Culinary Arts Teacher, Yellowknife Education District #1
I was born/grew up in: I was born in Winnipeg, MB, Canada, but grew up in Sioux Lookout, ON, Canada.
I now live in: Yellowknife, NT, Canada.
I completed my training/education at: I have completed the following post-secondary education. Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Political Science from the University of Winnipeg. Culinary Arts Diploma (2-year) from the Culinary Institute of Canada in Charlottetown, PE. I am also a RSE (Red Seal Endorsed) Cook
Describe what you do at work.
In my role as the Culinary Arts teacher at École Sir John Franklin High School (ESJFHS) I teach around 300 students a year the basics of Cooking and Baking. My students are engaged in self-directed learning based on a series of modules. They decide what they would like to cook and bake based on the guidelines of the modules and in discussion with myself.
As a teacher I am working with about 75 other educators and around 700 students each day. Teamwork is perhaps the most important aspect of my day-to-day work, as it frames all aspects of my work. Over the course of the day I have students working on a variety of modules, each working at their own pace. This requires a lot of flexibility on my part and on the part of my students. At ESJFHS we have 85 minute classes where the students will either be doing module work (book work), or they will be cooking. In their time in the kitchen my students have to do their cooking and cleaning before the end of the class. This requires a tremendous amount of planning and hard work on their part to ensure that all of the work is done before it is time to go to their next class.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect people’s lives?
As a Culinary Arts teacher I am fortunate enough to be teaching my students skills that they will use for the rest of their lives. Everyone needs to eat, and knowing how to cook your own food is a very important life skill.
What motivates you in your career?
The best aspect, and the one that motivates me the most, is working with the students and seeing their growth over their time working with me in my classroom. My primary goal as a teacher is to form relationships with my students, as I believe that this is the only way that learning can occur.
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
I came to my teaching career in a round-about fashion. I was working as cook in a variety of restaurants over the years before I began teaching. It was when I began coaching high school students for the Skills Canada National Competition (SCNC) in Cooking and Baking that I discovered how much I loved teaching. It was not what I expected to be doing with my life, but am very happy to have found this path. I have now been working at ESJFHS for 8 years.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
Outside of teaching I am heavily involved with Skills / Compétences Canada. I coach students for the Cooking and Baking competitions. I organize the Baking competition in Yellowknife, NT for the Territorial Skills Competition. I am the National Technical Committee Member for the Northwest Territories in the Cooking competition. In this role I help organize the national cooking competition. I am the President of the Skills Canada NT Board, a member of the Skills Canada National Board
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
Try everything, and do everything. Experience has taught me that you will not know where life will take you or what career path you will discover and find rewarding.
Let’s Talk Science is grateful to Skills Canada Northwest Territories for connecting us with this individual.