Author: Editor Ed News

How one internationally educated teacher became a teacher in Canada

Photo (L-R): Anna Lucero shaking hands with Domenic Scuglia, Director ​of Education, after she signed her continuing contract with Regina Catholic Schools Division (May, 2019). Photo credit: Gordon West, RCSD

Anna Lucero was a teacher in the Philippines for 15 years before moving to Canada. After taking three University of Regina courses, and her TESOL language test, she was eligible for her Saskatchewan teaching certificate. She is now teaching elementary students in Regina and is also a lecturer for elementary math education at the University of Regina. Her work as a teacher in Canada has exceeded her expectations and hopes.

Not long before moving to Canada, Anna had landed her dream job of teaching at an exclusive school in the Philippines: “The position in the Philippines was like a birthright. You had to wait for someone to retire to get such a position.” Over the 15 years of teaching elementary school mathematics, Anna had worked to prove herself capable of such a position, taking master’s courses and honing her craft, and in time, her dream became reality.

A devoted mother to two children and wife to Paulo, Anna had everything she could hope for. But it wasn’t long before their family was faced with a big decision: Paulo had been offered a job in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. After much discussion and weighing of pros and cons, they finally decided to immigrate to Canada.

An optimistic, energetic person, Anna thought she would be able continue her teaching career in Canada. But teaching started to seem like a far-off dream when they were told by others that it was not possible for her to teach here. Anna started to lose hope: “My world collapsed. Teaching is the job I’m trained for. Now I was being told I can’t teach!” Anna, in an attempt to salvage her self-worth, took a job at a fast food restaurant. But this did not prove satisfying for her. She says, “Working there, I thought, this job is not for me. Every night I was in tears. This was not what I dreamt of.”

However, with Paulo’s encouragement and support, Anna organized her credentials, transcripts, and papers and submitted them to teaching services. When they heard back about what would be required, Paulo suggested, “Why don’t you go back to school?” So Anna applied, and was accepted to the Faculty of Education, University of Regina. Paulo’s parents then came to visit from the Philippines so they could look after their children while Anna upgraded her education.

The next step was to meet with Nicole Glas in the Student Services Centre, whom Anna found, “very supportive. She arranged everything so it worked perfectly.” Anna needed to take three courses to become certified to teach in Saskatchewan.

At first, Anna wondered why she needed any more classes because she had already finished 30 units of an MA in math education in the Philippines. When she inquired, she was informed that the courses were necessary to learn the Saskatchewan curriculum. That made sense, so Anna finished her three education classes in reading, physical education, and science. All that was left was the TESOL English test.

By that time, Anna was a mother of three (a surprise new baby), and working as an assistant with a research unit in the Faculty of Education. “I was actually happy working in the Unit,” she says. “I was reconsidering being a teacher because I enjoyed working at the University. But it came to a point that the work was becoming less challenging, and I realized I needed to be in the classroom.” Anna began teaching as a sessional in math education courses at the University, and with the support and gentle pushes of colleagues such as Michael Tymchak, Julie Machnaik, and Vi Maeers, she decided to take the next step: she signed up to take the TESOL test on a Friday, took the test on Saturday, and passed. Ordinarily there is at least a week to study before taking the test, and many often have to retake it, so this was an extraordinary feat! Anna says, “It made a difference that I wasn’t at home; I was working, so I was listening, reading, writing, and speaking in English daily, which helped a lot.”

Anna then applied to the Regina Catholic School Division and was hired for a split position at St. Dominic Savio. She is now in her fourth year of teaching with Regina Catholic Schools. Teaching is going well for Anna. She enjoys teaching in Canada even more than the exclusive dream job in the Philippines. Why? “All aspects are better,” says Anna. “In Canada I am treated as a professional. People acknowledge you for what you are doing. People are not squashing you down; they are pushing you up. I feel valued. I can see the different kinds of people here, and I can see that in our environment, I am treated equally. I am surrounded by people who are respectful. Even though I loved the job in the Philippines, here the people I am working with are absolutely amazing. Financially, it is rewarding, too. At the exclusive school I was above average income. Here my years of teaching are acknowledged in my salary.”

