University can be a big adjustment for many students, but Monique Makokis-Lee admits she wasn’t quite ready for all the challenges awaiting her when she enrolled in the U of A’s bachelor of education program in 2017. A member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation who was raised in Wetaskiwin, Makokis-Lee says she found the transition from a small reserve school to the U of A and the distance from her family and community overwhelming. Reluctantly, she withdrew from the BEd program.
Carla Singer admits that, as a student new to the University of Alberta, she’s still finding her way around campus. But as a Cree speaker and traditional knowledge holder, Singer has been blazing new trails by becoming the first student in the Faculty of Education at the U of A to take some of her exams for required courses orally and in her first language.
A lot can happen in 10 years. When the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP) first got started here at the U of A way back in 2003, Jean Chrétien was still Prime Minister, Facebook wasn’t yet invented and the idea that we could one day be celebrating a successful first decade of a program that was dedicated to enabling Aboriginal teachers to receive their BEd degrees and teach in locations around Northern Alberta was just a dream, a goal that Dean Fern Snart, ATEP Program Director Evelyn Steinhauer and others dared to aim for.
Assistant Professor Jonathan Anuik believes the most important thing he can do for his students is nourish their learning spirits, and that didn’t change when he taught his first course via distance learning last fall.
“I aimed to build an environment that stimulated reflection and animated my students’ hearts and minds,” says Anuik who taught EDPS 341 (Concepts of Childhood in History) online for the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP).
Eight years ago Cindy Lee Auger suffered a stroke. It wasn’t severe enough to cripple her in ways that some strokes do, but it was enough to cause difficulties with reading and writing. With six children of her own depending on her, she did the only thing she could: not give up.
As just under 200 students walk the stage at fall convocation 2012--and just as many unique stories with them—we look at this time to some of our ATEP graduates for their reaction to graduating and their thoughts on what they see in their future as educators.
Enaam Moghrabi, who hails from Lebanon, is one of the many proud ATEP graduates walking across the stage at convocation on Nov 20th, 2012.