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Anita Louise Keith

October 2010

Anita Louise Keith Photo

  • Home Community:
    Kichesipirini Algonquin
    First Nation
  • Cultural Identity:
    Algonquin/Mohawk
  • Current Position:
    Instructor
  • Education/Training:
    My areas of study are BA in Aboriginal Self Government, Masters in Intercultural Studies and certificate in Adult Education.
  • Roles/Responsibilty:
    I am an instructor in the School of Indigenous Education at Red River College. As an instructor, each term we are assigned a variety of classes to teach in several departments. In this term, September 2010,
    I am teaching six courses: Introduction to College in the Biindigen Program, Introduction to College in the Computer Applications in Business, Project Management in Aboriginal Self Government, Essential Employability Skills in the Trades Program, Aboriginal World Issues in the Aboriginal Self Government Program and Aboriginal World Issues in the Biindigen Program. As well, I am an Academic Advisor for our school. I also sit on the Advisory Board for the Aboriginal Self Government Program and participate in the Curriculum Development Committee.
“Teaching for me is not a career it is a privilege. I am honored to be involved in my students’ lives.”

What obstacles did you face and how did you
overcome them?

As is the case with many Aboriginal families, there have been a lot of family crisis that I have had to deal with while obtaining my education. The two incidents that were the biggest obstacles were the failing health of my mother for a period of two years. She was in intensive care for seven months and I had to withdraw from my courses. After she passed away, I was the primary caregiver for my father and again, I had to withdraw from my studies to look after him. How did I persevere? One day at a time. I did the next thing that had to be done. When I was free from my family responsibilities I began my studies again. It is a journey. As long as you keep walking down the path Creator has set for you, I believe you will be successful.

What or who inspired you to really go after the profession you are in now?
A close friend suggested that this career change might be perfect for me. As I dialogued with other close friends, they encouraged me to go for it. I did and it was the best choice I ever made. I absolutely enjoy teaching!

What critical choices or decisions did you make that helped you get where you are today?
The change in careers was dramatic for me. I was very settled in a government job and could have stayed there till my retirement; but I wanted to do more with my life. As well, I am someone who enjoys helping others and this played a large role in my decision. In the government I performed a lot of administrative tasks; but with teaching I knew I could make a difference. It was worth taking the risk.

Message of Encouragement:
I think the legacy each of us as instructors can leave for our students is to let them know they can reach for the stars and be successful. I tell my students I was like them once upon a time. I was a single mom struggling to pay bills and make ends meet. I let them know that I have sat where they are sitting and what helped me to be successful was to do one more assignment, come to one more class and to persevere.

Teaching for me is not a career it is a privilege. I am honored to be involved in my students’ lives. I so enjoy watching the ‘lights go on’ when they ‘get it’ during a lesson. I so appreciate their effort and struggle and I consider it an honor to help them walk out their journey to success.

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