Indigenous Excellence

Tania Munroe

May 2012

Tania Munroe Photo

  • Home Community:
    Garden Hill First Nation
  • Cultural Identity: Oji-Cree
  • Current Position:
    Consultant at Indigenous Excellence
  • Education/Training: Bachelor of Education, Masters in Education (counselling)
  • Roles/Responsibilty:
    I love to connect people with education and school. My main responsibility is to connect Aboriginal parents and school so that our children can be successful
“Just do it! The goals and the dreams you have for your future can be achieved as long as you try.”

What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
I grew up in Garden Hill and I had a good education but when I entered an urban high school I quickly realized that I did not have the skills to be on the same level as other students. My self esteem was at a low. I first entered the huge brick building that taught hundreds of students. I manoeuvred my way to my first math class. The teacher walks in without introduction and immediately wrote algebraic letters and numbers. I had not seen this kind of math before. I felt lost and alone. I failed my first test miserably. When I got that test back I got angry at myself and told myself that this was not going to happen again. I talked to my teacher, got a tutor, and worked day and night to get myself to the same level as my classmates. I graduated high school in two years.

What or who inspired you to really go after the profession you are in now?
My mom and dad are both teachers and they inspired me to get a good education. The importance of education was instilled in me from the beginning. They supported me to become an educator and to be the best I can be. I am lucky to have such support.  Early on, when my mom told me that I was going to school, I didn’t really understand what she meant. My first day at Kindergarten came and my world had changed.  I had entered a school where I would spend most of my time and energy. The classroom was filled with play structures, toys, and children!  I met my teacher Ella Jane Knott. She was so kind and welcomed me into the world of education. I sat on the wooden slide and that was when I decided that I was going to be like her. I went home and told my mom that I wanted to be a teacher.

What critical choices or decisions did you make that helped you get where you are today?
The shock of entering an urban high school really affected me to make the decision to become a high school teacher. I felt alone and lost during my time in high school. I did not feel welcomed and I did not feel any success. What got me through was the motivation that this part of my life was temporary and that if I work hard enough I can change my circumstances. I was going to get my university degrees as fast as I can and help Aboriginal students become successful! I did get my university degrees and have made a difference in my student’s lives. My career decisions were made with Aboriginal students in mind. I want to be a positive role model and help Aboriginal people become successful with education.

Message of encouragement
Just do it! The goals and the dreams you have for your future can be achieved as long as you try. At times you might doubt yourself and have low self esteem. Get rid of those and find ways in which to finish school. You are the one that can build your life. Motivate yourself by finding resources and find the people that will support you!