Still, even with this glowing report, there are still difficulties. Anna says, “Teaching students in a different country, that is a struggle. It’s the communication piece—I don’t speak as fluent as other teachers.” Anna explains that the way she pronounces words is due to being taught English by a Filipino, who learned from another Filipino. Anna feels fortunate to have had a teacher coach who assisted her when she started teaching in Regina. “They [the administration] knew I was not speaking in my first language and that I have to teach English. So, a teacher coach was given to me for a few months to teach me different strategies for teaching English.” The support she receives from colleagues gives Anna the sense that school is an extended family. “I’m not here just to teach, to do a job. No, this is like another family!”

Anna is now teaching at St. Peter School, which she says is “a good fit for me.” The school has a diverse school population with about 55% of students from countries other than Canada, and many of these students are from the Philippines. Not only is Anna helping newcomer families with information about how their children can be successful at school and in the community, she is working to assist other internationally educated teachers (IETs) to become certified in Canada. Anna, who as one of the few IETs that are teaching in Regina, has had many other IETs reach out to her, wondering how to go about becoming qualified to teach in Canada. So, she decided to form a supportive group to assist these teachers. Anna is also involved with a University of Regina research project with Dr. Xia Ji and Julie Machnaik exploring a bridging program for IETs in Saskatchewan. And she has led two Filipino information sessions at the University.

Anna says, “I salute all those who were teachers back in their home countries, but who are not teaching here. If you ask them what they are doing, they are often caretakers or doing something other than teaching. They have degrees; they have education degrees! How come they aren’t teaching? Is it because they don’t know how to start? Maybe they were discouraged by other people and they just believed those people. They have to try to figure out what they want to do. The thing you should know is what you want to do in your life. For me, my passion is teaching.” says Anna.

Thinking back on her experience, Anna advises IETs currently hoping to teach in Canada: “You have to hold on; you have to believe that even though others are turning you down, you can teach here, if you have the drive and passion to continue.” Knowing that teaching was her passion, that teaching was what she really wanted to do, helped Anna find her pathway to success.”

By Shuana Niessen

Saskatchewan Book Awards – Publishing in Education Award

Dissident Knowledge in Higher Education co-edited by Marc Spooner and James McNinch won the Publisher’s Award at the Saskatchewan Book Awards April 27, 2019 Photo credit: Budd Hall, Congress 2018 Book launch. University of Regina Press.

Dissident Knowledge in Higher Education co-edited by Marc Spooner and James McNinch won the award for Publishing in Education at the Saskatchewan Book Awards April 27, 2019

James McNinch and Marc Spooner at the Sask Book Awards. Photo credit: Karen McIver

Bereavement Notice | Life Speaker Noel Starblanket

On April 15, we were given the sad news of the passing of Life Speaker Noel Starblanket who enriched our lives with his wisdom and patience, teaching faculty and students while serving as Elder-in-Residence, and in walking with us over the years. We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Noel Starblanket. The Life Celebration and viewing will be held at First Nations University on Thursday, April 18 from 12-2pm. There will be a Wake at White Buffalo Calf Gymnasium in Lebret at 4pm. A Traditional Funeral will take place on Friday, April 19 at 11am in Lebret.

 

Obituary of Noel Starblanket

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Life Speaker Noel Starblanket speaking at #treatyedcamp
Life Speaker Noel Starblanket with emerging-Elder-in Residence Joseph Naytowhow

Life Speaker Noel Starblanket served as an Elder-in-Residence for the Faculty of Education from Sept. 2016 to April 2017. He walked alongside us to provide wisdom, guidance, and care as we Indigenized our space, curriculum and practices. Noel was especially significant as an advisor in the creation of the Nanatawihowikamik Healing Lodge, a SHRF- and Faculty-funded project that took Dr. JoLee Sasakamoose and Dr. Angela McGinnis over two years to complete (See Decolonizing Place story)

Noel was also an advisor to the ongoing Horse-Human Relationship research being done by Dr. Angela McGinnis and her grad student Kelsey Moore. (See Opening a doorway to culture story)

As a survivor/thriver of Lebret Indian Residential School, Noel was featured in the Shattering the Silence: The Hidden History of Indian Residential Schools ebook published by our Faculty in 2017 (see Noel Starblanket )

Among his many teaching activities, Noel participated in #treatyedcamps, the Resistance and Reconciliation Fishbowl Panel and the Walking Together Day of Education

(l-r) Naomi Fortier-Fréçon, Noel Starblanket, Knowledge Keeper at the U of R and Leia Laing.

