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Meet your Teacher

Page history last edited by mckinlay_assignments@... 5 years, 3 months ago


As a high school student, I swore when I graduated that I would never set foot inside another high school.  Funny how things change.  I earned a joint honours degree in Biology and Environmental studies from the University of Waterloo.  I have many interests and so I  took courses in history, psychology and french at the University of Waterloo.   I applied for a summer job to work as an outdoor educator in a provincial park when I was 19 and the rest, as they say, is history.  I discovered that I enjoyed being with people in a teaching and learning role.  I had fabulous summer jobs in my early 20's working in parks across Ontario and Canada as an outdoor educator.  I especially loved my time working in Forillon National Park in Quebec because of the ocean, the wildlife, the biking, hiking and the opportunity to improve my french.  After spending most of my 20's travelling across Canada, and living in Paris for a year, my husband and I decided to settle in Ottawa and start our family.  We moved to the Peterborough area in 2001 to be closer to our extended family and I have taught at St. Stephen Secondary School ever since. 


I taught science here for several years until some serious events in my life got me to spend more time thinking about some of the Big Questions in life such as -  Why are we here?  Does my life matter? What is the best way to live each day?  Since religion is one way to explore these questions,  I began to study theology part time in 2004 at the University of Toronto.  I completed a Master's Degree in Theology, and a Diploma in Spiritual Direction in 2010.  I continue to be fascinated by the ways that the wisdom traditions of various cultures have addressed some of these Big Questions, and by some of the gifts that can be found in the Catholic tradition.  I find much inspiration in the mystics and in the people who promote social justice.  As your religion teacher, I hope to be able to help you think about some big questions about your spiritual growth, and about what brings meaning to your life. 


It has become fairly clear by now that I have many interests.  I was fascinated by psychology and sociology as a teenager and seriously thought about studying the social sciences and becoming a psychologist.  All through my studies, I have taken courses in the social sciences, and much of my reading (fiction and non-fiction) focuses on how and why people think and behave in the way they do.   I took extra courses to qualify to teach the Individuals in Society courses  and have been teaching these courses for almost a decade.


In 2013, I accepted the invitation to teach the Native Studies course.  During my own studies of history, environmental studies, and native spirituality, I have always been inspired and intrigued by the aboriginal people's connection to the land, their emphasis on restorative justice, and the way they honour community.  I look forward to engaging students in the study of the strengths and challenges being faced by Canada's first peoples.


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