Rosthern, SK | Grades 10 - 12 | Shortlist
With the smaller class size, we get lots of one on one time with teachers. The teachers are always very helpful and supportive, they are always willing to help out even after class. We as students learn how to respect the teachers, but the relationships can be very informal in a positive way - we call our teachers by the first name, just as they call all of us by our first names. Since we have small class sizes, the teachers know us beyond just a student, but our lives and care about our family. They care for us beyond any school I have experienced, they became my second family away from home (I am an international student). The teachers and staff are more than just the people who worked at the building, they were educators, both in classrooms and in life. They have given me many gifts and helped my parents to be the parents for me, away from home. I have so much to thank them for, and I will continue to come back and give back to RJC, which I consider my second home.
The teaching staff is par excellence. The enthusiasm that the teachers have for the students is unrivalled and unmatched. They make themselves available to the students after classes for additional instruction. They are all involved in the extracurricular activities of the school. One teacher, Bev, even attends non school and out of town events with her camera to capture the kids off campus. These teachers want the kids to succeed in academics and in their life. They lead by example. I was listening to the principle speak about his goals for the students. He drew the Parthenon on the whiteboard. He spoke about each pillar representing one of his values and goals for the type of students that he wants to graduate. I can not remember all of the names that he had for the pillars. The ones that I do remember are to graduate students who have a sense of belonging to a community, that have a social conscience, and are global citizens.
I was more than happy with the teaching i recieved. The student staff relationship is very different in that we are all on a first name basis. Teachers do their best to make ideas and concepts applicable when they can. What is especially valuable is the time at the end of the school day that is set aside for students to go to different classrooms and get a few extra minutes of help or finish up those last few questions that would otherwise become homework. Having a time in the evening set aside for homework is great as well. When students are involved in all types of extra curricular activities, and normal teenage life, sometime they forget to take time to do the things they need to do. Monday to Thursday night, one hour was set aside for studies. Sports and rehearsals were scheduled with this in mind. I know it really helped me.
Teaching at RJC was very similar in most respects to my time in public school, but different teachers employ different pedagogies. My experiences varies from formal lectures to creative projects to reading a comic book depicting history. The dynamic between instructor and instructee is, as previously mentioned, quite informal, but maintains a high level of respect for the teachers. While I attended teachers were mostly passionate about their work. I don't think I ever needed help to love learning, but perhaps they encouraged it in others. One thing I appreciated about the teaching was niche areas that are not always taught at other schools, such as Agriculture in my grade 10 year.
The students respect the teachers because the teachers respect you. The relationship is more informal, you call them by their first names, which is great and makes them less intimidating and more relatable. They are your friend as well as your authority, so people respect them a lot. If you need help there will be help from any one of them. I got a quality education, the same as any other Saskatchewan school curriculum-wise, except with better, more one-on-one, teaching. My grades increased significantly from my public school to RJC because of the extra encouragement and help. I felt prepared for university or anything I wanted to pursue. My math teacher in particular helped me get high grades and a better understanding of pre-calculus and calculus, making me realize I could do it. All teachers made me like school again.
I must admit, on that first day when we registered our eldest son and went from one teacher to the next to figure out his classes, I first thought they looked like a motley crew, until we realised their passion, commitment and genuine care. I still smile when I remember my son saying he’s not really interested in choir singing. Jim (Mr. Epp...as nobody has ever called him in years) leaned forward, put his elbow on the table and said: “Sure...if you can beat me at arm-wrestling.” The teachers were/are fantastic! They have small classes to work with and they put enormous energy into their subjects and instruction. Every subject is turned into an applied science, where the students are given the “life application” of what they’re taught. There is ample time for review and discussions after hours and a lot of effort goes into additional mentoring to those who need it.
At this school more than where I attended previously I truly got the feeling that the teachers were invested in how their students did and that they were willing to put in the effort to help every student achieve more no matter if you were naturally smart or if you struggled more. After hours the staff all were a coach on one of the various sports teams which helps to deepen the relationship between student and teacher. At rjc students call their teachers by there first name, this may seem like an informal and disrespectful thing to do but in actuality it is quite the opposite. By calling your teacher by their first name you connect with them more as a human being than just having them been a someone above you that you don’t care to listen to.
The teaching staff was phenomenal. It was more informal, and personal teaching then other schools. We called the teachers by their first names. The teachers were always willing to help and give feedback on what you could do to improve. The staff was passionate about what they were teaching, and you could tell each teacher wanted to be there. Richard Jamzen was one of the best teachers there, he helped me develop my love for singing and helped develop my skills in the dramatic arts. He never treated me any different than all the other students, and did not treat the ones who could sing better than those who were learning. He was welcoming and encouraging. He would understand and accommodate if you needed extra help. Ryan wood was another excellent teacher, he would listen to me. He would help me go through some tough life lessons, and was always willing to help with homework, and studying.
Our son appreciated the small class sizes and the amount of attention he received from each teacher. Our daughter appreciated the tutorial periods that all teachers offered. Both kids were thrilled with all of the out of classroom learning that Rosthern Junior College offered. Our son especially appreciated his trip to Alabama for the Alternative Learning Service Opportunity (ALSO) week in his grade 12 year. Our daughter appreciated the global perspectives she gained through her experiences in British Colombia, Alabama and Guatemala through her ALSO experiences. Our daughter was able to participate in the first year of the new curriculum program, Imagine, that utilizes experienced based learning, with regular and frequent out of classroom activities to augment the traditional classroom based learning. Some of the out of classroom activities included 'living library' events, meeting with agricultural producers on their farms to learn about environmental sustainability, and visiting social service based organizations in Saskatoon. Both our kids benefited from the relationships with their teachers. Our daughter commented many times about the positive one on one times she had with several teachers outside of the classroom.
The teaching and student life dean staff create authentic, genuine and caring relationships with students while maintaining a respectful connection. The staff is dynamic and interested in the student and the subjects they teach in many cases. They take their role as teacher in these young students lives very seriously. The relationship between student and teacher is somewhat informal as students and teachers are on a first name basis. The academic level of education students receive prepare them well for their future life decisions whether students choose university, college or work after high school. In thinking back to the influencers in my life, there were several teachers that had a positive impact from my English teacher fully preparing me to excel in my first year university English class, to the deans in the residence who gave me tools for building appropriate life relationships.
Whether a student is academically strong or faces some challenges, small class size and mandatory study hours ensure no one falls through the cracks. Teachers seemed experienced and immersed. Everyone is there because they love to teach and they love what RJC stands for --- building young adults who are independent, globally-minded and can think critically. The quality of instruction was as good or better than other high schools in our experience. Our sons actually had homework and were challenged academically. They learned how to research, write essays, give presentations, and manage their own time. Teachers offered help both in class and study hour plus after-hours tutoring if needed. Living in the dorm allows collaboration with other students too. Study hour in the dorms was mandatory too.