Teacher Champion - Alexandra Chan
In this issue of our BCAITC Teacher Champion series, we profile elementary school teacher, Alexandra Chan. Discover her passion for educating students about BC agriculture and food.
Q: What school do you teach at? A: Ellison Elementary in Kelowna.
Q: What grade(s) do you teach? A: Grade 4/5. Q: How and when did you first learn about BCAITC? A: In February 2019, I took part in a professional development workshop run by BCAITC. I was then a participant in the BCAITC Educators Agriculture Tour that summer and loved getting to see where some of our BC produce is grown.
Q: How long have you been teaching students about BC agriculture and food? A: I became interested in agriculture after living and teaching in rural Japan. Living in a farming community I saw firsthand where food is grown and harvested. I was lucky to become friends with a few farmers who let me “help” out in the planting, harvesting and caring for produce like rice, grapes, bamboo shoots, and persimmons. Having grown up in downtown Toronto, I was fascinated by how much care and love went into growing food. When I returned to BC and did my teaching degree, I knew that I wanted to incorporate agriculture into my teaching practice. Starting with my practicum I created a cooking club for my elementary students.
Q: What are the most important things that you want your students to learn about BC agriculture and food? A: That the people who grow our food here in BC put a lot of care into their work. This summer when I was in the BCAITC Summer Institute, I was able to virtually meet many BC farmers and hear about how incredibly hard they work to feed BC. I also learned that we need more farmers and there are so many career opportunities for students.
Q: BCAITC has over 500 free downloadable resources including lesson plans, activities, videos, recipes, and more! What is your favourite BCAITC resource and why? A: This year our grade 4/5 students are big buddies to the kindergarten classes. I am really looking forward to doing some cooking lessons with them. The applesauce recipe is especially timely at this time of year because our school is in-between a few apple orchards and there are apples galore all around us!
Q: What is your favourite BCAITC program and why? A: I’m really excited to take part in the Spuds in Tubs program this year with my students. Our students thrive with experiential learning opportunities so I know they will love this program.
Q: What is an agriculture or food based project you have recently implemented in your classroom? A: Last year, my teaching partner and I worked with our students to build garden beds for the school. The students and community bought in and we had a student bring in compost from home and we received a donation of seeds from West Coast Seeds. All the classes got half a box and it was exciting for them to plant their seeds, care for their sprouts and then enjoy their harvest.
Q: Do you have any advice for other educators on how to integrate agriculture and food education into their curriculum? A: Get outside and let your students get dirty!
Download PDF of this feature here.
About the Teacher Champion Series: This monthly BCAITC series features BC teachers who are passionate about providing agriculture and food education to K-12 students. For more information, contact our Communications Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org.