Ms. Woodley teaches grade 11 and 12 law at MGCI. We spoke to her about her experiences with life and teaching at the school.
Q: What do you teach?
A: Students, I teach students.
Q: (Laughter) What courses do you teach?
A: Currently I teach Grade 11 law and Grade 12 law.
Q: How long have you taught at MGCI?
A: This is my third year at this school.
Q: What is something students might not know about your department? Something raunchy!
A: We’re fun! Our department can sometimes get a bad rep for being too hard or we mark too hard but I think it is because we have very high expectations. There is a lot of integrity in this department. But we love to joke around and hang out. We’re genuinely friends. Something raunchy though? What secret can I give away?
Q: How about some nicknames you guys have given yourselves?
A: I can’t tell you the nicknames we have given ourselves, but it is the Canadian World Studies department. But we have a few pet names we like to call each other, those cannot be revealed.
Q: We’re also going to ask a few informal questions. What’s your pet peeve?
A: Uh… oh! Cupboard doors being left open. I don’t get why when somebody goes into a cupboard and takes something out then doesn’t close the cupboard afterwards. And people who are unwilling to give something a chance or a second chance.
Q: Share an awkward moment you’ve had as a teacher?
A: Which one can I share? Awkward for myself or for the student?
Q: Up to you.
A: I had a student, at a parent-teacher interview, whose dad once told me that he had a relative that was single. That was a little awkward. Like, by the way, do you have somebody? Would you want to date? As for students, because that one was for me, an embarrassing student one would be… uh, I would have to come back to that one. Some of them I don’t want to share. I plead the fifth!
Q: What would you want students to take away from your classes?
A: In all classes, to understand that learning isn’t passive. You really have to be an active part in what you are doing in order to enjoy it. I want them to not see me necessarily as a teacher but more as a facilitator and someone who is just there to start the conversation. I hope what they take away from that is being responsible for their own learning.
Q: Have you noticed anything change in Marc Garneau over the time you have taught here, anything about the environment?
A: Not really, I think that the one thing that I would say that I would want to change, sometimes I meet teachers in passing, or I meet students in passing because the school is so big that everything is compartmentalized and departmentalized. So sometimes you meet somebody and it’s like “Wow, that is a really cool person.” So something that I wish could change, can I talk about that instead? I wish there was more school spirit. Because there is, but it is a bit too pocketed. I wish there was just a bit more.
Q: What is the main difference between the way you teach now and the way you were taught when you were in high school?
A: I would say there is a significant difference from me in high school. Although I loved my high school teachers, they were really cool, a lot of it was them talking to us instead of talking with us. And I think that is one of the big changes that I would like, I hope, that I deliver. But I guess you would have to ask my students that?
Q: What quirky things characterize the way you teach or your teaching style?
A: I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m the best person to answer that because I’m just the person standing at the front of the room. So I don’t know if what I think of as a quirk is what the students think of as a quirk. But I definitely love to joke around and I like memes. And I try to incorporate that into my teaching. Letting the kids know that this is a place of learning but I have a sense of humour too.
Q: So what’s your favourite meme?
A: So the ones that use – because they’re always really clever and funny and cause I like sarcasm – the ones with Willy Wonka.
One of the really funny ones I tell the students is like, you want extra credit, how about doing all of the regular credit, those are pretty funny, there’s some pretty good ones too. There’s another one, a Mr. Bean one, it shows him having a funny face and he’s like when the teacher tells you to pick a partner. Another good one for math, cause I wasn’t a strong math person was like in class, two plus two is four, in the exam, David has three apples Michael has four, calculate the mass of the sun.
Q: What’s your most hated genre of music?
A: I don’t think I hate any genre. Because to each their own, if it’s what they like and somebody derives happiness from whatever type of music who am I to say it’s not a good type of music but what I wouldn’t listen to is heavy metal, like hardcore heavy metal but I wouldn’t say I hate it.
Q: What is your favourite food establishment in the community?
A: Ohh, Bamiyan Kabob!
Q: Describe yourself in five words.
A: Can I say what I’ve been told? I’ve been told I’m witty, I’m personable, I’m sociable, I am a social introvert – I can be very social when I need to be, when I don’t need to be I like my time alone. So I suppose witty, sociable introvert, funny, chill.
Q: If you could give a single piece of advice to any student in this school, what would it be?
A: Give everything and everybody a chance. Oftentimes we hear things, we make judgements based on what we hear. Your understanding and your stories are always going to be different from everybody else’s. So give yourself a chance, to kinda make that judgement.
Q: Who do you think is the coolest teacher?
A: Myself! Haha, I’m just kidding. This question might get me in trouble. Honestly, there are a lot of really cool teachers in the school, for so many different reasons. I could name off some?
Q: You have to pick one.
A: Oh come on! Well, me. [Laughs] No no no no. Ah… I don’t know. Honestly, there are a lot of cool teachers, cool administration, people are cool for a variety of reasons. I appreciate the coolness in all of the teachers and the office and the office administration. The custodial staff too!
Q: What’s your favourite nerdy pastime?
A: When I watch a movie, and it refers back to like a historical event or something that I don’t know about, I like researching it, so I know more about it. So sometimes it takes me like 5 hours to watch a 2 hour movie or a TV show.
Ms. Woodley has kindly provided us with a number of her favorite memes.