Congratulations to Maxwell Cameron Award recipient and 2021/2022 Bachelor of Education graduate, Dani Rivet!
During Rivet’s time in the Bachelor of Education program, she didn’t only teach her students about leadership, kindness and social justice. She modelled it.
Driven by her passion for societal change, one initiative Rivet directed was creating Christmas hampers with her students to help those in need with basic necessities and, for some, children’s toys. She reached out to multiple grocery stores and worked with the school’s Parent Advisory Committee to receive donations. In addition, despite her practicum finishing on Dec. 3, Rivet continued to come back to the school to create the hampers with her mentor teacher and students. She also assisted in delivering the packages to families and those living rough in downtown Kelowna.
Why did you decide to enter the field of teaching?
My desire to become an educator was sparked after spending three years working with those experiencing homelessness and individuals with developmental delays. My work involved teaching life skills, addressing mental health and/or substance use, providing basic needs, and helping clients to move forward in their lives. It was not until I began to reflect on who my clients are, where they came from, and who they could have been that I realized how much of a role I could play in mitigating the systematic barriers placed on families today.
I decided I wanted to become an educator when I realized the part I could play in supporting children before the systematic burdens have the chance to take their toll on them. Because of these experiences, one of my main goals is to become a leader for my students, and someone who excites them to become motivated, lifelong learners. Moreover, as I am aware of the diversity of backgrounds existing within our schools, I aim to create an environment where every student can feel safe and comfortable every day. Finally, I hope to continue to have the opportunity to integrate lessons of social justice and empathy into my future practice.
What was your experience at the Okanagan School of Education (OSE) like?
My experiences at OSE were pivotal in the development of my identity as a teacher. The experiences I had throughout the program helped me to blend my existing values and perspectives with those that I discovered along the way. The multifaceted nature of the program opened my eyes to the notion that we are all lifelong learners, which has taught me to embrace everything that I can from every opportunity.
My favourite memories from my time at the OSE are embedded in my practicum experiences. During these experiences, I made countless friendships with mentors, advisors, and colleagues that I will cherish forever. Additionally, I always laugh when I think back to my first practicum and how nervous I was to teach my lessons. By the end, I was able to see how valuable each and every teaching opportunity was as I felt comfortable and confident to begin my career as an independent, yet connected educator.
What does receiving the award mean to you?
Receiving this award is very meaningful to me, as it directly aligns with my beliefs surrounding the importance of raising awareness about social justice and the difficulties people living in poverty face. In my short career as a teacher, I have found that students have at times been unaware of the challenges that people and families living in poverty encounter, and it has been exciting to foster learning around these important societal issues. It has always been important to me to address and inform people of the severe issues of poverty existing in our local community.
I am honoured to be recognized for my efforts around teaching students the impact of selfless acts of kindness, along with understanding that there are ways that we can help those who face challenges in their lives. It was evident to me that the students learned a great deal during our kindness inquiry, and approached each lesson in an empathic, heartwarming way.
What advice do you have for future Bachelor of Education students?
My first piece of advice is to have fun with it, as the program goes by faster than you can imagine. My second piece of advice would be to make connections with colleagues, mentors, and anyone else in your educational circles all connections will help you in the long run! My third piece of advice would be to enter every experience with an open mind because you never know what experiences will alter and mesh with your pedagogical stance.
About the Maxwell Cameron Award
The Maxwell A. Cameron Award is given annually by the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) to students completing the final year of the Bachelor of Education degree in elementary and secondary school teaching. The recipients of the award are those students who are considered to be outstanding students in the graduating class who have initiated, worked, or participated in a project that created positive change globally or in their local community, and or, been actively involved in issues related to poverty, LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, antiracism, peace, global or environmental issues.
The award is named after Maxwell Cameron who headed the Department of Education at UBC in the mid-1940s. Prior to that, he was on staff as an associate professor and director of UBC’s summer school.