CELEBRATING FAMILIES WHO TEACH
Since teaching runs in many families, and since Family Day just took place, the ATA News has compiled these stories about teaching families and what it means to be part of one.
Foundation of education instills pride
Lynn Karasiuk James
Special to the ATA News
My family’s journey in education exceeds 110 years of service. My paternal great-grandfather, Peter Karasiuk, petitioned the Department of Education in Saskatchewan to form the Kaminka School District in 1906. He became the first chairman of the board. He hired his son, my grandfather, Frank Karasiuk, to teach near Wakaw, Saskatchewan, in Todzke School.
My grandfather paid for my grandmother to attend “normal school,” which was teachers’ college at the time. Her first teaching position was at Peterson School. By the time the Depression hit Saskatchewan, there was no money for many rural one-room schools. My grandparents built and owned grocery stores from 1929 until their retirement.
On my mother’s side of the family there are many teachers. Her sisters, my aunts Rosillia and Sharon, taught. I have countless maternal first cousins once removed who have taught throughout Saskatchewan.
In my generation, the teachers are fewer, as two of my cousins teach and me. As my children aren’t teachers, maybe a future grandchild will become a teacher and continue the legacy of education instilled in my heritage.
I have spent 33 years in the classroom. Retirement is on my mind. Though a career in teaching wasn’t my initial plan, I do admire the perseverance and dedication to the career so many of my family members have. I cannot even begin to imagine what my grandparents experienced as teachers in the 1920s, much as I would imagine that they would not believe the complexity of teaching in this century. I am grateful for the foundation of education they laid and am proud to have followed in their footsteps.
Lynn Karasiuk James is the acting vice-principal and learning support facilitator at Christ the King School in Leduc.
Teaching and learning are in my DNA
Special to the ATA News
My mother, Angéline, is a retired teacher. After attending normal school in Winnipeg in 1950, she had an interesting teaching career that spanned 18 years in a few different provinces. This started with a two-year posting at a one-room country school in the municipality of Morris, north of Winnipeg. My mother taught about a dozen children in five different grades and lived next door in a trustee’s house. The school was heated by a wood stove and had no indoor plumbing, only an outhouse.
Over the years, she had stops in Portage La Prairie, Flin Flon, Dryden, Ont., Kenora, Ont. and Lethbridge, where I was born.
After she retired from teaching, my mother was involved in the creation of a French immersion program in the Lethbridge Catholic Separate School Division. I was also influenced by two other teachers in my mom’s family — my aunt in British Columbia and my uncle (who is also an Oblate father) in Manitoba.
I regularly speak with my mom about the vast amount of technological changes that have occurred in the classroom. She is amazed at how the world doesn’t seem “huge” to students of today. With one swipe of a finger, a student could be speaking with another student or expert in another country or another classroom.
The teaching DNA won’t stop with me, as my daughter is now in her third year of teaching.
Growing up in a teaching family has given me a perspective that learning is a lifelong pursuit. It is not a race but one of constant new experiences, reflections and interesting relationships. It is about the students, families and colleagues in my school and district, as well as provincially and internationally. Learning is accessible to everyone, and we are all at different points of our understanding in our curriculum, our thoughts and who we are as persons.
It has given me an insight that patience, persistence and resilience are important aspects of both my professional and personal life to work on and to talk about with my students and colleagues. It is also a great opportunity for me to speak with my mom, a retired teacher, about the nuances of teaching in 2022 and to support my daughter, who is in her third year of teaching, and living through a pandemic.
Nicole Lakusta is the STEAM facilitator at Parkland School Division, Stony Plain.