June, an LDS remedial instructor, is a bubbly and energetic woman. Throughout her interview, June explained her adventurous and exciting life journey with such joy. From the way she fondly discussed the students she has worked with to how she described the neighbourhood near the LDS office as a “little Italian quarter with mountains in the background” that reminds her of her time in Italy, June radiates happiness and laughter.
June started her teaching career at an elementary school, but soon after she got the travel bug. She received her Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate and began teaching across Europe. Eventually, she found her way back to England and was working on-call and volunteering in her spare time. This was when June was introduced to a young student with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), which prompted her interest in dyslexia and learning differences. June went back to university to train as a Specialist Dyslexia Teacher and soon started working as a one-to-one remedial teacher.
The experience of one particular student truly impacted June. The student came to June without the ability to read due to his dyslexia. “I worked with him for two years, and I thought ‘this is really quite hard.’ He wasn’t making much progress, and then suddenly, it all fell into place: he was reading, received accommodations for his exams, and eventually went to university. “He was flying!” June exclaims with a laugh. He was June’s first student and case study during university, and she grew very fond of him. June is proud to say he received an art degree and is now a graphic designer.
June has her own experiences with challenges, similar to students with dyslexia. She struggles with directions, sequencing, and working memory. “We all have our good days and bad days,” says June, “but it helps with my understanding of the students.”
When asked what her favourite part about working with LDS is, June rattles off a lengthy list without a second thought. “I love that it’s student-centred, the contact with staff, and that LDS is so accommodating. I love that I can mix and match and work in schools, online, and in the Learning Centre. And the kids!” June exclaims. “Everything is just ideal.”
“I love my students,” June says. “I work with so many talented students, every single one of them. So creative, athletic, …they all do something and it’s amazing. But they just don’t know it.” June includes positive self-talk, relevant subject matter, and activities that interest students in her lessons with them. She emphasizes her students’ strengths and builds on their talents and interests to encourage them.
The most challenging part of her job, June says, is the lesson planning. “You need to plan loads and loads of stuff because you never know just how the lessons are going to go,” she says with a laugh. June is very mindful of the multi-sensory materials she prepares for students and includes activities for brain breaks.
“I hope I can give them a transformative learning experience, and they can use the tools and strategies I teach them in their lives outside of LDS, and that can make a difference in their confidence and self-autonomy.”
Rie Stadnichuk (she/her) is the Digital Communications Specialist at LDS. Currently studying Communications and Economics at Simon Fraser University, she hopes to use this opportunity as a way of exploring meaningful work in the field. She is passionate about social issues and creating environments of inclusivity and open dialogue. Rie graciously lives and works on the unceded territory of the Syilx people.