Hi, I'm Steph!
Nice to meet you!
Although I grew up essentially my whole life in Canada, I was actually born in France. My family moved to Ontario when I was still a baby. At home, I grew up speaking French with a metropolitan French accent. English was my second language and I picked it up quickly. I attended French Immersion school and graduated from high school with a French Immersion diploma. Over the course of the years as a French speaker in Canada, I picked up a French Canadian accent as well.
My mother was instrumental in my decision to study French and History. At University, I graduated with a double major with honours in French and History thanks to her. She was passionate about History which rubbed off on me growing up. She was a teacher who turned elementary school principal which meant I had first-hand knowledge of the education system and followed in her footsteps.
I also come from a large family of educators which has helped me develop so much in terms of my professional growth. My mother, brother, sister in law, another sister in law, my brother in law... we're all teachers so I bet you can imagine what the conversations are like around the dinner table at holidays! haha
I graduated teacher's college in 2008 in Ontario, Canada and fell in love with teaching. Not only was I a natural, it was also incredibly rewarding to see the impact on students' reaching their fullest potential! (What I call "lightbulb moments").
In Ontario, there are 2 streams for learning French as a second language. French Immersion, in which students are immersed most of the day in the French language from an early age - and core French, which is when students receive French during an instructional learning period approximately once a day starting in grade 4 until grade 9.
I began my career teaching Core French in high school. I enjoyed it, however I missed the opportunities of teaching fully in the French language. I taught grades 9, 10 and an 11/12 split University focused classes. At the time there were few French Immersion positions at the highschool level, so I jumped to the elementary school system.
At this time, I learned how to teach grades 1 through 8. I thoroughly enjoyed teaching grades 6 through 8 though. Eventually, having my own kids at home in the primary grades, I decided to switch career paths again and focus on teaching primary grades, 1 through 3.
I might be part of the minority of teachers who actually enjoyed teaching virtually during the covid pandemic! I'm a tech oriented teacher and loved the opportunities that teaching online through the pandemic provided to me and my students. Learning became a part of my students' everyday lives, and not just something that happens in a brick and mortar school. That in itself is a huge deal for young kids to learn and keep with them for the rest of their lives.
At home, I'm a wife and mom to two boys - who mean the world to me. I am also a fur mama to our cat and young fluffy dog! Over the course of the last decade, many new policies implemented in the school system meant I was spending less and less time with my children and family. I see teachers getting less and less time to prepare amazing lessons, which leads to less rewarding or fulfilling lessons for students... which leads to less fun learning. Curriculum makers have jammed so much content and material into each grade's expectations that there is little to no room for fun and play in any grade. Learning has become more of a check-list for policy makers and less about actual cognitive understanding through concrete and experiential learning opportunities.
So you know that thing I mentioned earlier about being fulfilled in seeing students reach their fullest potentials? That's what drives me? Yeah. There's very little of that happening now. Add to that, that my family is missing out on time with me... it was an easy choice for me to leave the public school system full time to create my own private teaching practice as a result.
This way, I can get back to what it means for students to learn. Kids learn best by doing things they enjoy. By using their individual passions and interests to fuel further and deeper learning. To me, learning should be a joyful experience. Students should be co-creators of what and how they learn.
For me, teaching virtually allows kids to know that learning is ongoing, and that it doesn't just end when the bell rings to go home at the end of a brick-and-mortar school. Learning is fun! Learning is all about harnessing curiosity to know more about things, about life and the world around them.
As a mindset coach, I also help keep the curiosity and the positivity going in lessons. As a result, my students tend to feel happy, healthy and safe to attend classes where they know their teacher cares for them and wants the best for them. It's a fundamental cornerstone to my teaching practice and philosophy!
Children who grow up seeing learning as something only done in a school setting, who see it as a chore, as something to just get through - they grow up to become adults who resent learning and don't grow. I don't know about you, but for me? That's not the kind of society I want my own two children to inherit and live in.
If you're a parent who also believes that learning is lifelong, that it can be fun, full of wonder... and that it doesn't need to be seen as a chore for kids - then maybe, I'm the right teacher for you and your kiddo.
Thanks for reading,