Recently discovered heritage inspiration for teaching career
September 10, 2012
By Fred Michah Rynor
Witnessing racial bigotry amongst some of her peers in her hometown of Dryden, Ontario, became an issue for first-year student Sasha Reid ... especially when she found out that she was actually a member of Canada's Aboriginal community herself.
"When I was growing up I was dragged into a racist scene," Reid says. "Then, three years ago, I found out that I was part Métis. This discovery taught me how important it is to disregard racial stereotypes, to discover your ancestral roots and to help out with your community."
Years ago, while a a general science student at Lakehead University, Reid assisted students in the Native Language Instructors Program with their studies and volunteered to look after their children during and after class time.
Always intensely interested in kids and education, Reid has just finished four years of undergrad work at U of T which resulted in an honors bachelor degree with a specialist in psychology and mental health.
Now, at 23, she's beginning her first year at OISE and aiming for a Masters of Child Study in Education.
"I worked alongside a professor doing research on the psychobiology of psychopathy and the results were presented at the Canadian Psychological Association Conference in June of last year. I loved being here and since OISE is one of the most reputable educational institutions in the world, I immediately signed up to further my passion."
Reid has many goals for her future but two main priorities include starting her own school somewhere in Canada and devoting much of her life to teaching Aboriginal youth.
"I've been dreaming about my own school for the past two years now," Reid says. "Part of this planning included my being an Aboriginal and Equity Initiatives Student Leader here at U of T and OISE which is managed through the Faculty of Physical Education and Health and U of T's First Nations House."
While she is no longer with this initiative, Reid intends to give a $250 bursary to one dedicated Aboriginal student of the program each year.
During the coming school term, Reid will work on her research project which studies the bureaucratization of the Canadian public school system as well as a work study project assisting OISE professors with office administration practices.
"The reason that I'm interested in education is that when I walk into elementary schools I'm overwhelmed by a profound sense of wonder and possibility. However, as the years progress and you enter high school or university this sense of wonder feels diminished. I want to be a teacher so that children can carry their sense of possibility into the future and they can end up living the life they dream of."
Reid's own sense of wonder has only increased since taking part in this year's Orientation Day.
"It has been so very interesting and actually quite overwhelming because there's a lot here to get involved in. With so many initiatives happening within these walls it makes me just want to jump into all of it!"
Reid received a $1,500 bursary from the Métis Nation of Ontario to help with this year's educational expenses.