At the Centre is an ongoing blog series that features faculty and staff at the Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement (CEIIA).
Emily Albertsen is an ESL literacy instructor at the Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement. She has taught ESL literacy for the last ten years at the CEIIA and has worked with both adult and youth learners. Emily is currently working with the CEIIA's Innovation and Research team as a content expert on a collaborative project with the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks.
What do you like most about your job?
I wake up every morning thinking that I get to spend the day creating something. I love that feeling. I enjoy writing and I am happy that I have to learn new things for my projects.
I am also very happy to be working in ESL literacy. ESL literacy learners have had to wait a long time to get to go to school. It is an honour to teach them and to create resources that will hopefully impact ESL literacy instruction in Canada.
What’s one thing that you’ve learned since working here?
Through working with learners who have not had the opportunity to finish school, I have really learned the value of an education, to the individual, a community, and the world.
What do you value most about your colleagues?
My colleagues are supportive, funny, creative, and competent.
Who is an educator that has impacted your life?
My grade 3-6 teacher, who believed that I was a good writer, and showed me how to be a better one.
What are three traits that are important in your role?
Patience and flexibility, a sense of humour, compassion.
What is your favourite go-to resource?
My colleagues. My students. Novels.
Can you describe an aha moment you have experienced in your role?
It really changed my perspective on teaching ESL literacy when my own young children started school. It has really shown me the value of a primary school education as I watch all the amazing development that happens in kindergarten, grade one, grade two – reading, writing, math, science, thinking, patterns, connections, strategies. It is a little disheartening for me to see how much my students have missed, but I am even more determined to teach them as much as I can.
What do you want to learn this year?
I want to learn how to be concise and effective in my writing.
What is your favourite book?
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. The Lost Garden by Helen Humphreys. Dirt Music by Tim Winton. Solomon Gursky Was Here by Mordecai Richler. The Kurt Wallander novels by Henning Mankell.
Name one thing about yourself that most people don’t know.
I’m actually pretty well an open book, so I don’t think there are too many things people don’t know about me. I spent most of my twenties living in Denmark and have a Danish husband. What people might not know is that although English is my first language, sometimes I feel more myself when I am speaking Danish. We have been home in Canada for ten years but there are still things I miss about Denmark, like the bread, the buildings, and the ocean.