Amanda Kiatipis

Teaching in Port Hardy (Vancouver Island North) Elementary (KIPP, 2011)

Amanda KiatipisI graduated from the UBC BEd KIPP (Kindergarten and Primary Program) cohort in August 2011 and started my first teaching position in September 2011. After spending the last three weeks of my extended practicum in Port Hardy on Vancouver Island and having an amazing experience, I applied there as a Teacher on Call. When I got hired as a TOC, I was fortunate enough to have my partner agree to pack up our life and move to the North Island.

On the Friday before school started, I was informed of my .58 “continuing position” as a Librarian/Prep/LART (Learning Assistance Resource Teacher) in a 3-classroom, full-day Kindergarten school. I had applied to this position only days after my UBC program had come to an end, and my background of working with children with autism and Kindergarten/Primary focus made me the ideal candidate for this position. Three days per week I taught at Cheslakees Elementary, and for two days per week, I was a TOC at the seven other elementary schools in the district. I even taught high school on three occasions!

With regards to my recent education at UBC, I always talk highly of the KIPP cohort. I had amazing mentors, made some of my best friends there, and was able to develop into the teacher I am today. I also place great value on my rural practicum experience. If I had not had a rural practicum, I would never have applied to SD85; therefore, I may not be working in a position of which I am so passionate!

Now nearing the end of the school year, I can look back and see how much I have learned and how much I have grown. Teaching Kindergarten is my “dream job,” and I am grateful daily for the position I have had in my first year of teaching. Next year, I will teach a 1.0 continuing position as the Early Years/Primary Literacy Support Teacher for our school district. It is an itinerant position, which means I am based out of the school board office. I will be traveling to all eight elementary schools in the district to support the primary classroom teachers with their plans to help their struggling readers and young learners, as well as aid in their collaboration with other teachers in the district and in the province. Although I am quite nervous about this role, I am mostly excited to continue my own learning in the area of early years and to make connections with the primary teachers in my school district. The previous teacher in this position has been of great influence in this school district, so I have a wonderful mentor and colleague’s footsteps to in which to follow.

Living in Port Hardy has been a very positive experience. There is always something going on in the community, and the people here quickly made me feel at home.