Day 84 - Karen

84 Karen.jpeg

Day 84 - Karen (2nd person I approached)

March 25, 2014 - Karen was born and raised in the Killarney area of Vancouver. She attended one elementary school and one high school.

“Yeah, I still know people I went to school with. I’m actually good friends with a woman that I went to kindergarten with. We don’t see each other all that often, but there are about five of us who try to get together about four or five times a year,” Karen says. 


After high-school, Karen went to the University of British Columbia (UBC) for a year, studying child health care.

“I applied for and got accepted to a program that started in second year. You needed to have one year of University to qualify, and so I moved to Victoria and went to the University of Victoria (UVic), for three years, completing my child health care degree. It ran the whole spectrum of child health care subjects, from infant care right through to troubled adolescents.” said Karen. 


When she graduated, Karen moved back to Vancouver. Working three part-time jobs, Karen told me,

“It’s hard to get a full-time job right out of school, and so I took what I could and ended up working about 60 hours a week.”

Karen's jobs included working in a home supporting autistic children, and working with parents whose children were struggling and potentially making poor decisions. Her support helped to keep the youth integrated in the community.

“I got into the school system, and was working at a school, with a class for about eight months. One Friday I was told I had been replaced by someone returning from a leave, and that was that. I didn’t even have a chance to say goodbye to the kids I had spent eight months with. After that I decided to go back to school and get my Teachers certification,” Karen said. 


After another year at UBC, Karen was qualified as a teacher.

“I spent some time as a teacher on call (TOC) and then managed to get hired by the school board,” she said.

Karen has been a primary teacher, working with children in Grades one through three, for almost 25 years now. Karen and her husband, who is also a teacher did spend a year in Greece, teaching English. They have two children, a son and a daughter.


I asked Karen what she found to be the most challenging aspect of her job as a teacher. After a few moments considering her answer, Karen told me,

”It’s not so much the job really, it’s more about the perception of it. I think because everyone has been to school, they think it’s easy. The role of the teacher isn’t held in the same regard as they once used to be.”

Karen told me that she knows of many teachers who have to take other jobs during the summer to make ends meet. There’s also the extra hours spent in preparing for the classroom. Karen went on to say,

“It’s as if people seem to think it’s such an easy job. There’s this thought that the job is from 9:00am-3:00pm. I challenge anyone to try and look after 25 little people with no pre-planning or prior organization time.” #notastranger