Welcome! My name is Joni Hesselgrave—Ms. H to all the amazing students I have taught—and I look forward to sharing my teaching journey!

I begin with my story and hope that it leads to a better understanding of who I am as a teacher.  Parker Palmer (1997) said it best: “We teach who we are.”

I have wanted to be a teacher since childhood, but the path I have taken has not been as direct as I thought it would be.  The spark was ignited in elementary school, where I was fortunate to have inspiring, encouraging, and devoted teachers who showed me the importance of teaching—a career that touches upon the lives of so many children.  Myself and fellow classmates arrived at school each day, bringing with us our own strengths and stretches, and these teachers met each of us exactly where we were.  This marveled me.  How were they able to adapt concepts so that we all understood?  How did they know so much??  Above and beyond their knowledge, how could they be so caring and understanding—even on the extremely challenging days (putting out “fires” at every turn, fielding not-so-kind remarks from the students they tried so hard for)???  These teachers were real-life superheroes and I wanted to be a superhero too!!

During high school, my desire to become a teacher grew stronger.  After I graduated, I chose to pursue my Bachelor of Arts degree, focusing on two teachable subjects (Geography and History), at the University of Northern British Columbia.  The plan was to finish my BA in four years before going on to complete the two-year Bachelor of Education program.  But life took a turn.  After third year, I received a job offer and started a family.  I was fortunate to stay home and raise my three children until they were ready to embark on their own educational journeys!  Each day, I was surrounded by children  and could not imagine myself doing anything that did not involve working with youth.

15 years after first entering university, my desire to become a teacher was still thereperhaps stronger than before.  Being a mother, watching my children grow, helping them learn about the world around them and how they fit into it, and seeing the excitement in their eyes as they grasped new concepts fueled my passion.  The day my youngest child headed out the door to begin kindergarten, I too headed out the door to begin my fourth and final year of the Bachelor of Arts program.  Receiving my BA has allowed me to work as a non-certified teacher in School District 28 (Quesnel, BC).   I have taught on-call in grades K-12 and have held temporary and/or part-time positions in grade 2/3, grade 4, grade 4/5, and grade 6/7.

My life and work experiences have shown me firsthand that teaching is the profession for me.  I may have taken the long road to get here, but there is no doubt in my mind that being a teacher and teaching our youth is what I am meant to do!  I am happy to be a Teacher Candidate (TC) in the newly redesigned Bachelor of Education program at the University of Northern British Columbia and look forward to growing as a person and educator!!  I hope you enjoy watching my growth unfold throughout this portfolio!!

Together in education,

Ms. H