While many of their students were off enjoying the summer or working part-time jobs, a significant number of Vancouver School Board teachers were heading back to the classroom to hone their professional skills. Meanwhile other teachers headed to university where they taught as sessional professors during the summer months.
Karen Blake and Karen Larsen are two examples of this. This year, Blake and Larsen are sessional instructors in UBC's Faculty of Education where they are co-teaching the course "Health Education in Schools." Their students were pursuing a variety of programs including Masters in Education programs, post-bacc diplomas or finishing up their BEd degrees.
"The diversity of backgrounds of the students attending this program makes it a delightful mix of experience and youth," says Larsen, who holds a full time job at the VSB as the coordinator of career programs.
Larsen has a background in Home Economics and Food and Nutrition courses in district classrooms while Blake, a PE teacher, has done plenty of instruction around healthy eating and physical activity in Planning 10. Their similar (but different) backgrounds in the classroom benefited them at UBC.
"It provides the opportunity to truly collaborate with a colleague, not something we often have the chance to do in our day to day teaching. It's inspiring to work with Karen who is so dedicated and willing to share her knowledge, resources, and experiences," said Blake.
Many of Larsen and Blake's students said the course was invaluable for their summer learning. Tanya Epting, an experienced teacher from the Langley School District, was working on a post-bacc diploma this summer.
She said she felt that the course would help her make learning more relevant and fun for her students.
"I now have so many more resources than I could have imagined - everything from fun introduction games to group activities that will really make the students evaluate what they are learning and work together to find answers," she says. "This is new and forward thinking and I am just thrilled to have my "bag of tricks" to keep my students engaged in learning."