When I Grow Up
When I was 7 years old and in Grade 2, I decided that I wanted to become a teacher. I big part of my decision was my amazing teacher, Mrs. Hoglund, and how excited I felt about learning in her classroom. When I grew up, I did in fact become a teacher! I got my BSc and BEd and taught junior high and high school science. I loved it! I poured my heart and soul into my work with my students.
Becoming a Mom
After my first maternity leave, I did a job share with another teacher who had had her baby the day before we did! One of us would look after the two kids for half the day while the other taught and then, at lunch, we would switch. Towards the end of that school year, my husband and I had our second baby.
Back to School
After my second maternity leave, I applied for a Professional Improvement Fellowship with my local school board and got accepted! For two years, I went back to school to get my MEd in Leadership and Administration. I focused on curriculum development and created a new teacher mentorship program for my capstone project. During my Master’s program, I had the incredible opportunity to be a member at large on an Alberta Learning committee working to develop a policy statement for new teacher mentorship in the province of Alberta. The day before my final class our third baby was born. He attended my final presentation as well as my graduation. Going to school as a mom of 2 and finishing up with a newborn was definitely a challenge!
“Retiring” From Classroom Teaching
I took an extended parental leave following my third maternity leave and taught an evening adult upgrading chemistry class. Then, I made the difficult decision to resign from the school board. For me, the juggle of 3 young children and classroom teaching full time just felt like too much. I felt like the energy that I would need to be the kind of teacher I wanted to be would conflict with the energy that I would need to be the kind of mom that I wanted to be. Of course, guilt came with this. I knew that there were many moms out there who made the teaching and motherhood juggle work for them. Why couldn’t I? If I wasn’t teaching, what would I do? This was what I had dreamed of doing. This was what I had gone to school for.
New Opportunities in Teaching and Learning
I wise friend of mine had once told me that we need to close one door to be fully open to a new one. She was right. Shortly after “retiring” from classroom teaching, I had the opportunity to work as a Curriculum Development Consultant and design two curriculums for Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta in partnership with the Calgary Board of Education: the Entrepreneurial Artist, the business of the fine and performing arts, and the Entrepreneurial Trades, the business of the skilled trades. I worked in conjunction with an advisory committee and got to be a part of the pilot of one course and got to pitch for funding and work with an e-learning company for the other. Following this, I created a curriculum for a non-profit organization called Humainologie, Labels and Stereotypes, and then, worked as an Early Learning Coordinator for a non-profit organization. In this role, I supervised teams of specialists, including physiotherapists, speech language pathologists, and occupational therapists, in implementing programming and supporting children ages 3-5 with developmental delays and their families.
New Teacher Mentorship
In becoming a teacher, I had always hoped to work with student teachers. When I graduated as a teacher, I won an award for being the top practicum student. This award came with a lunch outing with Mrs. Doucette, whose family sponsored the award and whom the University of Calgary education library was named after, as well as some representatives from the Werklund School of Education. Mrs. Doucette had asked me to promise her that I would have a student teacher one day. For the past 4 years, I have been thrilled to have had the opportunity to teach at the University of Calgary in the Werklund School of Education in a course called Individual Learning, all about Universal Design of Learning and differentiation of instruction. I have also had the immense privilege to supervise student teachers doing their first teaching practicum teaching grades from Kindergarten to Grade 12 in subjects ranging from Advanced Placement Math, Automotives, Computer Programming, Drama, Spanish, and everything in-between! I have been able to keep my promise to Mrs. Doucette and to fulfill my own dream by working with and mentoring over 80 student teachers!
Course Development Consulting
Tiana Fech Consulting “happened” very organically. My education, mentorship, and course development background led to opportunities to speak to entrepreneurial groups, to present at a virtual conference, and to be interviewed on podcasts. Business owners approached me with questions about the learning opportunities they had created, that they were thinking about, or that they were in the process of creating. I was already helping people with their course development journey so I decided to formalize it with a name, logo, and website! I love the work that I am doing and the chance to connect with amazing entrepreneurs, businesses, and organizations. As with all of my teaching and learning experiences, I also love that I continue to learn, to grow, and to be inspired.