For alumni Leia Laing and Naomi Fortier-Fréçon (also a grad student) working on the award-winning Treaty4Project, Noel “was essential in the creation of this educational project.”

Noel Starblanket was central in guiding the teachers in their understanding of treaty and the history of relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Naomi Fortier-Fréçon says, “His presence allowed us to learn in a personal way about the importance of treaties. He also guided us regarding the respect of Indigenous protocols and offered support to our students.” Because of his essential role, the teachers invited Starblanket to go to Ottawa with them to receive the Governor General’s History Award. Starblanket says, “I didn’t expect to go. I was merely doing my job, helping out the students and the teachers and I didn’t expect any recognition or acknowledgment. When they asked me to go, I was thrilled.” Starblanket was also happy the teachers were being “recognized for what they were doing for treaty education in the province,” especially because of where they were teaching, in a middle-class school in which the majority of students were non-Indigenous. “I was pleased to help them understand and to impart what I have acquired over the years about treaty. … I hold them dear and close to my heart. What they do—they are very generous. I love them, both of them,” says Starblanket (Treaty4Project )

In the news:

 

Faculty-Based Research Centre Funding

 

General Research Fund

Language Camps team
Dr. Pamela Osmond-Johnson
Dr. Xia Ji
Dr. Cristyne Hébert
  • Language Camps as an Indigenous language revitalization strategy: The nêhiyawak (Cree peoples) Language Learning Experience – Belinda Daniels (USask); Peter Turner (URegina); Randy Morin (USask); Bill Cook (URegina); Dorothy Thunder (UAlberta); and Andrea Sterzuk (URegina) – $4,440
  • Developing a community of practice during internship – Pamela Osmond-Johnson, and Xia Ji – $4,725
  • Fostering a maker mindset through pedagogical practices – Cristyne Hébert, Trevor Hlushko, Amy Singh, and Aaron Warner- $5,000

Community-Engagement Research Fund

Dr. Andrea Sterzuk
Dr. Anna-Leah King
Cheryl Quewezance
  • A study of a land-based and ceremonial mentor-apprentice approach to Saulteaux language revitalization – Andrea Sterzuk, Anna-Leah King, and Cheryl Quewezance – $4,500

Study of Teaching and Learning Fund

Dr. Kathryn Ricketts
  • Tent talks and hallways interventions – Kathryn Ricketts – $1,750

Knowledge Mobilization Fund

Dr. Anna-Leah King
Dr. Heather Phipps
Dr. Cristyne Hébert
Dr. Marc Spooner
Dr. Scott Thompson
  • Dreaming a beautiful world through the truth of âcimowin – Anna-Leah King – $750 and Heather Phipps $750
  • Playing at the margins: Feminist investigations of digital gameplay – Cristyne Hébert – $1,581.96
  • Panel Discussion/Book Engagement: Dissident Knowledge in Higher Education – Marc Spooner, Michelle Fine, Sandy Grande, and Joel Westheimer – $4,063.24
  • Ducks on the Moon: The Musical – Scott Thompson – $5,000

Internationalizing Curriculum Studies | New edited book

Dr. Cristyne Hébert, co-Editor of Internationalizing Curriculum Studies: Histories, Environments, and Critiques, is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina.

Abstract: How do we internationalize that which is deeply provincial and national? Situating our focus on and interest squarely within curriculum studies, how do we internationalize without imperializing or imposing old, colonial, and so-called “First World” conceptualizations of education on teaching, learning, and curriculum? Let us not anticipate simple answers to such complex questions. Being under no illusion that we hold Solomonic wisdom, we editors turned to the wisdom of others. A curricular response to such pedagogical questions is this edited volume.  Download at https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2F978-3-030-01352-3.pdf

 

 

Alumna recognized as one of Canada’s 2019 Outstanding Principals

Interview with Katherine LeBlanc (B.Ed. ’90)
Principal in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut at Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik

In January 2019, and in her 10th year of being a principal, Alumna Katherine LeBlanc was recognized as one of Canada’s Outstanding Principals by the Learning Partnership. LeBlanc grew up in Peebles, SK, went to school in Windthorst, and spent most of her career working with Horizon and Good Spirit school divisions. She and her RCMP husband “jumped at” an opportunity that would be “checked off their bucket list of to-do’s” before retirement, to go north to Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, where for the past two years, LeBlanc has served as principal at Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik (MUI), Kivalliq School Operations. The following is an interview with LeBlanc. The Learning Partnership states that LeBlanc in a short time has “transformed her school into a reflective, responsive to the community, safe, caring and inviting place to learn.”

