To Dominique Point du Jour (BEd '21), each new day is “a new opportunity to make a difference”. Influenced by teachers who made learning a rewarding experience through their passion and care, Dominique is eager to start building such relationships of his own as he graduates from the Faculty of Education and moves on to his teaching career.
With his Bachelor of Education in Mathematics, Dominique will join the ranks of Holy Spirit and Lethbridge School Division substitute teachers, where he looks forward to building his career and having a positive and lasting impact on his future students.
Why did you choose to become a teacher?
The teaching profession is a reflective one, and often the choice to pursue teaching comes from personal experiences of schooling. Some look back on a favourite teacher or positive schooling experience as their motivation, while others, through negative experiences, may have seen the ways teaching and schooling needed to be improved and decided that teaching would be their calling. My path to choosing teaching falls into the former category.
For most of my youth, I viewed school as just a 7-hour obligation I had to fulfil before I could do the things I wanted to do, like play sports and hang out with friends. I didn't hate school, but there were other things I would much rather be doing. It wasn't until Grades 8 and 9 that I really started thinking of school differently. Those two grades were really the peak of school for me; I was really motivated to get good grades, I was very outgoing, and genuinely loved going to school. Looking back on it, I had some really great teachers that made school fun and showed that they really cared about their students. For the first time, I felt like I could see myself becoming a teacher, as I wanted to make the same impact on future students as my teachers made on me.
What were some of your most memorable experiences while at the University of Lethbridge?
During my time at the University of Lethbridge, I had the unique experience of being both a student and a varsity athlete, so I can speak to both of those experiences.
I came to Lethbridge knowing less than a handful of people, so being on the soccer team really helped me make friends early, both with those on my team as well as other varsity athletes. Through my five years on the team, I got the chance to play a sport I love while also meeting a ton of new people, many of which I am still good friends with. From being a 17-year-old kid playing my first game on the road at Trinity Western, to playing my final U of L game in Calgary, where I grew up, I would say the whole experience of being a university athlete was a memorable one.
In terms of academics, the BEd after-degree as a whole is a memorable one for me. I came back to the U of L following taking a year off after my previous degree and immediately loved it. The classes all felt purposeful, the professors were all very supportive, and the cohort I was a part of was full of great people who just wanted to grow together and see each other succeed. One of my favourite experiences was coming up with and implementing my Professional Inquiry Project during my Professional Semester (PS) III. It was basically a mini unit on multiculturalism, diversity, and anti-racism through a Catholic lens, followed by a "country of the day" each day. These are all topics that are very important to me and it was great to see the students taking an interest, specifically in the country of the day, which was very well received.
What are some of the most important lessons you learned during your time in the Faculty of Education?
One of the most important lessons I learned during my time in the Faculty of Education is that you can have the perfect lesson with the best hook, the most meaningful activities, and thoughtful assessment, but if you are unable to manage the classroom, none of it matters. Setting expectations and developing positive relationships with students go hand-in-hand in establishing a good classroom culture. Classroom management starts with establishing clear expectations but is really driven by developing those positive relationships. Students are more likely to respond favourably to you if they feel like you care about more than just their grades.
Another important lesson I learned is to always be passionate about what you teach. If we want students to be engaged in what they are learning, we have to be engaged in what we are teaching. It is too easy, especially after a long day or week to just go through the motions, but you have to realize that your energy as a teacher is contagious. Students will get the most out of your teaching if you give them your all. Be excited about what you teach and they'll be more excited to learn.
Is there someone specific who had an important influence on my education experience?
There are so many people that have helped me along the way when it comes to my education experience. To mention of few briefly, my faith is very important to me, so God, then my family, my girlfriend, friends, and peers. Within the faculty itself I'd like to thank my professors, other faculty staff, my teacher mentors and university consultants.
If I had to pick one someone specific to elaborate on, it would be my first teacher mentor from my Professional Semester (PS) I, Jacquie Lobley. The transition from not teaching to PS I was probably the biggest one for me, and Jacquie really helped me with planning, management, and general advice. I felt like she always believed in me and was a tremendous support for me during my first practicum. She gave me the confidence to try new things and helped me understand that it's okay for a lesson to not go as planned. She also helped reassure me I was on the right track whenever I was down on myself. She is a tremendous teacher and a great mentor for me.
What advice would you give to those who are about to begin their journey in the Faculty of Education?
There are two pieces of advice I can give to those who are about to begin their teaching journey. The first piece of advice is to be humble. When it comes humility, I don't simply mean it in the way of avoiding arrogance, but rather be willing to listen to any advice and feedback you get. There is so much that you are going to learn and so many people who are willing to share their knowledge and experiences, so take all of that in and process it, while also not being afraid to ask for help. You are going to be vulnerable as someone who is new to teaching, so embrace all of the help that you can get.
The second piece of advice I have is to persevere. Teaching is not an easy job, and there is no one that can say they've never had a bad day or a lesson that just went horribly. There will be times when you may question yourself or think that you aren't good enough. Use all of the supports around you and keep going. Each day is a new opportunity to make a difference. You didn't get to where you are by accident. If you are able to positively affect one student's day, you are doing something right.
Link to Dominique’s Professional Inquiry Project “Multiculturalism, Diversity and Anti-Racism from a Catholic Lens” here.
Writer: Nicholas Tuff
Photo/Video: Dominique Point du Jour
Please see selected Faculty of Education links below:
Congratulations to the Class of 2021 from the Faculty of Education
On Becoming a Teacher: Five Questions with Ashley Hoisington (BA/BEd ‘21)
On Becoming a Teacher: Five Questions with Sara Bieniada (BMgt/BEd ‘21)
A collection of stories about the Faculty of Education
Education Undergraduate Society (EUS) website here
Education Undergraduate Society Twitter: @uleth_eus
Faculty of Education Twitter: @ULethbridgeEdu
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)
Twitter: @ULethbridgeEdu Website: uleth.ca/education
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