Friday, 25 November 2011

Bridging Classrooms and Cultures

Last week, I had the opportunity to join a few online sessions that were part of the Global Education Conference. I found these sessions to be quite informative and a convenient method of learning. The session used Elluminate, which allowed participants to view a common whiteboard as well as the speaker and a chat room.

One session that I attended was called “Bridging Classrooms and Cultures” hosted by Robin Dirkson, a teacher at Lead-Deadwood High School, Lead, South Dakota.

Robin spoke of a collaborative project that she is conducting with a school in Uganda. At Robin’s school, her students are collecting information about native plants and their competitors, and are applying treatments to reduce invasive species. They have called this the “Englewood Springs Botanical Area Project”. These students are also investigating the environmental requirements of many unusual native plants, in a groundwater dependent ecosystem. Using this information, they are creating a virtual herbarium online.

Robin has been able to establish a connection to a school in Uganda, in which students are also participating in the same project, calling theirs “Plants of the Gulu Region”. The students at the Lacor School, Uganda, are collecting images, tying the images to GPS coordinates and sharing what they know about the uses of their native plants, thus also constructing a virtual herbarium.

In true collaborative form, students at both schools are getting to know each other as pen pals and are sharing information about their lives and their data. Together they are investigating what plants they have in common, which ones are native vs. cultivated and what the plants are used for.

I was extremely impressed with this project! Robin has been able to integrate many different learning goals from biology, math, geography and information technology into one project while taking her students outside of the classroom to investigate and research the plants in their community. By collaborating with the students in Uganda, all the students involved are learning from each other and discovering another culture, making new friends and sharing their knowledge and learning experiences. This is possible via technology such as wiki sites, Skype and online platforms like Elluminate. What an amazing experience this must be for these students!

I would love to be able to incorporate something like this in my class in the future. The use of Elluminate alone is revolutionary and is a great method of allowing global collaboration and communication in real-time. I have now participated in quite a few of these online discussions/presentations and am impressed with how easy they are to join and how they truly bridge the geographical gap between participants. It is quite amazing to be sharing ideas and chatting with people from around the world with such ease. As teachers, I feel that if we can incorporate this technology and collaborative projects such as this one in our classrooms, it would be very beneficial to our students and their learning.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Lessons Learned from My First Teaching Block - 11U Chemistry

I survived my first teaching block! What a rewarding, exhausting and amazing learning experience! I had intended to blog my progression through the teaching block, however I had not realized how busy I would be learning how to teach.

4 weeks ago I ventured into the teaching world into Gr. 11 University level Chemistry at Burlington Central High School. I was lucky enough to be mentored by a phenomenal associate teacher, Leigh Macklin. Leigh’s encouraging, positive and realistic attitude and teaching practices really helped me translate my ideas on paper to actual teaching in the classroom. Her patience and willingness to share her ideas and resources were invaluable to guiding my lessons. As well, Leigh was so incredibly organized in terms of her unit planning which gave me a base to work off of.

During my observation days, Leigh had given me the choice of teaching Gr. 11 U, Chemical Quantities Unit or Gr. 12U Heat Unit and I had chosen to teach the 11U class, thinking it would be easier. Boy was I wrong! So I embarked on the rollercoaster of teaching Chemical Quantities to Gr 11U students.

My first 2 weeks were quite exhausting as I adapted to commuting from Guelph to Burlington and as I created lesson plans from scratch. Being the perfectionist that I am, I agonized over each lesson plan and conducted extensive research on different pedagogy and instructional strategies for the different concepts that I was to teach. After hours of work on one lesson plan, I would bring it to class to review it with Leigh and she, very kindly, dissected my plans and basically taught me HOW to teach students. My theory was sound and I was taught about instructional strategies and pedagogy in my classes at Brock, however the actual "know-how" and realities of every day teaching was not something that I had. Thanks to Leigh, I feel like I have learned this "know-how" but still have lots to learn! I have also learned that a teacher really needs to know his/her class well and understand how they learn. Luckily, I was able to quickly develop a good rapport with my 11U students and identify with them and their learning styles.