Where you surprised when you found out you had won this award?

Oh yes. I knew I was nominated, but it never occurred to me that I would make the top 30. I feel there are so many deserving leaders in schools and “it is nice to just be nominated” I was overwhelmed. I shed a few happy tears and then for the next few weeks it drove me crazy not to be able to tell anyone until the announcement was officially made.

What does a day in your life as a principal in the North look like? I get to work very early. Usually I am short staffed and spend a lot of time trying to find subs. Often I can’t find them, so I spend time re-arranging schedules or my VP and I take turns going into the classes and ensuring instruction happens. If I don’t have to teach, we make sure there are snacks for our children – we have some very hungry youth. I always go say “hello” to my Elders. We have two Elders: One works helping our students make traditional tools, building igloos when the snow is just right, and helping with our land trips. Our second Elder teaches traditional sewing, skin prepping, and cooking with our students. She is also allowing us to digitally record her as we are trying to make sure we don’t lose her stories.

I try to go into every class in my school at least once a day. Sometimes it is a short visit; other times, I am doing my walk through or just helping students. I always pop into our guidance area a few times a day as this is where some of our older students need someone to talk to. Then there is the normal everyday things like checking attendance, administrative paper work, meetings, etc.

How does working in the North compare and contrast with your previous experience in the South?

I would say some of the biggest differences that I have faced are in the courses we offer. We teach students how to skin a seal and prepare it to make traditional clothing and food. We spend a full day out on the land learning how to build an igloo – for a school credit. We even take overnight land trips on the tundra in the winter! Learning about the cultural classes has been a very unique and rewarding experience. Of course, we have the similar ones, too like math, science, English etc.

How is it you’ve come to stand out in your field in such a short time?

My first goal when I got to MUI was to ensure that the students had a safe place to be. We worked hard to make sure our students felt involved in their education. One young man spoke to me about his connection with the culture and how important land trips were to him and how it has made a difference in his education. Doing my doctorate, I understood the need to work to embed culture into all we do at MUI, but hearing it from this young man made me want to help students also feel that they too were part of sustaining culture. I felt it may be a way to empower them – thus we started doing some video stories about culture.

We also shared the Inuit culture with schools in Saskatchewan. We connected via ConnectEd North into a school in Saskatchewan where my Grade 12s showcased their culture and highlighted the challenges they face up North like housing, food costs, isolation while also sharing hunting stories and cultural stories. For some of my students, they have never been out of Rankin Inlet and for others, they have never been out of the North. It was important for me to have them share their beautiful culture.
I do feel a little overwhelmed by the whole award. Honoured, but I do feel there are many principals in this nation that are more deserving. I have a great staff, students and community who are willing to work hard to meet our students’ needs and willing to work with me to ensure our students have a safe, culturally responsive environment

What obstacles or challenges have you encountered in creating the transformation at MUI? How have you overcome these challenges?

I think the biggest obstacle for me was learning about a new culture. I love the Inuit people. They have been so welcoming to me. However, my biggest concern has been my lack of knowledge about their culture. I try to engage myself with community activities, ensure Elders feel welcome in the school and try to incorporate as much traditional knowledge that I can. This means I have to rely on Elders and experts to share their knowledge not only with the students but with myself and my teachers. It can be a challenge getting some of the Elders in for many reasons. We have two that come each day and work in our traditional tools and in foods and sewing. There are many Elders in our community that can share stories but may not be able to come for various reasons, so we have tried to make them more comfortable by having teas or social events for them.

I also have attendance issues. For various reasons, there are students who do not attend. This was very unfamiliar to me. My goal was to get them in the building and make them feel welcome. If students feel part of the learning, then maybe they will stay.

I also have mental health challenges that face many of my students. We had a suicide in our community last year. I had never even met the youth, but I was devastated. I knew we needed to be resilient but also empower students to find ways to overcome these obstacles. We arranged a huge Red Cross conference for students. This focused on healthy relationships, dealing with grief, bullying, empowering themselves, etc.

