Inspiring Selfhood as a Childhood Educator

Stenberg College / December 30, 2019 / Early Childhood Education Early Childhood Education Post-Basic Success Stories / 0 comments

For the Early Childhood Education Basic (ECE) and Post-Basic (ECE-PB) Student of the Year, Samantha (Sammi) Stittle, the end of her education signifies the key to finding her place in the world.

Sammi smiled confidently with her Student of the Year gown. She overcame a lot to become an Early Childhood Educator.

FROM MOVEMENT TO STILLNESS

Although Sammi dreamt of becoming an inspirational ECE, she was unsure of how to reach her true potential. Her home life in Saskatchewan was unsteady. “Between kindergarten and grade 12, I moved pretty much every single year,” recalled Sammi.

What she lacked at home, she wanted to change in the world, sometimes at the cost of her own well-being. “In high school, I was in a lot of fights and was even suspended. But the way I looked at it—I was helping people who were picked on and bullied,” Sammi said proudly.

After high school, she continued to move. At one point, she had moved thirteen times in one year. She also had a miscarriage, which made the idea of working with children difficult to imagine. Things hit rock bottom when an emotionally gruelling relationship came to its inevitable end. “My mental health took a hard hit. I had no idea where I was going. I was just kind of done with everything,” Sammi recalled.

Then Sammi received a call from Kristine Simpson in Surrey. Kristine had found Sammi’s information on Canada Nanny and was desperate to find a nanny for her two children. Sammi was honest about her situation. “I told her I wasn’t in a good place and perhaps I wasn’t the best fit. She told me if I was willing to make a change, she’d have me.” Sammi decided to take the job. She sold all her possessions and moved to Vancouver.

“After taking Kristine’s kids to school, I would walk along Crescent Beach, write, and watch the water hit the rocks. On one such walk, I realized taking care of children comes so naturally—this was the life I wanted,” Sammi said. “I’d seen so much potential in children who come from homes that may have poverty or addiction. I want to show them they can change their life.”

Sammi and her boyfriend and family at her Graduation. They all came to share her happiness.

Sammi with James and family.

Around the time Sammi realized her new career goal, she also met her boyfriend, James, who, along with her mom and his family, has been incredibly supportive of Sammi’s dream. She exclaimed, “James saw more in me than I saw in myself!”

“Between kindergarten and grade 12, I moved pretty much every single year.”

GIVING 100%

With this support, Sammi became the only person in Stenberg’s history to achieve a 100% GPA in the ECE program. Her favourite part was the creative arts module where she had to make a prop and create a story around it. “My story was about a felt puppet named Boowiggles Spookerton, who was very nervous on his first day of school but had an amazing time!” she said happily. “I love making puppets. It’s all I do in my spare time now!”

“I’d seen so much potential in children who come from homes that may have poverty or addiction. I want to show them they can change their life.”

Sammi also enjoyed helping her classmates, who are amazed by her supportive and hardworking nature. “As an international student, whenever I struggled to understand the lesson or the assignment, Sammi would always help me,” said classmate Khin Hnin Si Zaw.

Her ECE program instructor, Sharmaine Kamwere, also spoke highly of Sammi, “Sammi always displayed a high degree of integrity, responsibility, and ambition. She’s definitely a leader rather than a follower. Her good judgment and mature outlook ensure a logical and practical approach to her endeavours.”

After graduating from ECE, Sammi continued onto the ECE-PB program. Managing time between the online ECE-PB modules while working as an ECE was challenging but Sammi loved it. “It was fascinating to learn about infant development,” Sammi stated. “When I got to the part about how infants absorb language, I was so excited that I kept looking up from my screen and sharing what I’d learned with my boyfriend.”

Sammi and her ECE instructor, Sharmaine. Sammi was nominated by her instructors as a Student of the Year.

Sharmaine Kamwere (right) praised Sammi’s integrity and passion for education

A PASSION TO NURTURE

From a person who struggled to find her sense of self, Sammi has become an educator who inspires selfhood in children. Jennifer Chaloner, Principal of CEFA Walnut Grove, where Sammi did her practicum, spoke positively about Sammi. “Being an educator is more than just teaching, it’s a passion you must possess. I truly believe Sammi has the passion and the right ability to be an excellent and successful educator.”

“My story was about a felt puppet named Boowiggles Spookerton, who was very nervous on his first day of school but had an amazing time!”

“I see a future for myself now, and I never really used to before,” said Sammi. She wants to find a childcare centre that reflects her teaching philosophy. She’s excited about getting married, buying a house, and having kids. “Going to college has shown me that I’m capable of excelling and crushing my goals.” ❉