A few lessons that I learned the hard way - previous knowledge and time management!! Even though Leigh pointed out that I need to remember where the students are coming from and what their current knowledge is, I still managed to make some incorrect assumptions that led to student confusion. For example, I introduced the concept of the "mole" and Avogadro's number = 6.02 x 10^23 without realizing that the students had not formally learned scientific notation and did not know of the EXP key on their calculators! I realized this at the end of the moles lesson and set out to make up a summary sheet and practice problems regarding scientific notation. In retrospect, I have learned that when teaching anything that involves math, these math concepts, however basic they seem to me, must be reviewed in an introductory lesson when starting the unit. For the unit that I taught, 11U Chemical Quantities, it would be well-advised to review scientific notation, rounding, significant digits as well as ratios and proportions. After reviewing these, I would provide an informal assessment such as an exit card or a quiz to ensure that all students understand these concepts. This would help ensure student success.

Another lesson learned was time management during class. I spent my first few lessons trying to teach many examples to the entire class and trying to ensure that every single student understood what I was talking about. This resulted in my teaching for the entire class time! However, I have learned the value of stopping my lesson after teaching the concept and showing one representative example thus allowing the students to try to apply the concepts by starting homework questions during class time. To get to this point, I had to literally talk through my lesson at home and time myself. I then doubled the time I took at home and used this as my guideline in my lesson plan. I found that it was much more effective to give students the time in class to start their homework and apply their newfound knowledge during class time. This built up their confidence, allowed them to collaborate and share ideas and allowed me to provide individual assistance to those students who required it.

Overall, my first teaching block was a resounding success. I learned so much and developed even more of an appreciation for all the work that teachers do. I met great students and enjoyed facilitating their learning during the four weeks that I taught them. It was hard to say good-bye to them on my last day and it was especially hard to say good-bye to Leigh. She taught me so much in four long weeks and I am so happy that I was paired with such a dynamic, effective teacher. Thank you to Leigh Macklin and her students at Burlington Central High School!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

My First Website

I'm very excited to have finally completed my first website - a Google Site that can be found here -

I have never made a website before and have always thought that this was a job for "professionals". I was quite amazed when I was introduced to Google Sites and how easy it is to set a Google site up.

If you navigate to my site, you will see that I have been able to use a variety of different resources. I have a tab labelled "About me" and this links to my page. As well, I have a tab that navigates to this blog of mine.

I will begin teaching at my practicum school (in Burlington, ON) on Monday and I have geared my Google site to the class I am teaching - Grade 11 Chemistry. On my site there are a variety of general chemistry resources as well as resources specific to the unit which I will be teaching. I was able to organize the wealth of resources I found on the internet via LiveBinders ( and have found this to be an invaluable resource! I have created 2 different binders of e-resources, organized with tabs and sub-tabs (like a real binder!)

I have also discovered Google Calendar and have linked my practicum teaching schedule to my Google site.

When I start teaching on Monday morning, the first thing I will do is introduce myself to my students and tell them about me. The next thing I will do is direct them to my Google site. I hope they take advantage of the variety of resources that I have compiled for their use!

I am still figuring out the Google site and would love to hear any tips you may have. I would like to have a forum for my students to post questions but I am not sure that I am able to do this with my Google site. It would be nice if I could share a certain part of the site (question/answer page) - similar to a wiki - but leave the rest of the site "locked" so it cannot be modified. If anyone knows how to do this with Google sites, please let me know.

I look forward to my students using my site and will be posting their views on it.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

All This in Just 7 Weeks!

This week is our last week of classes - starting Monday, we will begin our practice teaching by actually teaching 1 class in our placement schools. I will be teaching Gr. 11 Chemistry at Burlington Central High School. As the week progresses, I am reflecting on all that I have learned in the past 7 weeks.

