Larissa Young is a first year teacher at the Canadian International School of Beijing (CISB). The Canada native was working teaching first grade in Muscat, Oman for two years and was looking for a change when she came across the physical education position at in the middle school at CISB. She now teaches PE for grades 6-8, teaches English as an additional language (EAL) to Grade 9 and 10 students, and is a homeroom teacher for Grade 8. Young shares more about herself with beijingkids as well as her most rewarding teaching memory to date.
What was your favorite subject when you were a student?
My favorite subject was physical education. I loved getting out of the classroom and doing physical activity. Also, I enjoyed foods class, for obvious reasons.
What did you want to be when you were a kid? What other career options did you explore before teaching?
When I was younger I wanted to be a Marine Biologist, because I love being in the ocean, and my family was always visiting Canada’s west coast. As I progressed into MS and HS and began being on sports teams, Istartedthinking about careers in athletics. I began coaching and working sports camps, which helped me to realize that I enjoyed working with children. In the end, I decided to pursue Physical Education, with a minor in Social Studies and am really glad I did.
How would you describe your teaching style?
Group oriented and activity based.
What was your favorite book growing up? What are you currently reading?
Growing up I loved anything by Robert Munsch, especially Stephanie’s Ponytail. Right now, I am currently reading Winter of the World by Ken Follett and Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss.
How do you like to relax on the weekends?
I am not very good at relaxing. I enjoy being with friends, any kind of physical activity, and trying to see more of Beijing.
Where do you like to go on holiday?
Anywhere that is hot and has a beach!
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
Mascots make me nervous.
What’s currently on your playlist?
What do you find most rewarding about teaching?
Being able to see student’s progress from where they were at the beginning of the year to where they are at the end of the year can be one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching. As a teacher you have the ability to make a child feel important and successful, no matter what their abilities are, and help guide them into making positive decisions. I believe one of the most rewarding parts of physical education is giving students an opportunity to succeed, when they might not be in their other classes.
A previous student of mine with Down Syndromewas struggling socially and academically in her classes, but she and her parents really wanted her to remain with her peers. When she first came in to my all girls PE class, she was accompanied with an aid, and struggling to listen and follow directions. It was obvious she wanted to participate in physical education, but at the beginning would just do activities with her aid. The girls and I really wanted her participating with the class. They would sit with her and assist her with instructions, even when I did not ask them to. To ensure she saw consistent success, during games she was a neutral player, so anyone could pass to her. Seeing how happy she was during those classes, and how the girls were interacting with her was amazing and one of my most rewarding teaching memories.
Meet the Teacher is a beijingkids blog series designed to help the Beijing community learn more about international school teachers. If your school would like to participate in the series, please email the school editor at firstname.lastname@example.org