OCT OEEO

PS_March_2018

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31 March 2018 | Professionally Speaking ILLUSTRATION: MARTIN O'NEILL/THREE IN A BOX College scholarship recipients share how a sense of adventure, humour and community, among other things, are crucial to success. E ACH YE AR, THE ONTARIO COLLEGE OF TE ACHERS RECOGNIZES TE ACHING E XCELLENCE BY AWARDING SCHOL ARSHIPS TO THOSE STUDYING TO BECOME TE ACHERS. WE CAUGHT UP WITH A FEW PAST RECIPIENTS TO SEE WHAT THE Y'RE DOING NOW, WHAT THE Y'VE LE ARNED AS TE ACHERS AND WHAT KEEPS THEM MOTIVATED. Jennifer Cook, OCT 2013 recipient of the Joseph W. Atkinson Scholarship for Excellence in Teacher Education J ennifer Cook likes to travel off the beaten path. Literally. Since graduating from her teacher education program in 2014, the Ontario Certified Teacher and artist has been living and working in Iqaluit, Nunavut, incorporating arts-based learning strategies in her teaching. Cook fell in love with the Inuit culture when she worked briefly in Ottawa, which is why she chose to work farther afield. "I love learning about the Inuit people and their connection to the land. We don't have traffic, streetlights or fences. I love the strong sense of community." Despite the differences between working in big cities like Ottawa and more remote ones such as Iqaluit, Cook says the principle of teaching remains the same: it's about reaching your students. She personalizes her strategy and teach- ing methods as much as she can to suit individual student needs. She also says that being open to learning from her students has kept her inspired. "For them, it's the wonder of learning and the possibility of every day. They have an amazing sense of adventure and an openness to learning something new." Cook continues to keep her love of learning alive. She attended the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education last summer in Toronto, initiated a professional development workshop on creativity in the class- room for teachers in Iqaluit, and completed an independent study on arts-based learning strategies. In 2015, she finished the Dance Part One Additional Qualification, and volun- teered at a Waldorf school in Toronto. In the near future, the busy teacher plans to return to the Huntsville area, where she grew up, to teach, and hopes to start a community garden there — a place for everyone to grow and harvest food together. For Cook, the key to keeping her passion ignited both in and out of her classroom is to be as creative as possible. "Incorporate what you love — painting, singing, dancing — into your teaching." BY OLIVIA YU

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