I have been introduced to brain chemistry and the teenage brain being "under construction". I have discovered student-centred/constructivist learning. I have learned about the Ontario Curriculum Expectations, Instructional Strategies, Educational Psychology theories/research and many aspects of Educational Law. I have been cautioned about Lab Safety and discovered strategies for teaching Chemistry and Biology. I have learned all about Assessment as, for and of Learning and about Evaluation. And of course, I have tried my hand at lesson planning - "Brock University style"!

However, the most surprising of all has been my tech course. This optional course (I/S Technology in the Classroom)is one that I had struggled with due to a variety of reasons - time constraints, completely new material and working outside of my comfort zone. On multiple occasions, I had convinced myself to drop this course. Yet, I stuck with it and what to I have to show for this? A lot more than I thought I would! In the span of 7 short weeks I have managed to accomplish the following:

-join Twitter (@shailjaguelph) and follow/communicate with educators & colleagues via Twitter;
-create and maintain a regular blog;
-partner with a Virtual Associate Teacher (VAT), follow her on Twitter and keep up with her blog from which I learned a whole new perspective to teaching (see earlier post);
-join the class "Ning" and use it for networking
-use the above resources to develop and maintain a PLN (professional learning network);
-understand the importance of being "tech-savvy" in the classroom and learn about 21st Century fluencies;
-use Google Docs, Google Forms, Google Reader and Google Calendar;
-create my own website via Google Sites;
-use LiveBinder and About Me;
-learn about the importance of our personal "Digital Footprint" and how to educate students of the importance of this.

Overall, I feel that what I've accomplished in this course is invaluable to my career as a Teacher. I especially realized this today when I met a friend for coffee and she asked me about school. I told her what I have learned about constructivism and student-centred learning. I proceeded to launch into a long spiel about my blog, website, PLN and digital footprint when she stopped and asked me "what's a blog?" 7 weeks ago, I asked the same question! And here I am now, with my own blog, google site, live-binder etc. I've come a long way in 7 weeks and look forward to using my new-found tech resources in my new-found teaching career!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Shelley Wright - "Super-VAT"

Through my technology course, I have had the valuable opportunity to be paired with a Virtual Associate Teacher (VAT). My VAT is Shelley Wright, who is a high school educator in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. She says “I love learning more than anything else; this blog is part of that journey.”

While we have been expected to contact our VAT regularly with problems or concerns regarding our teaching, I have not yet had a need to do this. I did contact Shelley for an interesting idea (“hook”) on how to introduce the concept of cells to a Grade 8 classroom and she was kind enough to suggest some osmosis and diffusion experiments and to direct me to her class wiki.

At this point, I thought “what’s a wiki?” and I explored the link she sent me. The Biology page of Shelley’s wiki can be found here and she blogs about her wiki and how she uses it here .

Shelley uses her class wiki (website) to build a “virtual” textbook and consolidate a variety of resources that would be helpful to her students. What an exciting idea!! This is the perfect way to go beyond the constraints of a paper textbook and provide information to students through a variety of media. For example, when teaching students about cells and cell structures, Shelley has used a video as well as a “live and interactive” cell diagram. Basically, she has constructed a multimedia textbook for her students to learn from. Before meeting up with Shelley, I had never heard of this! This is something I will definitely implement in my teaching practice. I am currently working on compiling resources for the Grade 11 chemistry class that I will be teaching during my 1st practicum block.

Though Shelley’s wiki was quite informative and “ground-breaking” for me, her blog was even more so ( Reading Shelley’s blogs have truly revolutionized my thinking regarding a teacher’s role in the classroom, teaching practices, a teacher’s impact on students and vice-versa. Earlier in my blog, I posted a video clip (RSA Animate) on a lecture by Sir Ken Robinson. I understood his views but remember thinking “how in the world do you incorporate this into every day teaching??” Reading Shelley’s blog posts has answered this question for me. It has also shown me real life examples of how to implement “student-centred” learning in a classroom.