Because there was an attempt for culture to be taken away during colonization, I feel it is my responsibility as a leader to try to show how important the Inuit culture is. We had Dark Spark come up and do videos and songs with our Grades 7 and 8 students. They got to write their own songs that showed the beauty of the Inuit, their traditions etc. Please check them out online and you can actually see the work my students did. Absolutely amazing!

So I guess, I am trying to overcome the obstacles by making sure I put as much culture back into the school as I can.

What is your vision for your work? What experiences informed/motivated your administrative vision?

I think my ultimate goal for my students is that they can be part of preserving our Elders’ stories and traditions. When Elders visit our classroom, they have so much knowledge that they can share. But unfortunately, these Elders will not be here forever, so it is our vision to ensure that these stories and traditions are preserved. We are slowly trying to capture their words and their language digitally. I wish it could be done faster, but to do this justice, we need to be patient.

I think my motivation comes from some of my research about mental health and loss of culture. Nunavut experiences some of the highest mental health issues in all of Canada. If we as a school can do our part to help sustain culture, then quite possibly we are helping our students feel included.

I also am fortunate to work with singer/songwriter Susan Aglukark. She has been an inspiration to me. Through her Arctic Rose foundation, she has put art therapy into our school as a means of battling mental health issues as well. Students come every day after school to do traditional art with sometimes a modern twist to it. Students have a safe space to be after school, learn a bit more about their culture and where they come from, what the story of their name is and build friendships.

What experiences have formed the passion behind your work?

Building a safe learning culture is very important to me. Students need to feel that they belong, and they are in a place where the adults in the building care about them as a whole. Colonialization is not in the distant history for the Inuit. I believe in Reconciliation and I need to do my part in this.

I also have students who are experiencing intergenerational trauma. This devastates me and each week I see evidence of the trauma some of my students are facing. Again, research states that the disconnect with culture has an impact on students and their learning. My vision is quite simply that students feel connected with their culture and education ensure that this can happen.

One reason you were recognized with this award is because of your understanding of the importance of sustaining cultural connections and pride in student and family heritage and traditions. Your focus includes the use of digital literacies and support of the Inuit language. Can you explain what you are doing and how you are using digital literacies as a way to embed culture?

We are slowly doing this. In our Inuktitut class, students are trying to video Elders and then translate their story. Our communication class has tried to highlight Inuit traditions like sewing in video. When we want to embed culture, we are trying to show connections in each of our classes with culture. For example, in science, when we talk about global warming, we look at how it specifically effects the Inuit, the caribou, etc. In shop we look at traditional tools and learn how to build them and how to use them. We try hard to incorporate Inuktitut in all of our students’ presentations. We are lucky to have two Inuktitut teachers and a school community counsellor who will help students and teachers with this. Our teachers try to find a way to embed the Inuit culture into their teachings to make it more relevant.

Do you have any mentors at the Faculty of Education, University of Regina?

I do. I was lucky to go to university with Dr. Val Mulholland. I think of her as a friend and a mentor. She is amazing at what she does and has great insight of what education should look like. She encouraged me to pursue more education than my B.Ed. I truly admired Jerry Orban. When I was an administrator in Saskatchewan, he was someone who I did contact during internship programs. He always had the time to talk and help. His passion for the internship program made me want to be more involved. I also love following Dr. Couros on Twitter. I really like the messages he sends. I also like how he engages his students via social media.

PHE Researcher of the month

Once a month the PHE Canada Research Council selects one of its members to profile as Researcher of the Month. Whether it’s a university level teacher, academic, or graduate student, whoever is advancing research centered on topics and issues in physical and health education the Council wants to highlight. Do you know a PHE Canada Research Council member who’s professional ideals & service strengthens the physical and health education sector? Whose research & writing drives change forward? Who’s commitment and dedication to the field?

RoM%20Image%20Alexandra.jpg

Researcher of the Month

Dr. Alexandra Stoddart is an Assistant Professor in the Health, Outdoor and Physical Education (HOPE) subject area in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina. Before joining the U of R as a faculty member in January 2018, she completed her Ph.D. in Kinesiology at the University of Saskatchewan. Alexandra currently teaches HOPE undergraduate courses in both the Elementary and Secondary programs. She enjoys the opportunity to see her students learn, grow, and thrive as they engage in their pre-internship and internship experiences.

