As we gear up for the Teacher Training Summer Institute, join us in meeting some of the instructors who were facilitating last year’s courses. In July 2018, we interviewed Rhoda Ezekiel, Vinnie Baron, Louisa Thomassie, Quppia Kaitak and Caroline Inukpuk. They told us about their role as an instructor, and shared their thoughts about how significant this community of Inuit educators has been for them over the years. Today we meet Rhoda Ezekiel.
Public Relations: Tell me about you and where you are from…
Rhoda Ezekiel: I’m Rhoda Ezekiel. I am from Quaqtaq and I have been working with the school board for 29 years. At the moment I am working as Teacher Training Counsellor, but I have been teaching for a long time before that, almost every grade!
*Note : Rhoda was interviewed in July 2018 and she is retiring this summer.
PR: Which course were you teaching at the Summer Institute this year?
RE: I was teaching the course Students with Behaviour Difficulties. The course is designed for behaviour technicians, student counsellors and teachers. We also had a vice-principal taking the course, Christina Kaitainaq, from Kangiqsujuaq. The course focused on the analysis of difficult behaviour in students and on the development of prevention or intervention plans. It is important to identify what causes a problematic behaviour, as there are different strategies we can use to address them.
PR: What do you hope participants will take away from this course?
RE: I would like them to feel comfortable making Individualized Intervention Plans that will help student resolve their behavioural issue. During the course we also looked at the different resources students could be referred to. For example, some behaviours have physiological causes and require follow-up with health specialist. This can really make a difference in the child’s life. So, I hope that participants will go back to their communities with an additional set of tools that will help them help students.
PR: What will you remember from this specific course and the group you were working with?
RE: The course turned out very well I think. It is a new course. There were resources made available to us to develop it, but everything was in English. So, myself, Annie Tertituk and Maria, the McGill consultant, worked on a very tight schedule to identify all the content we wanted to cover. We made sure it would be presented in a format that relates to the real challenges participants encounter on the job. The thing I will remember from this course is how open all participants were to engage in the activities we proposed. We benefited from everyone’s input, from the way everyone engaged with the content we were presenting. This is very precious, it will really help us enhance the course next time it’s offered.
PR: Are you also a McGill University graduate?
RE: Yes, I am. I first got involved in order to get my teaching certification from the Quebec Ministry of Education. This was my goal. Once I received it, I was already used to attending the courses offered by the Teacher Training program. I enjoyed them. Being with fellow teachers from all over Nunavik provides great learning opportunities. So, I just continued! I completed all the credits required and I was awarded a Bachelor of Education by McGill University in 1998.
PR: So, you have been involved with the Teacher Training program for many years now, and in all sorts of roles…
RE: Yes, I don’t even remember when I attended my first course! I was first a student, then I became one of the program’s Alumni and finally I have also been an instructor for the courses. I remember I was approached by one of the former directors of the Teacher Training program and asked to teach Inuktitut grammar. I remember thinking to myself “yeah, this is something I can do”. That’s how I started working as an instructor. After, I taught subjects related to the social and emotional development of a child. I am passionate about this and really enjoy teaching this content.
PR: What would you tell the next generation of Nunavimmiut about choosing the profession of teacher as a career option?
RE: To the younger generation of teachers, or to those who just entered the profession, my message is: start taking over what we are doing. A lot of the certified and experienced teachers are retiring, or are close to retirement age. So, the next generation should try to follow in our steps. Those who are still relatively new to the profession need to take their job seriously, I mean that they need to be serious about their passion. For example, my passion is behavioural development and language. I can relate to these subjects personally and use my passion as a basis to expand my knowledge and expertise as an educator. This is my message for the new generation of teachers.