Kelly James Alumni Profile
Name: Kelly James
Program of study: Bachelor of Physical Education (Honours)
Year of graduation: 2013
Additional studies since leaving the School of HKR: Bachelor of Education (Intermediate/Secondary) at MUN – graduated in 2015 and currently enrolled in Master of Physical Education at Memorial
1. What career highlights since graduation would you like to share (including where you’re currently working)? After graduating I returned to Halifax, Nova Scotia where I received my first 100% term contract teaching French Immersion Physical Education & Health, and Core French at a Junior High School. I also secured my position for a second year, therefore I am now in my 2nd term teaching with the Halifax Regional School Board! I also received the NSSAF Coach of the Year award for my school last year.
2. How and why did you decide to attend Memorial for your degree? I decided to attend Memorial for my degree because of the program selection and the price. I knew I wanted to be a physical education teacher, and the Human Kinetics and Recreation programs here were specific to that. Most schools have kinesiology programs, but not physical education, so it was awesome to have a program that was tailored to my intended career and was preparing me for being a teacher and continuing to take education after graduation.
3. What drew you to your chosen degree? I was always very active and involved in sports, and loved working with children. A lot of my basketball coaches growing up were physical education teachers, so I job shadowed them in the past and loved it. I knew that in order to be happy with my career I needed to do something that I love, and I love making a difference in the lives of children and helping others live active lifestyles!
4. Do any particular memories stand out from your time here as an undergraduate/graduate student? The outdoor physical activity courses that I took with Kevin Redmond and TA – they were AMAZING! As I’m a “city girl” from Nova Scotia, I never got the chance to experience the type of outdoor activities that I did in these classes. Having the chance to canoe and portage in the fall in Newfoundland, snowshoeing in the winter and building a quinzee to sleep in are experiences I will never be able to top!
5. What did you learn in your program that’s been particularly helpful in your career? EVERYTHING! The Bachelor of Physical Education program was fantastic, and provided me with a wide range of knowledge and experiences that have helped me in my career. Learning the importance of networking with other teachers and sharing resources is probably one of the most important things I walked away from my degree with. I graduated over 3 years ago and am still in constant contact with all my classmates. We share lessons, professional development opportunities, and job openings with each other and also put questions out to the group when people need help.
6. What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? “They don’t care about how much you know, until they know how much you care.” This quote has stuck with me for years, and is foundation of my teaching philosophy and focus on creating meaningful relationships with my students to promote a sense of community in the classroom
7. What is it about your chosen career that appeals to you so much? Did you have an “a ha” moment that influenced your decision-making in terms of career? I love knowing that I am making a difference in the lives of children. During my 12-week internship I had students write me cards and throw a party for me when I left, and it made me realize how well I connected with them. I made so many meaningful relationships, and was able to help children through so many issues as not only a student, but also as a person. Helping students learn how to be a good person in general is something I think is very important, and I love being a part of this experience.
8. What’s a typical day like for you today? I teach from 9am-3pm, coach from 3-5pm, have some me time from 5-7pm to have supper and relax with my family, and then at night I usually play in my own sports leagues!
9. What advice would you give a student who is unsure of what to study? Try some different courses and figure out what you enjoy. If you don’t like the courses, then you won’t want to be stuck in a career that has you doing that for your whole life! Think about your interests, take different courses that focus around those, and go from there. You don’t have to know exactly what you want to be at 17/18 years old, but you’ll figure it out through presentations, courses, and experiences in university!
10. What are you most looking forward to within the next year? Coming back to St. John’s in May for the PHE Canada Conference!