Rural Reflections #3

Two Student Teachers’ Perspectives

Studying and practicing to become a teacher in one’s hometown is a dream for most people who grow up in a rural area. Miranda Bella and Stephanie Mervyn are two student teachers living this dream. Miranda and Stephanie are attending the West Kootenay Teacher Education program at Selkirk College in Castlegar, BC. The West Kootenay Teacher Education Program allows these students to graduate with a UBC Education Degree, all while reaping the benefits of living in their hometown. Miranda and Stephanie grew up together and both graduated from J.L. Crowe Secondary School in Trail, BC. They both highly value their education and upbringing in this rural community, and have now returned to share their values with future generations, and teach in their hometown.

While studying at WKTEP, the girls enrolled in EDCP 331 – a social studies course aimed at Elementary School Teachers. Miranda and Stephanie are both in the Secondary cohort, but took this course as an elective. Within this course, they were able to visit many rural schools in the West Kootenays, including Lucerne School, Edgewood, Crawford Bay, as well as attending a Pro-D day in Burton. The community that was established within these schools was phenomenal – each school was filled with mature students and remarkable educators who all shared a very close bond. At Lucerne School, Miranda and Stephanie observed blended learning in action and felt right at home throughout their entire visit. All of the students were so close with one another and the teachers played an integral role in building community within the school. The older students seemed to play a mentor/mentee role with the younger students, which made this school community so unique and special. There was a major emphasis on place consciousness and understanding the community of New Denver, and each student graduated from this small school with great leadership for future careers, and many other lifelong skills.

The experience of visiting these rural communities and their schools has been invaluable for Miranda and Stephanie. Each field trip has provided the girls with a new and fresh perspective on rural education. Not only do Miranda and Stephanie benefit from gaining perspectives of those who live and work in the area, but they are fortunate enough to be surrounded by close friends and family during an intensive yearlong program. The benefits are endless!

Miranda Bella and Stephanie Mervyn, WKTEP Teacher Candidates, 2012-13

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