Meagan MacPherson BA'17
Meagan MacPherson BA’17
After graduating in 2017, with a BA in Criminology and Sociology and minor in English, Meagan took a year off to travel around Europe, Australia and New Zealand. It was from her experience with Peaceful Schools International that she fell in love with teaching, leading her to graduate with a BEd this past spring. When she is not shaping the minds of young people, Meagan enjoys drumming, dancing, reading, yoga, camping and hiking.
Where are you now?
I’m currently teaching grade four at Sacred Heart School of Halifax. While I was at Saint Mary’s, I volunteered with Sacred Heart through the Peaceful Schools International program. We facilitated conflict resolution workshops with the students and it was then that I realized that they really teach the whole child and they have a teaching philosophy that I fell in love with. They teach the child beyond getting an education, to be global leaders and to be kind to each other and to themselves.
What led you to become a teacher?
Originally, I was focused on social work. In my fourth year at Saint Mary’s I heard about the Northern Ireland Conflict Resolution project and Peaceful Schools International. They focus on teaching peace education and conflict resolution to kids both in Halifax and in Northern Ireland. I got into the classroom and loved every moment of it. That year, we were teaching workshops on positive communication. It really made me think about my future, so the next year I applied to be the student co-ordinator where I could design the workshops and teach all of the participants how to facilitate the workshops. It was from this role that I realized how teaching impacts students and the role that it has in shaping a young persons’ life.
What I found helpful at Saint Mary’s is that most of the departments are interdisciplinary, so you could take a variety of courses to see what your passions are. I was able to take courses that aligned with the work I was doing with Peaceful Schools International and focus on subjects that interested me.
Has Peaceful Schools International influenced you as a teacher?
While doing my BEd at STFX, I helped to plan and facilitate professional development sessions and conferences. Through Peaceful Schools International, I made so many contacts that I was able to bring in guest speakers to help provide conflict resolution and peace education workshops. I was thankful for my experiences with Peaceful Schools International, as mental health and peace education is something that all my colleagues were very interested in.
We recently focused on peace education while celebrating the International Day of Peace on September 21. The theme for Sacred Heart this year is building an anti-racist culture through diversity, inclusion and equity. Those are big words for children in grade four, but we’re talking about how we need to be inclusive to out Black, Indigenous folks and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities. I’m taking lessons I learned about peace education to help my students understand better. It all comes back to teaching the whole child and adding a focus to building those social emotional skills.
What is it like to teach during COVID-19?
The school has set up cleaning protocols and mandatory masks for students in the playground and hallways, but we designed the classrooms in a way that they can remove their masks while seated at their desks. Each classroom is its own cohort that they play with at lunch and recess to minimize exposure.
Do you have any advice for alumni or students who are thinking of teaching?
If someone is thinking of teaching, I truly recommend they apply for the Peaceful Schools International program at Saint Mary’s. It’s a really great way to dip your toes in the water and step into the classroom before committing to another degree. What I found helpful at Saint Mary’s is that most of the departments are interdisciplinary, so you could take a variety of courses to see what your passions are. I was able to take courses that aligned with the work I was doing with Peaceful Schools International and focus on subjects that interested me.
What do you see for yourself in the future?
I would love to take a Master’s degree at some point. We’re constantly learning and I believe education is important at all ages. It would be really fascinating to teach at a higher level.