Carole King’s song Tapestry is an appropriate metaphor for the “wondrous woven magic” that has been my career so far. Devoted to continuous personal and professional growth and lifelong learning, I’ve found happiness in trying many different jobs, weaving together my love of teaching, writing, traveling and cultural experiences, and the arts.
After receiving a Bachelor of Education at the University of Alberta, I became a secondary school Language Arts teacher, then transitioned into adult literacy upgrading at Norquest College in Edmonton. My job in adult education involved a mix of teaching, curriculum development, and leadership. Since many of my adult students were Indigenous and immigrant, this was also the beginning of my exploration of how culture impacts teaching and learning. Because I found so little research that addressed helping adult literacy learners, I decided I’d better do my own, earning an M.Ed. in 1999.
During my time teaching at NorQuest College, I got curious about using visuals to promote print literacy. I’d noticed that some of my students improved their reading comprehension and their written expression when I got them to draw what they knew first. This curiosity led me to Ph.D. studies in 2003. I completed this degree in 2007.
Since that time, I’ve tried my hand at all sorts of jobs in all kinds of local, national and international contexts: university professor; applied research coordinator; community education project manager; curriculum and program developer; and teacher of teachers and university professors. I’ve taught solo travel techniques in the community; and, most recently, assisted an Indigenous beader from Canada’s far North to raise the profile of her art.