Indigenous Stories: Audrey Tooshkenig, Elementary School Teacher


Indigenous Stories: Audrey Tooshkenig, Elementary School Teacher

By: Audrey Tooshkenig
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In 1990 I had my first daughter and my focus changed. I shifted my focus to the needs of my child and her success in this lifetime. I was compelled to ensure her future academic success. I redirected my career into education and got hired on to the Vancouver School Board as a First Nations Cultural Support Worker. I felt I could continue to work for my own child and support the Urban Native community from within the system. A couple of years later I had my second daughter and realized, with the support and encouragement of colleagues and administrators, that I would professionally dedicate and direct my career into Teaching.                                   


Having not graduated from high school, I feared academic inadequacies and had a lot of self doubt about attending post secondary. Fortunately, a dear friend basically took me by the hand to UBC to an Academic Adivisor to discuss my prospective plans. By the time I left that appointment I knew that I was on my way to my next phase. I left believing that I could accomplish the requirements and eventually attend university. My doubts and fears were real but opportunities to challenge them were introduced. True, I had not graduated, but having been out of school for several years, provided the opportunity to enter academia as a mature candidate. I jumped on that! 


In the early 80’s I decided that I wanted to be an educated professional. I was uncertain as to what I wanted to do but was sure I did not want to be a Hairdresser my whole life, not that it wasn’t a lucrative and at times creative career. It, in fact supplemented my income many times throughout my life. I am however glad that it was not my only career and source of income. 

The rest is history. Upon graduation, I became a full-fledged enrolling teacher in the Vancouver School District. I have since over the years enrolled grades from K-7 and I am proud to note that my own two daughters are successfully graduated out of the public school system and both are attending post secondary education in pursuit of their professional careers. I continue to teach full time; an ESL Kindergarten class in East Vancouver during the school year and Literacy/ Reading Skills in the summers, at least for now. 

Indigenous Peoples Career Stories 2012 - Audrey

Posted on May 30, 2012