Our Stories

Finding my place with the Calgary Board of Education

EDUC_Pics_Wildwood Elementary

Saralyn Winston has begun her first year teaching adventure as a Grade 1 teacher at Wildwood Elementary School with the Calgary Board of Education (CBE). She was very fortunate, as this is the only school board to which she applied. Her journey began with a CBE interview during her 4th year practicum. This led to being hired on their substitute teacher list. When she found out, Saralyn was so excited that she came to MRU to tell the Department of Education faculty members about her exciting news. She had a substitute teacher meeting with CBE right after she finished her 4th year classes, and during the last week of June she got a phone call from the principal of Wildwood Elementary School for an interview. The interview took place in the morning on the last day of school. The following Monday, the principal offered her a Grade 1 teaching position and invited her to come over to the school to see her new classroom. He also invited her to participate in the end of the year staff meeting the following day.

Saralyn then had the summer to prepare for her first teaching assignment, and she was able to come into Wildwood School the week before school started to set up her classroom. Her mother and one of her friends from the MRU B.Ed. program helped her set up the room, and her father even came down to help build some furniture.

There are three other Grade 1 classes at Wildwood Elementary and the other teachers have been supportive about sharing teaching resources and ideas with Saralyn. She is also a member of a school Professional Learning Community (PLC) that is focused on literacy.
Saralyn indicates that the program of studies courses in the MRU B.Ed. program were very helpful in her transition to becoming a 1st year teacher. "They really helped me get to know the entire curriculum for elementary education. For example, I knew how to plan lessons for language arts, math, science, and social studies. During both my practicums, my mentor teachers told me that they would often have to teach students from other education programs about the various programs of studies and how to write lesson plans. I came with that knowledge to Wildwood, so that has really helped me transition to my first year of teaching."

Saralyn's advice to first year students is to work on developing their professional identities as teachers as quickly as possible. "Start thinking of yourself as a teacher candidate rather than a university student. Get ready to enter the profession of teaching".