Meet Our Teacher Leaders
We have always been proud of our passionate group of Teacher Leaders. And during this global pandemic, we feel even more grateful for the wonderful work they do, sharing their knowledge and inspiring other educators across Canada to bring STEM into their online and in-person classrooms. Over the next few months, we would like to introduce you to some of the Teacher Leaders who are making an impact in their school communities.
Meet Stéphanie Gaudet
Stéphanie has been an elementary teacher for over 14 years, and she is currently a homeroom teacher for a Grade 5/6 class. For the past year, she has facilitated the LIVE Code broadcasts in French (LIVE Code English). She will also be facilitating the new season of LIVE STEM broadcasts in French (also available in English).
What are your main goals as a teacher?
I hope to help students become autonomous. They may not need to know that Saskatchewan was created in 1905 but they should know how to get to the answer. They should know how to troubleshoot, problem-solve, find solutions, and be proud of what they’re learning.
What have you and your students learned through participating in the LIVE Code broadcasts?
My students were very excited to participate. It was such a great opportunity to bring it into our school. We’re not a very big school, so my students felt very special being on a live broadcast across Canada. And we learned lots of things outside of just coding. Filming the broadcasts was a unique experience in itself. We learned lots of patience.
I’m definitely looking forward to the next season of broadcasts. The first question, on the first day of school from my Grade 5/6 class, was when we’re starting this again. They got to do activities and things they’d never done at school before, so it really broadened their horizons. All of us teachers learned a lot, too.
What do you enjoy about being a Teacher Leader?
I get to meet other like-minded teachers (through email and Zoom right now), swap notes and get new knowledge on different topics. All of the other Teach Leaders are awesome. They have expertise way past anything that I ever thought I would know about when it comes to science, technology, engineering and math. Some of them have beautiful projects that I hope to one day do with my students. They’re an excellent team and group of colleagues to work with and for.
The entire Let’s Talk Science team is excellent—very competent and professional and approachable. I’m never scared to ask a silly question that I should probably already know about. They always find someone to help me, and they always answer all of my questions with lots of detail.
What is the most rewarding part of being a Teacher Leader?
Learning new concepts or new ways of doing things and sharing them with others. A few years ago, I would stick to my curriculum and say I don’t have time to do anything else. But now I can look at my curriculum—and it doesn’t even have to be science, it can be French or English—and I can work in a STEM outcome or push the activity a little further and get my students to reflect on something different. I’m incorporating things that I never thought I would before. It’s about getting out of your comfort zone—and then going with it!
What virtual Let's Talk Science resources have you appreciated most during the pandemic?
They have lots of resources available. Teachers can use them in their online or in-person classrooms. They also have webinars. Tonight, I’m hosting one on changing from face-to-face teaching to virtual. Basically, how the location may change, but the ways of teaching doesn’t have to. We just have to think outside the box. Let's Talk Science is stepping up to the situation we’re currently in and giving educators the opportunities we need—teachers just have to take them up on it.
When it comes to your own classroom, how have you managed to incorporate STEM activities during Covid-19 times?
We need a lot more resources now because every student in my class gets their own kit, which we will disinfect before handing it off to someone else. But aside from keeping physical distance, wearing masks, washing hands, and disinfecting things, not a lot of things have changed.
Activities can be done. You just need more time and patience. You take a lot of deep breaths because things don’t always go as planned. But that’s also how it is in a normal classroom in a normal year!
What is your greatest hope for teachers and students right now?
For teachers, to get through this. One day at a time. And for students, to continue to learn new skills and recognize that this isn’t what it used to be. We don’t know what it will be, so we just have to live in the moment and learn things from it. I also hope students will learn how to deal with their anxiety and stresses because they have a lot. And together, as a society, we will get through this.