So while I may not converse with Shelley Wright on a regular basis, I find myself reading her blogs and conversing about them with my friends, family, instructors and classmates. She recently blogged about Inquiry Learning and boggled my mind! She described how, for one class, she dumped a large bag of sand, salt and pepper in a large bowl, mixed it all together and then asked her students to separate the mixture – “Go”. What? No instructions? No procedure? I was baffled! The fact that her students embraced this problem and worked on a variety of different techniques to actually accomplish this, is a testament to the value of this type of instruction! The students learned that the scientific process is all about the journey, not so much about the results! I read this blog and presented this same “problem” to a couple of classmates and a teacher friend. They all had the same reaction I did “Hmmmm, I don’t know”. Shelley’s students had to think through this “problem” and apply their knowledge and skills to solve it through critical thinking and collaboration. I can’t imagine how rewarded they must have felt when they were able to separate the mixture! Shelley explained more inquiry-based activities in detail in her blog “Inquiry Learning: This Isn’t Scary At All” -

From this VAT’s blog alone I have learned so much about the reality of teaching, student-centred learning and the fact that teachers are human after all and can and will make mistakes. I must admit that I have been recommending this blog to everyone I meet and have emailed the link out to many of my friends who are teachers.

So even though I have not yet needed to solicit specific advice on a variety of different topics from my VAT, I feel that I have benefitted from Shelley Wright’s blog and amassed a large wealth of learning from her anyway. Trust me, you really need to read this blog! Check it out at

Monday, 10 October 2011


On Friday, I went to my placement school (Burlington Central P.S.) for my second observation day, which happened to be a PD session. The first part of the session was on Numeracy.

The 1st thing we were asked to do was define “numeracy”. We were given a pile of “math” problems and asked to classify which ones were “math” problems and which ones were “numeracy” problems. I participated in this activity with a group of seasoned high school teachers and was relieved to find out that I wasn’t the only one who did not quite understand what “numeracy” is.

Numeracy is equivalent to literacy. Literacy is considered an essential skill in our society and illiteracy has a stigma associated with it. As educators, we feel a major need to eradicate illiteracy. However, the same enthusiasm is not extended to numeracy. Numeracy refers to an individual's ability to understand and use mathematical information at school, at work, and in everyday life; for example, handling money and budgets, using measurements for cooking, or reading a map.

We may take numeracy for granted, however the statistics are shocking! A study in 2003 found that 50% of high school graduates were not numerate! They measured at Level 1 and Level 2 – Level 3 numeracy is considered a level at which an individual can function in Canadian society! According to HRDC Canada,

“In 2003, roughly 45% of Canadians aged 16 years and older attained numeracy scores at or above Level 3. This means that over half of adult Canadians did not demonstrate levels of mathematical skills and knowledge associated with functioning well in Canadian society. The proportion who achieved Level 2 numeracy (30%) was the same as the proportion who achieved Level 3 (30%). The proportion with Level 1 was only slightly lower (26%).”

WOW – what a shocking statistic! Can you imagine if these numbers applied to literacy in Canada? Everyone would be questioning the foundations of the education system! As teacher candidates, we must be prepared to teach numeracy in our courses, no matter what the subject matter is.

As a challenge to my fellow teacher candidates – especially those of you NOT in math or science – how can you incorporate numeracy (basic, functional math skills) into your lessons? Remember, numeracy skills are math skills at a Grade 8 or 9 level.

Have a look at the video clip below. A real life example of why basic numeracy is so important! Warning – you will need patience to get through the entire clip!!

Monday, 3 October 2011

My Annual Dose of Inspiration...

Yesterday, I had my annual dose of inspiration. I almost missed it, but I managed to squeeze it in – thank goodness! Yesterday, I joined 1300 people in Guelph and 170,000 Canadians in supporting the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s Run for the Cure.

October snuck up on me and even though I have participated and supported this event for the past 6 years, I hesitated this year. I defaulted to the standard excuses – “I’m just too busy juggling school and home”, “its going to be cold and raining”, “I have homework”, “I’m tired” etc. etc.

On Thursday, I stopped at my friend/neighbour’s house to ask if she had signed up. Secretly I hoped she would say “no” – no such luck. Her co-workers had assembled a small team and she was going to join them – way to give me a kick in the butt, Carolyn! I joked about how I’d “just register” this year and pay my $40 fee to walk & spend time with Carolyn, who I haven’t seen in ages.

