Have you met... Josie-Leah Cardinal?

The Diversity, Equity and Respect (DER) Committee is proud to present a series of profiles to share the experiences of students in the Faculty of Education. It’s particularly important to connect with students given the challenges of teaching and learning remotely.

Josie-Leah Cardinal is a Secondary Education student in the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP) who is currently student-teaching and would love to someday travel to New Zealand. Let’s take some time to get to know her!

Josie-Leah is in the third year of her bachelor’s degree and joined the University of Alberta in the Fall of 2018. She just completed three weeks in her Advanced Field Experience (AFX) at Rosslyn Junior High. She is co-teaching some of the classes with another student and says she loves the big smiles on students’ faces. “I love seeing how students light up going to the gym for physical education classes.”

Josie-Leah is majoring in Social Studies with Physical Education as her minor. She loves Social Studies and hopes she will be able to widen her scope and add more resources with Indigenous culture and other cultures from around the world.

Why did you decide to pursue an Education degree?

“I always heard my mom, my grandma and my aunties talk about the stories of their students and their day-to-day, and I saw how they loved their students and teaching. I grew up with these stories. At first, I thought I should do something else and not teaching. But when I was in Grade 11, I realized I wanted to be like my mom. Teaching runs in our family.”

What do you currently miss at the University of Alberta as all classes have been online?

“I miss my friends—we used to meet with and discuss some of the school assignments and the whole university experience. I miss being at the university in general. I miss interacting with students and making human connections.”

What's your favourite distraction?

Josie-Leah enjoys riding her bike in the spring and summer with her cousin and she also loves skiing. Before the pandemic, she worked as a goalie coach a few times a week with Precision Goalie Institute.

What's your favourite lunch or snack to eat while studying?

Josie-Leah says she enjoys snacking on popcorn from Costco, fruit gummies and carrots with hummus.

What are your hopes and dreams in your work with children and youth?

Josie-Leah hopes to complete her degree in April 2022. She hopes that she can be in charge of her classroom and work with students and impact them on their education journey. She looks forward to building relationships with her students. Josie-Leah believes that she can bring her own history into the curriculum.

“Growing up I did not have an Indigenous perspective until when I got to Grade 12 and my Social Studies teacher included it. Even though he was not supposed to include it in the curriculum, he did, and I really appreciated it.”

What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

“I hope I can be able to work as a teacher with St. Thomas More Junior High School or St. Francis Xavier High School. I attended St. Francis Xavier High School and that would be so cool if I got to work there.”

And if New Zealand is too far away for now, Josie-Leah would settle for living in Vancouver.