Teachers are preparing for students with the beginning of school just around the corner.
One of those teachers is Jennifer Howitt, who is beginning her new career this year. The born-and-raised Red Deerian will be teaching Grade 2 students at Barry Wilson Elementary School.
“I’m looking forward to meeting all of my tiny humans,” Howitt told The Advocate just two days before she would meet her first students as an elementary school teacher.
“I’m probably just as nervous as they are. I’m really looking forward to getting to know them and having some fun.”
Classes will begin for Red Deer Public Schools on Wednesday. But teachers have been in schools preparing for the return of students since last week.
Though this is here first year as a teacher, Howitt has spent time working with students. She was an educational assistant at Notre Dame High School for five years before venturing down the path of becoming a teacher.
“I had colleagues say, ‘You should think about going back to school and getting your teaching degree.’ I always wanted a teaching degree, but I never thought I could actually do university,” said Howitt, who is one of 30 new staff members in the RDPS district.
”I took one course and it went well, so I thought I was ready to do it. I was doing part-time and my husband said I should just fully go for it. The day I quit my job (as an educational assistant) I cried all day and he came home with flowers and told me I’ve got this.”
Howitt is the mother of two children: a 22-year-old daughter and a 19-year-old son.
She was offered the job at Barry Wilson Elementary School after earning her teaching degree at Red Deer Polytechnic during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During her practicum at RDP, Howitt taught children in Grade 1. When asked why she wanted to become a teacher, Howitt replied: “It’s the kids. It’s 100 per cent the kids.”
“I find I loved the fun of elementary school. I went to Piper Creek Elementary School and I still remember being in that school. I remember other classmates’ artwork on the wall,” she said.
“For some reason, I can remember seeing all of those pictures on the walls. Elementary school is where my heart belonged. It’s where I knew I needed to be.”
It’s been a smooth start to her career, Howitt added.
“The support here at Barry Wilson has been unbelievable. I feel like I’ve won the lottery,” she said.
“I walked into a school and a division where they were like, ‘We’re here to support you. What do you need?’ It really feels like they’re supporting you for success. Then in turn, we can pass that success on to the kids.”
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