Sunday morning – drag myself out of bed to a dreary, windy, VERY COLD morning. Dressed in layers and made my way downtown Guelph to find parking. As I walked to the “square”, I heard it……bagpipes. My heart wrenched. How could I have possibly thought not to come??

I hurried to the square and waited for the opening ceremonies. As always, my vision blurred with tears as the bagpipe band played and led a small group of women in pink T-shirts – the Warriors – the Survivors. These women marched and I cheered and screamed for them as they past me in a blur of pink. I managed to wipe my tears and shake off my goosebumps, only to brace myself for the variety of speeches that followed. One speaker was a woman currently fighting breast cancer. She called herself a “Warrior”. She told us of seeing her doctor and being told she had breast cancer. Her response was “I have a meeting in 20 min and 2 proposals due tomorrow – I don’t have time for cancer!” WOW. She was given 1 week to get her affairs in order after which she started aggressive cancer treatment. Her story was amazing and she is still fighting.

I looked around at the people surrounding me – all had tags on the back of their shirts “I’m running for…” and they all had a variety of names and relationships on them. Some had photos of their loved ones who have been claimed by this disease. One lady pushed a stroller with an infant seat covered with a canopy to which a tag was pinned – “I’m running for…my Grandmother whom I never had a chance to meet”. Cue the tears….

How could I have hesitated to support and participate in this amazing event?? How could I have gotten so caught up in my busy life, that I forgot about the “big picture”??

I stood there in the cold and tuned out the speeches of the sponsors and politicians as I scanned the crowd, looking for my special friend Sandi. The first time I joined the Run for the Cure, I showed up with my 1 year old son in his stroller and was going to walk the 5K alone. I knew that I was joining a worthy cause, but it was one that I thought affected “older” people. The first person I met (in the parking lot) was Sandi and her family. She asked me to join her team and I walked the whole way with her. Her story was the most shocking and inspirational story that I heard. She is my age and her son is the same age as mine. She was diagnosed with the most aggressive form of breast cancer while she was pregnant with her son and she had to deliver her baby prematurely in order to start very aggressive treatments to combat her cancer. 7 years later she is a happy, healthy, cancer-free Mom of a beautiful, healthy little boy. Her story hit me so close to home and made me realize how blessed we truly are to have our health. She faced all adversities, battled her cancer and won and is living a normal life just like you and me. Her courage, strength and enthusiasm for life have always inspired me to be grateful for what I have been blessed with. She has put a real face to this cause.

Every year since that year, I have canvassed my neighbours, friends and family to raise money for Breast Cancer Research and have captained a team of friends to participate in the Run for the Cure.

This was the first year that I haven’t met Sandi. Thanks to Facebook, I know that she and her little boy are both healthy and happy. This was also the first year that I hesitated to register for the run, I didn’t collect donations and I didn’t captain a team. I lost the “big picture” while I muddled through my busy life. I resolve to not let this happen again! I am blessed to have my health, a wonderful husband, two great kids and loving family and friends.

I am determined to not lose sight of the “big picture” again. If I do, feel free to remind me! I will try to remember Carolyn’s wise words every day – “There is a beautiful sunrise on the horizon - look up and enjoy it! Don’t get caught up in the weeds and garbage at your feet”. You are wise woman and a great friend Carolyn. Thanks for showing me the big picture, once again!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

To Blog or Not to Blog.....

I have been experiencing significant anxiety over having to blog my thoughts, views and ideas as I progress through this chapter in my life – teacher education. Part of this is not having the time to physically sit down and take time out to compile my thoughts – however, there’s more to it than that.

I have managed to take some time to read and view my colleagues’ blogs and after reading their blogs and those of other educators that I’ve discovered online, I always come away with the same thought – “WOW!” The insights, thoughts, views and ideas that have been shared via blog are all very profound, interesting and thought-provoking.

Hence my anxiety….dare I actually say the words? Here goes…am I good enough?? Will I make a fool of myself??

