Spotlight on Grade 1

IMG_2172Maila Gray has had quite the educational journey across her 12 years of teaching. “I have always loved education and working with kids, but I never imagined when I became a teacher that I would also get to fuel my passion for travel.” Maila has taught in Korea as well as in the United Arab Emirates. “I loved being immersed in other cultures and gaining new perspectives. With that said, I knew the time to return home was approaching, and St-Laurent Academy allowed me to do that.” Originally from Montreal, Maila has made her home in Ottawa and loves her new adopted city. “Having lived in the Middle East and Far East, Ottawa is practically down the street from Montreal!”

As a grade 1 teacher, Maila loves to build the foundations for her students in many subjects. “Obviously my students developed a great deal last year in Kindergarten, but as play-based learning is replaced, I think the grade 1 curriculum really puts me ‘on the ground floor’ for their learning. I want my students to be comfortable, inquisitive, curious and willing to explore, not just in Grade 1, but also for the rest of their time in education. That desire is why I love what I do.”

The grade 1 curriculum in language arts relies a great deal on expressing ideas and understanding meaning from texts. “I love that because it allows me to be creative and develop fun projects for my students. We are currently in a unit on ‘Becoming an Author,’ and how we all have stories to share. The kids really like it!” In social studies, a large aspect of the course focuses on rights and responsibilities at home and in school, as well as being a part of a community. “I love teaching at St-Laurent Academy because I consider the school an accepting and engaging community. I am always using our school and how it operates as an example of a positive community within my social studies classes.”

IMG_2167Enjoying her second year at St-Laurent Academy, Maila is always trying to relate the curriculum with personal experiences. “I think teaching is about bringing topics and ideas to life. Teaching is bringing parts of who we are into the classroom. For instance, this past summer I drove across Canada and the US. It was an amazing trip and was something I always wanted to do. Now, as we approach our school’s Terry Fox Run, I can tell my students I saw his statue in Thunder Bay and I can talk about how he made it halfway across one of the largest countries in the world. Putting a personal spin on things is often the difference between things being exciting and things being ordinary. I definitely prefer for things to be exciting in my classroom!”