Gwen first fell in love with the idea of teaching while volunteering in her sons’ classrooms. However, at that time she was not prepared to go back to school to further her education for a teaching degree, so she accepted a position as an educational assistant and started working in the ESL field. This led to the decision to get her TESOL certificate. She is currently teaching at the LTC Steinbach for Red River College.
What is important to you as a teacher?
“I believe in building a relationship with my students. To me this means finding out where they come from, learning more about their culture and their home country and simply about them.
I am not shy to tell them about myself, always careful how much I disclose, but letting them into my world as well. I think that once you have established a connection to the students, they will have a desire to come to class on a regular basis because they feel valued.”
If you could have your students take away one lesson or message from your class, what would it be?
“One message that I would like my students to take away from my class is ‘believe in yourself’. As we grow up in life we have different circumstances that shape us and sometimes leave us feeling hopeless. This is true for our students as well. Each one of us, including our students, has purpose, but sometimes we need to step out of our pasts and our comfort zones to achieve that purpose.
I tell my students that they amaze me. Many of them study while raising families or working a job. To study a language at the same time takes energy, courage and determination. Often, progress is slow, but if we and they believe in ourselves, even when times are difficult, we can move forward and achieve our goals.”