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April Waters – Makade Binesi Ikwe
(Black Thunderbird Woman)

October 2019

April Walters photo

  • Home Community:
    Balmoral, Manitoba
  • Cultural Identity:
  • Current Position:
    Deep Learning Coach for St. James-Assiniboia School Division (formerly Indigenous Education Teacher)
  • Education/Training:
    B.A./B.Ed. (University of Winnipeg); Post Baccalaureate in Indigenous Education (University of Winnipeg); currently working on Masters degree in Educational Administration with a focus on Indigenous leadership (University of Manitoba)
  • Roles/Responsibilties:
    Currently responsible for supporting the education and implementation of Deep Learning in St. James-Assiniboia School Division’s schools from K-12; providing instructional support for teacher and administrators; collaborating and co-teaching with classroom teachers.
“Get comfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable!”

What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
Overall there is still a lack of knowledge in the education world (and within Canada as a whole) around Indigenous perspectives/history/culture/worldview, and that has definitely been a challenge in the work that I do. I’ve been very lucky to have some incredible Elders and Knowledge Keepers to learn from, who have steered me in the right direction.  Building strong relationships with my colleagues has also been the greatest way to address the gap – they trust that they can admit when they don’t know, and they’re interested and excited to learn. The only way we can move our country forward is through working together!

What or who inspired you to really go after the profession you are in now?
My parents have always been very supportive of anything that I wanted to get into, and they encouraged me to pursue university when I discovered that this was my gift. I was really fortunate to have some pretty fantastic teachers in my life who inspired me to get into education. It’s amazing when you think about the potential impact that teachers can have on our youth, and how that impact can last a lifetime!  I’m also constantly inspired every day by the brilliance of kids in our classrooms; I strongly believe that our future is in good hands!

What critical choices or decisions did you make that helped you get where you are today?
The toughest decision I made was to leave the comfort and safety of my classroom, and move into the area of supporting teachers and administrators in their own learning. I wasn’t entirely confident in my abilities to do that when I took that leap, but I am really happy that I did. Supporting our educators in their learning journey can be a challenge, but each day brings something new, and I know the work ultimately benefits all of our students.

Message of Encouragement:
Get comfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable! Whether you’re learning professionally or about yourself personally, being uncomfortable and vulnerable is when we do our best learning! It is meant to be messy and awkward and frustrating at times, but don’t be afraid of it!