(Source: https://phecanada.ca/connecting/research-council/researcher-month )

a multilingual international collaboration

The following story, submitted by former grad student and French Immersion Kindergarten teacher Ellen Lague and Minority Language Professor Heather Phipps, describes the development of a multilingual Saskatchewan-Belgium collaboration that evolved out of Ellen’s participation in the Social Justice and Globalization Study Tour to Belgium (EDFN 803) in July 2018.

“What Fills Your Heart with Happiness? kîkway kîya kisâkasineh mîyawhten kiteh ohcih?”

As part of my Master’s in Education program, I participated in the study tour to Belgium. The course was instructed by Dr. Heather Phipps, with whom I have shared interests in Early Childhood Education, French Immersion instruction, and literature. While in Belgium, we met with Heather’s colleague and long-time friend Caroline Moons, who instructs university students studying to become Kindergarten teachers at the University of Leuven in Belgium.

We discussed doing a multilingual project together with my Kindergarten students and Caroline’s university students. With Heather’s guidance, we chose an activity with Monique Gray Smith’s picture book My Heart Fills with Happiness/ni sâkaskineh miŷawâten niteh ohcih. Monique Gray Smith is an award-winning author of Cree, Lakota, and Scottish heritage. The picture book, written in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and dedicated to IRS survivors, is a positive representation of Indigenous happiness, love, strength, and life experience. Each page, vibrantly illustrated by award-winning, Métis-Cree artist, Julie Flett, expresses the happiness experienced in the simple joys of life, such as holding the hand of someone you love or smelling fresh-baked bannock. Heather suggested this book for the multilingual reading possibility, with a Cree/English edition recently published by Orca Books.

With the book chosen, my students spent most of February preparing for our project with Caroline and her students: discussing First Nation storytelling, and reading two different versions of How the Earth was Created; talking about Nanabosho or Nanabush and how he has several different names; and discussing oral storytelling and why oral stories might change in the telling, and about why February is the traditional time for storytelling because it is when the snow covers the ground. I read My Heart Fills with Happiness aloud with my students every school day in the month of February. During the break, students were asked to think about what fills their heart with happiness using specific examples. I received several responses from parents who loved the idea of our project.

On February 27, students and teachers in Regina and Belgium connected through Skype. Belgian students began by asking my students about First Nations storytelling. Next, we read the book, What Fills My Heart With Happiness in four different languages: English, French, Cree and Flemish. The children knew the story so well, they were excited to hear it read in two languages that were new to them; they “oohed” and “ahhed” when hearing Cree and Flemish. Then, all the students shared what filled their hearts with happiness. One of my students mentioned speaking with her family that lives in the Philippines. Another student spoke about the sound of popcorn popping. The children were delighted to share, and the pre-service teachers in Belgium also expressed their joy in meeting with the class.

For Heather, being in Ellen’s Kindergarten classroom during this multilingual reading of My Heart Fills with Happiness was a beautiful and meaningful experience. While reading together across the world and in four languages there was a feeling of interconnectedness, where each person was invited to share one’s own inner joy and to listen respectfully to others. The story is meant to be shared and makes for an ideal read-aloud. The university students listened attentively to the voices of the children in responding to the story, and the children were eager to share their knowledge and life experience. The shared interaction with the picture book inspired the children and adults to reflect on their own sources of inspiration, love, and happiness.

This spring, we were delighted to learn that the author Monique Gray Smith, alongside authors Louise Halfe and Wendy Mirasty, would be speaking on an Indigenous Author Panel at the Regina Public Library. This was a wonderful opportunity to listen to each author’s journey to becoming a writer. Monique spoke about the importance of story and how empowering it is for Indigenous readers, particularly young children, to see themselves represented in picture books. She mentioned that she has met many young readers who tell her, ‘I’m on the cover of your book.’ Furthermore, this story of sharing love and happiness ends with a significant question, “What fills your heart with happiness?” which opens up a conversation for intergenerational sharing and healing as readers of all ages are invited to reflect on love.

A journey that began in Belgium was able to take root back home. In reconnecting with Caroline we could continue the journey of reconciliation with our students, and share the
journey with students in Belgium. Two weeks after the Skype call, Heather and I shared the project with her first-year university students. To be able to culminate our project with meeting Monique Gray Smith brought happiness to my heart and a strong purpose to continue on the path to reconciliation.

By Ellen Lague and Heather Phipps