Maxwell Cameron Award in Elementary Education
By Crystal Bergeron
For BEd graduate Jessica Hepting, providing a strong foundation for lifelong learning is the job of every teacher.
“My goal is to create a classroom environment where students feel safe, engaged and inspired to embrace their own individuality while working together as a cohesive community,” she says.
Hepting, the winner of the Maxwell Cameron award for elementary education, started out as a Malaspina University-College art student after graduating from high school in Qualicum Beach. After one year of studies she left college to travel and experience the cultures of Nepal, India, Thailand and South America.
“I’m glad I took a few years off to see the world. It allowed me to enter
the program with more maturity and a foundation of life experiences, which personally makes me a better teacher than I would have been had I started earlier,” says the 30-year-old.
A talented artist, Hepting grew up in a creative family. Her mother was a textile artist and her grandmother a potter. Before entering the BEd program she worked in an art studio, painted designer tiles and taught art as a volunteer in several Vancouver elementary schools, which certainly explains her desire to incorporate art into the teaching of all her classroom subjects.
“I try to put a creative twist on everything I do with my students, whether it’s math, science or language arts. Children are naturally creative and curious. All too often these days this wonder gets educated out of them. So for me, it’s a goal to inspire them to maintain that natural curiosity,” she says enthusiastically.
Currently on call with the Sooke School District, Hepting looks forward to gaining a few years of teaching experience before entering graduate studies. For her, learning never ends. “I’ve had a huge growth in confidence during my time at UVic. I think that, just as with any form of learning, as you learn and develop as a teacher, there is a continual growth. With this growth comes confidence, and with this confidence comes an eternal hunger for deeper understanding and continued learning.”
For Hepting, this learning, growth and development will not end with the completion of her university degree. “Each and every day that I am out in a classroom I learn so much from the children. I continue to be inspired, I continue to learn, and I continue to transform.”