Alaska Highway Consortium
on Teacher Education
Teaching was not the career Radley Brown originally planned on. But after getting a degree in chemistry and working at an oil company for a few years, he found himself at a crossroads.
“I got laid off from my job at the oil company,” says Radley. “When that happened, I did not know what I wanted to do so I went back to my bread and butter, which was working in tire shops.”
During this period, Radley also volunteered and coached at his local soccer club — something he had done for many years. After a while, it began to dawn on him just how much he enjoyed teaching and working with students.
“Some of the people I volunteered with at the soccer club were teachers and I think they saw it too because they started suggesting AHCOTE to me,” adds Radley.
The Alaska Highway Consortium on Teacher Education (AHCOTE) is a joint teacher education program between Simon Fraser University (SFU), Northern Lights College (NLC), School Districts 59, 60, 81, and local teacher associations. Currently offered at NLC's Fort St. John and Dawson Creek campuses, it is often touted as one of the best ways to recruit and retain teachers in Northeastern British Columbia.
Trusting this advice and his intuition, Radley successfully applied to AHCOTE in 2018. Now a certified teacher, he says doing the program and becoming a teacher is one of his best decisions.
“There were many challenging parts of the program but for me, it was changing the way people saw me, and how I saw myself," says Radley.
“I am someone who has always been into math and science. I thought people saw me as the ‘tire guy’. I did not expect to find my creative or artistic side, but AHCOTE pushed me to step outside of my comfort zone.”
Although he still hopes to teach mathematics and science at his local high school, Radley is currently teaching grade 5 distance education.
"It is a different world to the one they prepared us for, but I am getting more and more comfortable with it,” admits Radley.
Radley maintains the best thing that AHCOTE taught him was the ability to work with and learn from others.
“It improved my social skills and taught me how to seek support when I need it. I have learned to communicate my needs and find the teachers who will support me,” says Radley. “When I graduated, I certainly did not expect to be teaching distance education at the intermediate level. But here I am. And it is the people who have really made it.”
To anyone thinking of switching careers and becoming a teacher, Radley’s advice is simple.
“Apply to AHCOTE. Whatever your gifts, they are needed in education.”
Applications for the next AHCOTE intake close on January 15th. Visit the website for more information.