An Educator

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My father was a teacher as was his mother.  I wanted to be a teacher, or a writer.

I am the second oldest of eight children, so when I graduated from high school and I didn’t have enough money to go to university, it just wasn’t going to happen.  I spent a while trying to find work that I was happy with.  After almost a year and a half, I decided to go to night school at the local college in Pembroke to get me back into school life.

The only course that was available was FORTRAN.  For those old enough to remember the programming language, you know that the course wasn’t taught yesterday.  Anyway, I loved it!  So, I signed up for the next  year, but after a year of dreary courses in Pembroke, I got accepted to take a special ten month course in Ottawa that taught Data Processing.  It was a whirlwind set of courses, six weeks of COBOL and six weeks of PL/1 (I have truly aged myself now!) and so on.  But I loved it.

Right out of college, I had three job offers and took a job in consulting, believing that I would find where I truly wanted to work.  My first task was to read database manuals for two weeks, to take a consulting contract as an ADABAS database analyst (aging myself, yet again!). Because of that, I ended up moving to Toronto to work for Consumers Gas, which is now part of Enbridge.  As of April, I will have been there thirty years!

Even though I became an IT person, I still wanted to teach or write and even managed to do some of both in that time.  I taught the Natural course (the user language for ADABAS) for about a year and I taught Junior Achievement (the grade 7 and 8 courses) for nine years, through work.

I have to say, that the most fulfilling teaching I did though, was the seven years of Sunday school I taught when my kids were small.  I taught the 4 and 5 year olds and just loved it.  Preparing for each weekly lesson was empowering.

The greatest learning of all for that age group I discovered was reading.  I would read a story to them one week and the next week, they would ask for it again.  I would ask them about the story and they could tell me about it, but they still wanted to hear it again.

Never underestimate the power of a good story!  Read to children!

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