We hope you had a fantastic Spring Break! We're thrilled to share our next educator of the month with you, Mrs. Cathy Southwell.
Mrs. Southwell, thank you for taking the time. Let's get started! Where are you from?
I have lived in BC most of my life. I live in Savona, BC now.
How long have you been a teacher at SCIDES?
I have been a teacher at SCIDES since November 2017. I also taught on-call at SCIDES many times before that.
Why did you become a teacher?
I am the second eldest in a family of five siblings, so helping and teaching children has always been a part of my life. Being a teacher seemed a natural choice, especially when I could combine it with my love of science and math.
That's a great reason! What’s your favourite aspect of being a teacher?
My favourite part of being a teacher is that "AHA" moment when students understand the concept I have been trying to teach. Finding new ways to show and explain ideas to help students 'get it' is always a challenge that I enjoy.
What’s your least favourite aspect of being a teacher?
My least favourite part of teaching is how time-consuming marking is. I don't mind marking; it is the time it takes that frustrates me!
You're certainly not alone with that! What’s your best advice for a student who wants to figure out their career path and calling?
The easy answer to direct students to a career path is to say 'follow your heart'! Unfortunately, it isn't always that easy. If you are good at or have a passion for something, try to find summer or after-school work in that field. Volunteer at something you are interested in. Mentor someone who has a job that you are interested in. It is much easier to follow a career path if you know something about it.
Fantastic advice! What’s your favourite book and why?
I love to read, so I can't possibly choose just one book as my favourite book! I listen to audiobooks as I drive to and from work. One book that had a huge impact on me recently was "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks". It tells the true story of how cancer cells taken from a woman in the 1950's changed the research of human cells, opening the doors to many important discoveries. Even more compelling is the telling of what happened to Henrietta's family in the years that followed. It is tragic, as her descendants never received any money or benefits for their mother's contributions to science, and they lived in poverty. It was uplifting as the author of the book has set up a scholarship fund with some of the book's proceeds to help Henrietta's family.
Audiobooks are a great option on the go. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I think the best advice I have ever gotten is from my mother. (Moms are always so smart!) She always told me, "You are responsible for you." So if I don't like something in my life or about myself, then it is up to me to change it or accept it.
Mothers are always so smart! What do you still want to learn?
I have always been interested in photography so I finally bought myself a DSLR camera. Now I want to learn how to use it beyond just the automatic settings!
We look forward to seeing some of your pictures! Last question: When you’re not busy helping your students and marking assignments, what do you enjoy doing?
When I am not teaching or marking, you can find me outside with my horses. I own Arabian horses and have been fortunate enough to show at the Arabian National show five times. I also ski and bike, and enjoy long walks. Most importantly, I love spending time with my three grown children.
Thank you, Mrs. Southwell, for taking the time!
Do you have questions about how we can help you take charge of your education? Connect with us via our website, where you can also browse course and program options, and find study tips for elementary and secondary students.