This thought is quite ironic since those who know me personally know that I am an outgoing, fairly confident person. I have no problem speaking out and sharing my views – whether it be with friends, colleagues or classmates. I stay true to “say what you mean, mean what you say”. I’ve never worried about “being judged” or “what will people think?” as long as I remained respectful and true to myself.

From a young age, I was taught to “be myself” and I never hesitated to do so. So, in Grade 5, when all the girls went crazy about the latest boy band (NKOTB), I stuck with my favourite music (hip-hop/rap) never worrying about “being different”. When I thought it would be “cool” to get my nose pierced, as a tribute to my heritage and culture, I didn’t hesitate to do so. Safe to say, I was the only kid in Gr. 7 to make such a bold statement (in the 90s) and I was “persecuted” by peers for my choice, but I didn’t care. This was my way of expressing myself.

So why, at this point in my life am I all of a sudden afraid to share my thoughts and views?? Well, first, the sharing platform is one which I’ve never used before. But that’s not really it. After much reflection, I’ve realized that its actually quite scary to “put myself out there” – out where? Out into cyberspace…where my classmates, instructors, education colleagues and other can read my thoughts and “judge” me. Whew! That’s scary! What if they think I’m a raving idiot?

So now I am faced with a few choices. I can forget this whole blog idea (along with this optional tech course that I am taking), I can continue to blog but in a more “professional, scripted voice” or I can just “be myself” and take a personal risk. What would you do?

I believe I will have to take some advice from Nike and “Just Do It”. I will take the risk and “put myself out there” – the REAL me, not a scripted, edited version of me. I have to be true to myself and practice what I preach. I have told my kids a countless number of times “be yourself” and I guess its time that I take my own advice. So here goes….wish me luck!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

It Will be Worth It...

I have a confession to make....during my 8Y59 (computer tech) class today, I (once again) considered dropping this optional course! I've considered this multiple times always rationalizing that I am already overwhelmed with balancing the required B.Ed. courses and being a mom and a wife, SO bottom line is that I do not have time for all this extra work!!!

That said, I am enchanted by the potential world that this course is opening up to me. So here I am, at midnight (while my family sleeps), browsing the blog of my VAT (Virtual Associate Teacher) and I find justification for my enchantment! Shelley Wright is a high school educator in Moose Jaw, SK and I've stumbled upon her reflections in June.

Among other interesting things, she says:

"I realize that over the past 10 months I’ve become a completely different person than who I was a year ago......A year ago, I wasn’t on Twitter. Now my PLN is invaluable.....A year ago, I didn’t really blog. Now it’s part of who I am. It’s how I actively try to make sense of the world. And it has connected me to people who challenge my thinking and help me to be a better teacher."

In another post, Shelley talks about the "flipped classroom" - a concept that is both mind-boggling and fascinating to me! Definitely something that I want to try during my practicum!

Reading these blog posts shows me the potential that this course holds for my personal and professional growth. It gives me the reassurance that all that we are learning in this tech course truly is applicable in real life.

We are being taught a variety of methods and strategies for effective teaching, yet when I read through this educator's blog, I am more convinced than ever that technology is the way to go! Sure, it will be challenging and a lot of work - as are most rewarding things in life!

I'll have to remember all this, the next time I get overwhelmed by all this "extra" work!

Note: Our instructor has made every effort to make this course "non-stressful", however as a busy Mom and new student, just finding the time to sit at a computer is quite difficult! (Hence my blogging at midnight!)

Changing Education Paradigms

So here I am in my second week of my Brock U. Week 1 was was full of "how to be an effective and engaging" teacher and how "socratic" teaching is not the most effective strategy to use all the time. This came as quite a surprise to me! I graduated from my B.Sc. in 2001 - a full decade ago - and my entire university learning (except labs) was all about listening to lectures, scribbling everything down, memorizing it and "spitting it" back out on the final exam! I have to admit that I remained slightly unconvinced but then my colleague Iain showed me this amazing video which reinforced a lot of what we are being taught.

