My name is Nissa Shiell; I am a wife and mother, a professional musician and a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Education program through the University of Regina. I live with my family on the shores of beautiful Birch Lake, Saskatchewan, nestled in the boreal forest.
During my internship I was placed in a rural K-12 school in North West Saskatchewan. I worked mainly as a classroom teacher to a dynamic group of Grade 3s, additionally teaching a Grade 8/9 ELA class and a unit for Art 30. The learning I gained, through the guidance of my cooperating teachers, and from my inspiring and diverse learners, was life changing. I have always known that I wanted to be a teacher, but now with these experiences under my belt, I feel I am finally prepared to step into that role.
I am a musician, a singer, and a songwriter. I have recorded and toured across Canada, on my own and with various groups and collectives, as a children’s performer, folk singer/songwriter, and more recently as one third of the all girl trio, Raven She Hollers, performing and recording original and old time swing, bluegrass and jazz tunes. I have worked as a librarian, a play schoolteacher, and as an educational assistant. These experiences, combined with my creative musical background, have inspired me to work towards my dream of being a teacher, with a particular interest in literacy, the arts and active/outdoor education.
I believe that each individual is endowed with a unique set of strengths and challenges. I also believe that each of us is responsible for developing our strengths and finding ways to address our challenges. As an educator, I hope to provide learners with the agency and support they need to accomplish both of these goals.
In order to learn, each of us needs to actively engage in the learning process. I believe that by encouraging learners to take an active role in planning and assessing their own learning they will be scaffolded to a higher level of engagement. This does not mean that students have free reign in my classroom, neither do I intend to neglect my planning and assessing role as an educator; what I intend to do is create a learning environment in which my students feel supported and valued, while also feeling a sense of ownership and responsibility for their own learning. Working within the scope of the curriculum document, I will encourage my students to offer ideas and thoughts about what projects they undertake to meet the outcomes for each area, taking an active role in planning, undertaking learning activities, and assessing if outcomes have been achieved.
I believe that the most important teachers in a young learner’s life are within their own families. Here the foundations for future success are forged, and beliefs and values are formed. I feel that it is very important to form friendly, working relationships with my learners families, in order to best meet the needs of each individual learner.
I believe that learning is a lifelong endeavour, and I am excited and galvanized to continue on my own journey of learning and growing, while I support and nurture these experiences for my students.