There’s something special about the Saanich School District that led Emma Cottier to pursue a career teaching where she grew up and went to school. Cottier knew early on during her years at Brentwood Bay elementary, Bayside middle school and Stelly’s secondary school that she was destined to join the ranks of educators.
“I always loved the concept of school activities and had such great experiences at all the schools I attended,” said Cottier, who is in her fourth year at Royal Oak middle school. “I just always loved everything about school.”
Cottier teaches Grades 6 and 7 math, science and social studies, as well as Grade 8 social studies and language arts at Royal Oak. She began her career 10 years ago, spending six years at Bayside, her old middle school.
“I’ve always loved middle school,” she explained. “The students are building their independence, it’s an exciting, fun time in their lives.”
While she had a sense of what teaching involved, Cottier admits to being surprised by the complexity and variety of roles the job entails.
“You’re a teacher, a counsellor, organizer and coach,” she noted. “I was surprised by how many hats you wear. It’s so much more than delivering content. What makes the job so rewarding is the connections you make on so many different levels and the close relationships based on the different roles you play.”
For Cottier, one of the most rewarding elements of middle school is seeing the amazing growth that takes place over two or three years. “You feel connected to the community,” she said, attributing much of that to the tremendous support she receives from her students’ parents.
Cottier’s strong background in technology enables her to experiment with the newest in Google apps for education.
Whether working on her 10th yearbook, doing photography, putting together slide shows or school publications, she is always eager to test out the latest innovations. “All of my teaching jobs are a result of my skills with technology,” she noted. “It’s part of my life as an educator, teaching students, parents and teachers. I embrace it and love it.”
Cottier also coaches volleyball and two softball teams, a U-16 team in Victoria and the Victoria Devils Little League team.
“We had the opportunity to go to the Little League World Series in Delaware last year,” she said. “I played softball my whole life and always dreamed of going. It was an amazing experience and I would go again in a heartbeat.”
The Great Teachers nomination caught Cottier completely off guard. “I don’t know why or how, but I am so flattered to be nominated.”
One of the nominators may have summed it up best by writing that “Miss Cottier is a kind, patient teacher and considerate of the children’s needs. She has enabled my daughter to be better organized and responsible for her work.”