Feature Teacher: Diane Mckinlay
Why did you decide to become a teacher?
Other than the fact that I love children, I can hardly remember the reason why I wanted to become a teacher since I can’t remember a time that I didn’t want to be a teacher. Even before beginning Kindergarten I knew that I wanted to be a Kindergarten teacher. My mother always wanted to teach but, due to the economic times of her era, she had to quit school and get a job to support her family. I must have inherited many of her skills, talents, and passions and was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to pursue them. I am now in my 22nd year at McGregor.
What are the biggest challenge and the greatest reward in teaching kindergarten?
The greatest reward in teaching kindergarten is observing the growth and development that takes place from the moment that new JKs enter the school in September until they walk out the door to Grade One or FSK. I continue to be excited about the role that I can play in helping a child begin to develop a life-long love of learning.
The biggest challenge we face in teaching kindergarten is the lack of adult support created by the cut back in the number of educational assistants, a few years ago, to their complete removal a year ago. I am so thankful to have some wonderful parent volunteers but sorely miss the consistency of daily care and educational support that helped me focus more directly on the instruction of my students. Many additional hours have been added to our work week, in addition to planning, with the classroom maintenance and material preparation that it takes to provide a well balanced, enriched Kindergarten program.
What are some of your favourite hobbies outside of school?
Outside of school hours I love to spend time with my family, especially my two grandchildren, Rhyden, age 2 1/2 and Noah age 7 months. I also love photography, sewing, reading, gardening, taking long road trips, and going camping.
What advice would you give to a student who was considering teaching as a career?
My first advice would be for them to really look carefully at their reasons for wanting to teach making sure that a true love and respect for children is at the foundation.
I would suggest that they acquire a wide variety of experience interacting with children with a broad spectrum of abilities and/or disabilities in order to relate with the broad spectrum of students that they will encounter in a single classroom setting.
I would also recommend taking additional courses in subject areas that are in demand by boards of education, such as special education and music.