At the Centre is an ongoing blog series that features faculty and staff at the Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement (CEIIA).
Renée Clark is a faculty member at the Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement. She has worked at the CEIIA for 10 years as an ELL instructor, and she's also a Lead Instructor for training faculty in PBLA.
What do you like most about your job?
I love being in the classroom. While some days may be more difficult than others, I genuinely look forward to coming to work each day. My latest passion has been leading staff training sessions; it gives me the opportunity to work with my colleagues in a completely different way.
What’s one thing that you’ve learned since working here?
I have learned that my role goes beyond instructing learners. For many of our students, we are their primary connection to information and community services that they require. I have learned that in order for a learner to be successful in language, they must have support that sometimes goes beyond the classroom.
What do you value most about your colleagues?
Everyone in our department is incredibly resourceful. Between our coordinators, instructors, administrators, and learner success officers, we can solve any problem that comes to our attention.
Who is an educator that has impacted your life?
I had a university professor who was so incredibly passionate in the classroom that I thought to myself, “I want this.”
What are three traits that are important in your role?
Patience, resourcefulness, and organization.
What is your favourite go-to resource?
I am often in awe of the experience and knowledge that resides in CEIIA. If I need help or inspiration, I look to the people around me.
Can you describe an aha moment you have experienced in your role?
In my first year of teaching, I remember asking a student with limited English to “take a seat,” only to be met with a blank stare and confusion over the expression. That moment taught me to constantly re-evaluate who my audience is when I am speaking.
What do you want to learn this year?
I would like to learn about different assessment tools and their use in an ELL context.
What is your favourite book?
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is one of those books that I just can’t let go of. I think about it often. I also love everything by Chuck Palahniuk.
Name one thing about yourself that most people don’t know.
Most people don’t know that I lived in Zimbabwe, Africa for a few years as a child. As I only learned three words of the local language, I can honestly say that my students are much better language learners than I!