Nations, Métis, Indigenous) culture. Certified as an Alberta Early Childhood Level One Educator in 2016, she enjoys delving into her Métis heritage and enrolled in several Indigenous courses to further her knowledge of not only her Métis identity but the unique Indigenous cultures of Canada.
I believe that my primary and secondary education did not include enough FNMI knowledge and it is something I really want to incorporate into my teaching and philosophy."
Hailing from Cold Lake, Alberta, Kennedy says she chose to attend ULethbridge because of its highly recognized education program. She majored in social studies with a minor in science while also pursuing a combined degree in sociology.
Why did you choose to become a teacher?
I chose to become a teacher because, since I can remember, I have enjoyed working with children as they learn. Throughout my experience working with children of various ages, I have recognized the various ways that learning can take place. I value the experiences and teachers I had in school. I want to be a teacher who provides engaging and memorable experiences and lessons that students can learn from.
One of my favourite parts about being a teacher is the “ahhh” moment that each student has in their learning process."
It is rewarding to watch a student reflect and process how the information is important to them or where they have encountered this idea previously. As a teacher, I value the moments when students apply what they have learned to a new situation. It shows not only their accomplishments and progress but mine as well.
I have always said I am a kid at heart. There is so much I do with my students that goes beyond the classroom. I love to participate in gym activities with my students. I also will go outside and play with the kids at recess, and I will be competitive with my students to help them understand friendly competition. I love to challenge my students to do the funniest things. There are so many small learning moments that occur just from engaging with students outside of classroom work. My favourite part of my school day will often be a good laugh in the classroom.
What was your most memorable experience while at the University of Lethbridge?
My most memorable experience while at the University of Lethbridge was, first and foremost, the professional practicum and the relationships I made. I was very lucky to continue my placements during the COVID-19 pandemic and there are so many amazing experiences I had throughout my practicums that are impossible to forget. My favourite part of being at the U of L was spending time in the library studying with friends and classmates. It was always something to look forward to because we managed to get a lot of studying done but also made many memories.
What is the most important lesson you learned during your time in the Faculty of Education?
The most important lesson I learned during my time in the Faculty of Education was that learning is a lifelong process. At first, I was unsure about my ability to enter the teaching profession. The practicums I had as well as the courses that accompanied my professional semester provided so much hands-on experience outside of the classroom. I recently completed the final semester of my degree program, and looking forward to having a classroom of my own is exciting. I was nervous and still am, but each school provides ample opportunities to explore, learn and grow as a teacher. Every teacher I have had the pleasure to work with stands behind the fact that, as teachers, we will never stop learning. I enjoy learning from my students the most. They have taught me so much about being a teacher and I am proud to consider them teachers in the lifelong learning experience.
Is there someone specific who had an important influence on your education experience?
There are a lot of people who have made a significant impact during my time in the Faculty of Education. The instructors were always supportive and did their best to immerse themselves in our practicum experiences. I am extremely fortunate in having the teacher mentors I have worked with. They have taught me a lot about being an inclusive and engaging teacher about entering the profession. I also learned so much about the Alberta Teachers Association from the teachers and colleagues I have worked within different schools. I would say the people who had the most influence would be my classmates and peers. Fortunately, I had other education students who were placed at the same school I was for most of my practicums. These were people I drove with every day to and from the school. Talking honestly with peers about our experiences, successes, and failures was the best way to end the day. It was nice to make relationships with other education students. We always helped each other when needed. Whether that meant brainstorming lesson activity ideas or finding resources, we built a relationship that was important to the success of our practicums.
What advice would you give to those who are about to begin their journey in the Faculty of Education?
To those who are about to enter the Faculty of Education program, I want to reassure you that if you put in the effort, time and passion, you will enjoy your time and learn so much. I was worried when I first entered the faculty but I had nothing but great experiences and I have so many memories that I know will stay with me in the years to come. Make sure you work hard. This is not the time to slow down. Put your best into each assignment, make friends with your peers, and ask for help from your instructors, teacher mentors and colleagues. Most of all, make a relationship with each student you meet. The students are the most important part of your learning. Also, take the time to reflect on why you chose to become a teacher.
Writer: Kennedy Dery with Dave Sulz | Photo courtesy of Kennedy Dery
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Becoming a Teacher series:
• Taylor Burke (BEd '14, MA '22)
• Naoko Masuda (MEd '22)
• Kennedy Dery (BEd, BSc '22)
• Karl Hanson (BEd '22)
• Vivianna Lee (BSc/BEd '22)
• Jenn Biglin (BEd '22)
• Eve Buk (Class of '22, BEd)
• Brad Aldridge (BSc '18, BEd '21)
• Sara Bieniada (BMgt/BEd ‘21)
• Ashley Hoisington (BA/BEd ‘21)
• Dominique Point du Jour (BEd '21)
For more information please contact:
Dean's Office • Faculty of Education
University of Lethbridge
Learn more about the Faculty of Education: Legacy Magazine (2008-2019)
Twitter: @ULethbridgeEdu Website: uleth.ca/education
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