Reflections of growth after graduation

Bachelor of Education students look at themselves then and now


Every September, Mount Royal’s new Bachelor of Education — Elementary (BEd) students are introduced to their program through a custom orientation session that includes one very special task.

“We ask the students to write a letter to themselves, imagining what they will be like and what they will have accomplished when they graduate from our program,” says Dr. Norm Vaughan, PhD, professor in the Department of Education.

The letters are then sealed and stored until graduation while the students work their way through their courses, including extensive hands-on experience in elementary school classrooms during each year of the program.

Students normally receive their letters in person, but due to the pandemic this year they were mailed out to the new alumni.

“In order to capture the spirit of this activity, we invited students to video the process of opening their letters, reading them, and then reflecting on what they had written at the beginning of their MRU BEd journeys,” Vaughan says.

Watch four of Alberta’s new teachers open and read their letters, dated Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, to see just how far they have come over the last four years.

 

Karina Berrade Valleau
Bachelor of Education — Elementary, 2021


 

Four years ago Berrade Valleau wrote, “I am inspired by friends and family who continue to teach the next generation to be the good in the world and accept and love all.”

Barrade Valleau became slightly emotional when reading her letter, which gave her words of guidance such as, “Be strong, be passionate, be compassionate, love and inspire unconditionally. Study hard, because you and they are worth it.”

Upon the conclusion of her reading, Barrade Valleau thanked MRU, professors, staff, peers, colleagues and everyone who helped add these “four new rings to my tree of life.”

 

Rachel Eisbrenner
Bachelor of Education — Elementary, 2021


 

Eisbrenner’s letter advised her to be confident in her voice and opinions, but never to force them on others.

“My three wishes for you would be that you come into your confidence, that you are able to connect with all of the children around you and show them how much care for them, and that you are able to engage fully and completely with your life,” she wrote.

Eisbrenner thinks she achieved what she set out to do, especially with her final practicum. That is where she truly found her confidence, she says. “It’s been so much of my teaching presence, and I’m glad to see that’s where I was going, even in my first year.”

 

Sarah Huscroft
Bachelor of Education — Elementary, 2021


 

As a reaction to her letter, Huscroft says, “It’s just amazing that even at that time I was so passionate, and that passion has just grown.”

She had no idea how much she would come to understand about creating “wonderful, inclusive classrooms,” in support of every person, Huscroft says, and commits to exemplifying that learning every day.

As she leaves Mount Royal, Huscroft takes with her the long-lasting friendships she has made, “amazing teachers by my side,” who will continue to be there as she moves forward with her career.

 

Sabahat Paracha
Bachelor of Education — Elementary, 2021


 

Paracha’s letter reminisced about her inspiration to go into education ― the many encouraging teachers she once had. She also thanked her friends and family for always being there. Looking back, she is pleased with how she set up her goals and then worked to achieve them. She has her sights set on teaching Grades 2 to 5, feeling sure in her skill set.

“This is amazing,” she said after reading the letter. “Wow. So many memories just came by.”

Mount Royal’s Bachelor of Education — Elementary provides students with extensive experience in the classroom right from the very first year.

June 28, 2021 — Michelle Bodnar

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