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People of Meadowridge: Ms. Nicola Pitzey

Ms. Nicola Pitzey

Joined Meadowridge: 2004
Where you’ll find her: Teaching Grade 1

Who or what inspired you to become an educator?
It goes back to when I was in school myself. In high school, we had a buddy system similar to Kinderbuddies where we would help the younger children. I ended up becoming the person who helped organize and plan the activities. I really enjoyed that! Becoming a teacher felt like a natural progression for me and it’s where I was comfortable. I enjoyed children’s wonderment and my being able to help. Come university, I went straight into a Bachelor of Education program.

What does the day of a Grade 1 teacher look like?
It’s non-stop from the moment they walk in the door! In a PYP classroom, children are encouraged to discover things for themselves. When I first started teaching, it was more teacher-led, but in the PYP it’s learning together as a team. We come to things together, and students delve into what interests them. When I first started teaching the IB, I wasn’t sure if students would understand the Learner Profile Traits, but they really do! I hear students all the time, “you’re being really balanced,” they’ll tell a friend. As a teacher, there’s never really a break. Even during recess, it’s a time for me to connect with my students and a chance for them to tell me about their special ideas or thoughts. 

What are the best parts of your job?
Being with people all the time—there is never a dull moment, and one day is never like the next. It’s a stereotypical answer, but I really enjoy the interactions with other people. As a Grade 1 teacher you try to plan your day but plans often go awry and you have to think on your feet and be a bit adaptable. 

When I first started teaching the IB, I wasn’t sure if students would understand the Learner Profile Traits, but they really do! I hear students all the time, “you’re being really balanced,” they’ll tell a friend.

What’s your favourite Meadowridge tradition?
I like the Read-A-Thon, the day before Spring Break when students come dressed in their pyjamas for a day of reading, but I love Remembrance Day. It is a lot for our Grade 1 students, but it’s important for them to hear from our veterans and learn why we honour them on this day. I tell children in my class about my Grandpa—we called him Grandpa Biscuits—and his experience at war. When we have moments of silence, I encourage them to think of Grandpa Biscuits or people from their own families.

What would surprise us about you?
This is tough! I feel like I am an open book and not someone who hoards information. That said, some people may be surprised that I was a competitive rower at Cambridge University. Cambridge is known for its rowing, so I decided to give it a try and fell in love with it when I did. I’m not a morning person, but I would get up at the crack of dawn and wait with my teammates in the boat until the sun would come up and we could row. I just adored it. It is also how I met my husband! One day, once our children are off at school, we hope to purchase a double scull and start to row again.

One person you would like to sit down with, living or deceased?
It sounds weird, but right now it would be my family. Because of the pandemic, I haven’t seen them in four years. My mom and dad live in Scotland on the west coast, and my brother recently moved to China. I just want to be together with them again—it’s been too long.

Favourite Meadowridge memory?
The grannies are what stand out to me. We started dressing up as 100-year-olds for the 100th day of school when the current Grade 9 students were in Grade 1 (that’s eight years ago!). We dress up every year, and my Granny—Granny Pitzey—has a dog that the kids are always excited to see. “Spotty is back!” they’ll cheer. Even during the pandemic, we found ways to continue the tradition. We released Granny challenges online and got all sorts of amazing videos back from students and families. We borrowed from the idea and, this year, launched a granny STEAM challenge in class. It’s funny, the children are getting older, but the grannies are still one-hundred!

Spring or fall?
Spring. It’s a new beginning and a chance to start fresh. It’s a bit like the new year in that way. In Scotland, we call new years eve “Hogmanay” and there are always big celebrations. That’s what it reminds me of.

Favourite meal?
For me, it’s not about the meal but about the people who we get together with. My favourite meal is enjoyed with friends and family. Of course, a piece of chocolate cake is good too! 

Best way to spend the day?
I am not a morning person; so, first of all, sleeping in. Then, I would have a relaxing breakfast with my family. Lately, we’ve been going to soccer games during the weekends, and it is something that I have grown to love. I also would want to take my dogs—we have two English Springer Spaniels, Bracken and Willow— for a nice walk outside. Maybe after that, spending time with some friends and not having to go to bed – that feeling of, I don’t have to go to bed so let’s see where the night takes us!