Checking in with Mount Royal alumni: Elia Gindin
Your name, program and year of graduation at MRU
Mr. Elia Gindin, Bachelor of Arts — History, '05 (Athabasca University/Mount Royal College collaborative)
Describe your career path
Entering ninth year teaching Grade 8 Language Arts and History at the amazing Foundations for the Future Charter Academy, currently taking Masters of Education at U of A. Previously taught grade 7.
What do you miss most about being a student?
The connections you were able to make with your professors and peers because of Mount Royal's small class sizes.
What was the most important course you took at MRU and why?
I took an incredible fourth year public history course. Through this course, for the first time, I was able to truly delve into the problematic history of the First Nations people of Canada and think about ways of preserving and lifting their history. It was an inspiring course that enabled me to look at Canadian history through a very different lens.
How have you invested in your community since MRU?
Every year in my 8th grade class we make sandwiches for the Mustard Seed. This year we made almost 200 sandwiches, which although is just a drop in the bucket for the near 1000 sandwiches they need a week to feed less fortunate Calgarians, our class feel like they are making a real difference in our community.
What is the best piece of advice you received at MRU that helped prepare you for your career?
Not a specific piece of advice, but I would say the amount of support I received, collectively on a daily basis, from the History faculty gave me the confidence I needed to go on and to hopefully be successful. They pushed, they believed, they bolstered and I will carry that with me every day when I walk into my classes and think, “I need to be a positive influence today.”
My love and desire to pursue higher education stems directly from my beginnings at MRU! I still have so many of my past professors to thank. Most notably, Jennifer Pettit, PhD and Scott Murray, PhD, who are still at Mount Royal — what an inspiration those two were!
What is your claim to fame?
I have two:
1. Inviting into my classroom to speak to my students an individual whose family hid Jews from the Nazis during World War II. To hear her and her family's story of courage and fear was one of the most incredible teaching moments of my career. I hope that experience was as moving for my students as it was for me.
2. Being a country-wide finalist for the 2012 Governor Generals Award for Teaching Excellence in History. I didn’t win, but it was seriously awesome being a finalist amongst such amazing teachers across our large country.