Brittany Young (BA/BEd’17) grew up in a home filled with caring support as her parents returned from teaching each day to talk shop, sharing ideas and perspectives and, always, laughter. When Carol (BEd’80) and Greg (BA’81, BEd’86) Young retired in 2015 Brittany was poised to continue their work as educators. “I inherited my parents’ colleagues,” she says.
The Young family’s penchant for teaching traces back three generations to when Carol’s grandmother, who left England to teach in pioneer-era Saskatchewan, inspired her not just to become a teacher, but to seek adventure doing it.
“My first year I worked in the Youth Assessment Centre in Fort McMurray,” Carol says. “I learned to look beyond the students’ behaviour to find their hearts and see where they needed help.” After a year she returned to Southern Alberta, but her Fort McMurray experience had instilled in her a passion to teach middle school for the rest of her career. “I enjoyed being a mentor to them,” she says.
Carol also forged strong connections with colleagues. “She’s a great team player,” says Greg, who became a teacher at Carol’s suggestion, serving in several capacities, including special education, before settling into the elementary grades.
He’s a kid whisperer,” says Carol of Greg's natural ability with children.
Carol and Greg emphasize a focus on relationships as key to the profession. Greg recalls teachers dressing in costume and engaging in playful antics at school assemblies. “It was about building camaraderie between teachers and developing relationships with the students,” he says. “They had a chance to see us as human beings.”
Today Brittany carries forward the philosophies of her parents teaching at Kate Andrews High School in Coaldale. “Kids don’t change,” she says. “You still have to build relationships with them, not through text, not through email, but face-to-face.” Like her parents, she responds to students with curiosity and concern and was touched one day when a student thanked her.
There are other pleasures too. As a sessional instructor for the University of Lethbridge Faculty of Education, Carol sometimes runs across their former students. She was delighted last year when one of them told her it was Greg’s influence in elementary school that inspired her to become a teacher.
November 27, 2020 update to this story—of interest to teachers in this year of challenge:
Carol shares that Greg continues his part time work with St. Augustine's Church and she has been learning to teach and supervise practicums online. "Teaching is never static," Carol explains, "and it has been a rewarding challenge to learn how to develop relationships and instruct students how to be teachers in an online delivery." Although this will never be Carol's favourite way to work with students, she has learned that just being physically present in the classroom makes such a huge contribution to the depth and richness of relationships. "We will rise to the challenge and give our students the best we have to offer."
Writer: Elizabeth McLachlan, Photographer: Ken Heidebrecht
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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