Amanda Jensen, BA’09, BEd’11
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years, I see myself well on my way to having completed my MEd degree, with a focus on special education because that is where I think education is heading. Understanding our students in the classroom and the different ways that they learn is invaluable and a key part to being a great teacher. The term "life long learner" is one that was said over and over to us in our BEd degree, but you truly want to know everything you can when you enter this field. You are never done.
What was your ‘aha’ moment?"
A few years ago, between the time I graduated from UBC and was hired as a teacher, I learned that getting hired is all about who you know and the connections you make. I have never been one to put myself out there but I realized I had to start. There are literally hundreds of graduates trying to get jobs within BC every year. I learned that you have to stand out, toot your own horn and show everybody why you deserve the jobs you apply for. Ultimately, perseverance and that hunger that everyone has is what wows them in the end.
What was the best advice that you received?
Be Humble and Show Gratitude. Throughout my teaching career already, I have met many people who have grounded me, taken me under their wing and taught me, listened to me and supported me. It is important throughout your career and your life to live graciously; if you appreciate what somebody has done for you, tell them and don't wait! Gratitude builds compassion, something I believe society is lacking. Maya Angelou said it best when she said, "Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”
What was the lesson you learned the hard way?
I think the lesson I unfortunately learned the hard way was that no matter what anybody tells you, sometimes the most difficult thing about being a teacher is always going to be the emotional; there are days where things happen in a child's life outside of school that we hear about and no matter how hard we try, there is no leaving it within the four walls of the school. Sometimes we take it home with us. Sometimes we hurt for the kids more than they themselves hurt. It's a part of the job.
What did you think you would be doing when you started university?
When I began university, I imagined myself being an intermediate teacher with a partial music assignment. To date, I have yet to teach intermediate or music. However, I have been placed in some amazing assignments that I think I have enjoyed more than I ever would anything else. I also never envisioned that I would become so involved in the BCTF and it's continued fight to advocate for stronger supports for our children in the classroom. It is because of those people I am so gracious to that I find myself moving into a secondment next year to continue to fight for our rights and the future of education in our great province.