TRC award recipient plans to teach inner-city youth
Christine M’Lot says she always knew she wanted to be a teacher, and spent countless hours practicing in front of a full sized chalkboard her father gave her as a child.
“I always used to be the teacher for my younger sister, who was four years younger than me,” M’Lot remembers, “I taught her how to add and subtract before she even got to grade one. It’s just something that I’ve always wanted to do.”
In her final year of her integrated education degree program, M’Lot says she was both surprised and honoured to have been awarded the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada Scholarship. She says she immediately told her mother, and then called her grandmother, who had attended an Indian Residential School, and later testified about her experience to the TRC.
M’Lot says the scholarship couldn’t have come at a better time. She enrolled in university immediately after high school. Growing up in Winnipeg, and knowing university was in her destiny, she said she always put great effort into her studies, even when many of her friends weren’t. The positive impact her effort has had on her own life has inspired M’Lot to make working in the inner-city one of her goals, to teach children who face challenges.
“I think I relate to those kids. I know a lot of teachers don’t really relate to the ‘bad’ kids, who are labeled as that, but I relate to it because in high school I hung out with all the ‘bad’ kids, and I was lucky enough to also stay kind of a nerd,” she says. “So I always had my education, even when I was into bad things, I got great grades in high school, and I always knew that I was going to go to university.”
“I just want to instill that sense of, a love for learning, that I had, on to my students. And hopefully help them to be less at-risk, and realize their potential,” she says.
She also brings the perfect skill set. For the past 6 years, M’Lot has worked for the Manitoba Government. Initially brought on to work in the step-student program in an office administering Employment and Income Assistance, after several years M’Lot moved into Child and Family Services, where she works as a Family Support Worker. She also works as a support worker for children with disabilities, and has experience volunteering for a summer program for immigrant and refugee youth, and an after school program for at-risk youth in inner-city Winnipeg.
“Social work and teaching are very related,” she explains of the unique skill set she will bring to her future employers when she graduates as a teacher this spring.
This scholarship was established in recognition of the important work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and to honour students who are descendants of survivors of residential schools or who themselves are residential school survivors. Two awards are made annually.
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