Here's the video - check it out! Thanks Iain! (

Friday, 9 September 2011

Week 1 Assignment Questions

  1. Why am I taking EDUC8Y59?
  • I believe that to be an effective and engaging teacher in an intermediate school setting, it is vital to stay current with the latest informational technology and to be able to apply it regularly in my lesson plans.
2.  What is my view of technology in education?

  • In this day and age, children are exposed to a variety of technologies at a very young age.  Young children have been exposed to regular use of computers, the internet, cell phones, tablet devices and a variety of electronic gaming devices such as Nintendo DS, PSP, Wii and Xbox.  Children, for the most part, really enjoy use of these technologies in general.  If we are able to harness that interest and direct it into learning and education via technology in the classroom, we will be able to couple the pleasure and "fantasy" derived by electronic technology with the ability to teach/learn a variety of different concepts in the classroom.

All About Me!

I was born in Toronto and grew up in Markham (northeast of Toronto).  I graduated from high school after 4 years - back then that was "fast-tracking" since high school was actually 5 years.  I entered a B.Sc. program in Microbiology at University of Toronto (Scarborough) and completed 2 years there.

In 1998, I married my sweetheart, moved to Guelph and transferred to University if Guelph's Microbiology program.  In my first year there, I took some biochemistry courses as my restricted electives and discovered how much I enjoyed this subject!  As a result, I changed my major to biochemistry, and used my microbiology credits towards a minor.

I completed my Hon. B.Sc. with a Major in Biochemistry and a Minor in Microbiology in Dec of 2001 from the University of Guelph.  Through-out my education I worked part-time at my husband's laboratory and continued working there full-time after I graduated.

At the lab, I had a variety of opportunities to broaden my skills and experience while working both in a technical position in the laboratory and an administrative position in the office.  I learned a great deal about office management and customer service!

In August 2003 we were blessed with a beautiful baby girl, Raadha and the following November we welcomed another blessing - our little boy, Raam.  So began the "Mom" chapter of my life.  It was hectic and exhausting but also the MOST rewarding job of my life! Raising these babies into functional human beings was quite the task, but I managed to do my best at it.

When the kids started school, I returned to the laboratory as a technician and tried to balance work and family.  Whilst attempting this, my daughter begged me to "help out" in her kindergarten classroom.  The day I did, sealed my fate!  I was welcomed with open arms by her most wonderful teacher and I made it a point to volunteer in the classroom on a regular basis.

I took that summer off to be home with my kids and as the summer came to an end and I was looking at going back to the lab, I realized that I would much rather be working with children.  On a leap of courage and faith, I told my husband that I would like to apply to a position that involves working with children as opposed to in a lab.

I was immediately hired my the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph and started out in the child care.  I then moved on to the Youth & Preschool Dept. where I relished planning and running the preschool program and youth programs.  I especially enjoyed teaching the cooking class "Kids in the Kitchen" - teaching 6-12 year olds how to cook!

I continued my volunteering in my childrens' classes and expanded this to volunteering to teach "Art Image" lessons as well to Gr. 5 and Gr. 6 classes.  I finally had found my passion for teaching!

I channeled this passion into creating and running an educational after school program for children.  I also worked for Mad Science, as Mad Scientist "Beaker" and thoroughly enjoyed teaching science to primary students.

Throughout all this I was given very positive and encouraging feedback from a variety of different people and this always led to the same question of "Why aren't you a teacher?  You'd be a great one!"

So, once again on a leap of faith and courage I decided to apply to B.Ed. programs at Wilfrid Laurier University and Brock University.  The application process was a bit stressful and imagine my surprise when I found out I was accepted into the programs!!

I had my choice of P/J (K-Gr. 3) and J/I (Gr. 3 - 6) ate Laurier or I/S (Gr. 7-12) Chemistry & Biology at Brock University.  Though all my educational experience has been with primary and junior students, I decided to challenge myself and accept the admission offer from Brock University for the I/S program.

So here I am - starting University again after 10 years!  It will be interesting to see how well I can juggle being a student, a mom and a wife all together!