Teacher Spotlight: Providing Support Beyond the Classroom
- Posted in
- on October 26, 2018.
Ms. Letwiniuk’s hometown. Red Lake, Ontario.
Being an educator can involve much more than teaching and assessing student progress. For many, it goes beyond the classroom and into the local and global communities. VHS teacher Dana Letwiniuk is a great example of an educator who goes above and beyond to promote positive change for students.
Ms. Letwiniuk has been an educator for over 20 years and has been with VHS for the past three years. She discovered VHS while teaching at a school in the Caribbean that used the VHS online platform. She instantly enjoyed online education.
“I have really fallen in love with online learning and teaching. My students inspire me daily and my best moments are the AHA moments students have and then take off with their learning.”
Aside from teaching in the Caribbean and at home in Ontario, Ms. Letwiniuk has also taught in Mexico and will be moving to a new school in Malaysia this year to teach English and history. She will also be starting and operating the school’s guidance department, which will be a large part of her role in the new school.
Ms. Letwiniuk excels at creating new programs and departments. Using this skillset, she has developed several alternative classroom programs for youth. One of her proudest achievements was starting a teen parent support program in her previous school board, which provided an integrated parent and child learning space for young parents. She has also supported teens by initiating the Fairy Godmother Project, which provides upcycled clothing for students attending prom. Also significant was her help launching a gay-straight alliance at her school and advocating for LGBTQ2+ library materials. She also contributed to the launch of her hometown’s PFLAG chapter to help support LGBTQ2+ youth and their families.
“I have worked very hard to make my work spaces better on a daily basis by helping to make them places that celebrate diversity and are inclusive to all. My classroom space is always a dedicated safe space for all who may need it.”
Outside of school, Ms. Letwiniuk’s many notable achievements include the completion of a demanding 2 km open ocean swim, training to become a qualified meditation teacher, and completing teacher’s college while raising her newborn twins! She graduated one month before her twins graduated from kindergarten.
As an educator with extensive experience in teaching and student support, Ms. Letwiniuk is a valuable member of the VHS teacher team. She wants to see all students reach their potential and provides this key advice:
“Always keep on trying and working even when it seems hard or maybe even impossible. Keep your eyes on the prize, whatever that prize might be, because it is possible! “