Canadian native Rebecca Alize-Minty grew up attending a French school – it wasn’t until she headed to university that her love of English revealed itself.
Rebecca, did you ever imagine you’d become an English teacher?
I developed my love of English much later in life. Before I got to university, I always saw it as a scary subject! I went to a French school and would feel embarrassed when I had to speak in front of the class because I had such a thick accent at the time. So I would avoid it at all costs! However, at university, I became passionate about English literature and also began writing my own short stories. The more exposure I had to the English language, the more confident I became in my writing style and communication. Once I realised I wanted to become a teacher, I wanted to make sure that students wouldn’t experience the same fear of English that I had. I believe I can help students become passionate about English as a subject, or at the very least, help them feel fearless during their English lessons.
How do you connect with students to make English engaging and enjoyable?
The part I enjoy most about teaching is being in front of the class, seeing the students engaged, and having their own heated discussions around various subjects. I love being able to give the students a voice and hear their opinions about a novel, a poem, or any piece of literature. I think most teachers can agree that we love the ‘ah-ha’ moments when a student suddenly understands, but I think it’s even better when those moments come from another student explaining their understanding.
If we could ask your past students to describe you in five words or less, what do you think they would say?
Caring, funny, active, calming and Canadian.
What values are most important to you in a school?
Inclusion and open-mindedness. I believe students need to feel safe and welcomed at school and in the classroom. As teachers, we need to be open to the individualities of all students and make sure our students reflect this value. As for open-mindedness, I like it when my students feel confident enough to step out of their comfort zones and try new challenges.
What attracted you to ACG Strathallan?
I’d heard so many great stories from staff and parents. The great reputation the school has within the community was a big drawcard.
How long have you been teaching?
I started relief teaching back in Canada in 2017, and in 2019 I accepted my first teaching contract teaching drama and dance to grades 1 to 3 and English and health to the special education classes. As much as I loved this contract, I was on a mission to move to New Zealand. I’ve been living – and teaching – here since January 2020.
How are you enjoying the Kiwi way of life?
The things I love most about New Zealand are the outdoor activities and the beautiful scenery. I also can’t complain about the weather. Having the opportunity to stay outdoors year-round is unbelievable!
What do you like doing outside of work?
I love staying active. I’m always trying to complete a big hike during any holiday or long weekend, and I enjoy taking my paddleboard out when it’s sunny and calm. I’m also a member of a basketball team and a soccer team which keeps me very busy. When I need to relax, I enjoy watching a good movie, reading a book, or working on my creative stories.
What tips do you have for students for 2022?
Continue to step outside your comfort zone. As a great coach of mine once said, “If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not learning”. It’s easy to stay comfortable and only do things we know we are good at, but if we want to learn new things, we need to be willing to make mistakes and learn from them.