By Alexandria Friesen, WorkStory Ambassador
Do you know any people who have achieved their childhood dreams? I am being honest when I say that I don’t know many who are in that boat. But to make all of us feel better, I’m going to tell you the story of a girl who has done just that.
Meet Mlle. Catherine Peraino – a Grade 3 and 4 French Immersion teacher at Gregory A. Hogan Elementary School in Sarnia where she has worked for three years. Inspired by her kindergarten teacher to fulfill her wish of having “a great impact on someone’s life” as she did on hers, Catherine pursued her post-secondary education immediately following high school.
While she has always wanted to be a teacher, Catherine can say for certain that it was not always the easiest of paths! After high school Catherine attended the University of Windsor and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in French Honors and a Bachelor of Education. In addition to her University of Windsor education, she participated in a summer exchange at Université Québec à Trois Rivières and a third year exchange at Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis. She says her first year of university was the hardest as her marks were not where she hoped they would be. While she may have been fluent in French, she was not prepared for the level of French she needed to study in University. “I was almost ready to drop out of my program after I had received a C on my first French test”, she says, “...but with the support of my parents, I had decided I was going to continue working hard to finish my first year.” And she is very thankful she did!
As I’m sure you know, obtaining a teaching job is not always the easiest of tasks. In fact, after graduating Catherine had planned on moving to Alberta with her brother, where lots of jobs were available. She explored the career fair at the University of Windsor while applying to various school boards in other counties. Catherine was very lucky to be hired quite soon after she began applying for jobs, but her fear of the unknown made her nervous for when she would secure something permanent. Her determination to find a permanent job within the school board she had applied to paid off and she finally got one and has been working there ever since! Catherine adores her job and says that it is “a career I will definitely have for the rest of my life; it truly makes me happy. It’s great when you can go to work and love what you do so much that it doesn’t even feel like work”.
Interested in being a teacher? Mlle. Peraino’s advice is definitely valuable. Open-mindedness is important in any career, especially teaching. “It is necessary to stay open to the idea of moving”. Catherine works two hours away from her home, but says that if she had decided to only stay local, she most likely wouldn’t have a job yet. “If you really want to be a teacher, you need to be willing to move,” she says, “because there are jobs, just not necessarily in ideal places”. She encourages you to always remain hopeful and to not give up – always try to better yourself as an educator so you can become noticed. Her best advice - “Stay positive and don’t give up!”