Posted Apr. 17, 2020

AMANDA BUKOWSKY - A good sport with a big heart!

AMANDA BUKOWSKY - A good sport with a big heart!

Name: Ms. Amanda Bukowsky

Hometown: Squamish,  B.C.

Did you attend Immaculata as a student: I did not attend Immaculata when I was in high school, but I attended youth groups and music ministry events with family members and parents of students that now attend our school.

Where did you attend university and what did you study? I attended UBCO where I completed a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English Lit and minor in History. I also completed my Bachelor of Education degree at UBCO majoring in Humanities/ Secondary Education.

Current role: I taught grades 8-11 English, Social Studies, and Religion in the classroom for my first three years but have been Student Services Coordinator for the past three years. Time flies! I very much miss being with the students in the classroom but enjoy the challenges my new position brings!

How long have you been at Immaculata? This is my sixth year at Immaculata! Six and a half years ago I decided to apply to work in the Catholic Independent system at the suggestion of my parish priest. I took a position teaching a grade 1-2 split at St. Mary’s Elementary School in Cranbrook. I was offered a continuing position there, but missed my family, fiancé, and horse. I didn’t know what to do, then one day during his homily at mass, Father Peter said that sometimes we have to make the choice that is not the obvious choice. Sometimes we have to make the choice that leads to uncertainty but one that prioritizes what is really important in our lives, like being with family. That making the less obvious choice can often lead us to even more amazing blessings in our lives. This really resonated with me and still does to this day. I chose family over job security and returned home at the end of my contract in Cranbrook. A short while later I was blessed with a position at Immaculata and the rest is history!

Why do you choose to work at Immaculata? I cannot believe I get to do what I love every day and live my Faith at the same time. While we as a staff always strive to maintain professionalism and the high level of integrity that this profession requires, our school truly is a family. It is a family where we care for each other and our students as valued individuals who deserve every opportunity to excel and feel successful, whatever that success looks like for them. That is part of what sets us apart. I love our community, and our students, our students are like no other. They are what brings me to work every day.

What about Immaculata are you most proud of? The sense of community and our students.

What do you enjoy most about your job? Hands down the students! As much as we like to think we as teachers consistently support & push them to give their best in our classes, I have to say they push me to constantly strive to grow and improve in my profession. They inspire me every day to check everything at the door and give my best to them.

What goals do you have for our students? I always told my students that I have a Ms. Frizzle teaching philosophy… “Don’t ever be afraid to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!”

What life lessons do you hope to convey to our students?

  • That everything is an opportunity to learn and grow. Even the toughest of situations, as unenjoyable as they can be, offer us opportunities to grow as individuals and learn more about ourselves/others & and the world in which we live. What we want/ don’t want out of life.
  • Also to stay hungry! Chase your dreams. Live your life to the fullest, take time to have adventures and explore.
  • Hold your family close and don’t be afraid to put all those things that aren’t really important in life on the back burner from time to time to make space for the things and people that are really important.
  • You are going to be told no in your life and people may not always be nice. Remember, the people who matter most to you in your life, who know who you really are as a person, those are the opinions that should matter the most. Other people’s hurtful words or vision of you should not define who you are. Also, don’t be afraid to teach others how to treat you.

What is the best lesson you’ve learned from a student?

  • This is going to sound way out there coming from a teacher, but sometimes, school is just not the most important thing going on in a kid’s life. I will never forget, early in my career, there was this one student… They were failing multiple subjects and falling asleep in teacher’s classes. Their behaviour escalated until one day I had to break up a fist fight that had started in my class between this student and another student.
  • When I had the opportunity to speak to the student I did not come in with judgement or harsh words but said, one human to another, that I was concerned for them and asked what was going on. The student told me that they had been working a night job after school so that they could put food on the table. One of their parents with substance abuse issues had recently tried to see them again (which had not gone well) and the other parent was working but not making enough to be able to feed the family on their own. This student had not eaten today because when they went to go buy lunch they had insufficient funds (the pay cheques were post dated to not be deposited until midnight on pay day). In that moment I realized that completing assignments for my class was probably the last thing on this student’s mind. Kids deal with a lot these days, and sometimes, like us, they need someone to notice when they are struggling reach out a hand and help create some breathing space so they can get their feet under them again.

What were you like in high school?

  • I was definitely a type A perfectionist and was academically driven with a weird mix of rebellious tendencies. My adventures have made many fond memories for myself, and some not so fond memories for my parents.

What do you like to do in your spare time?alt text

  • Ride my horse
  • Go Fly fishing/hunting/ shooting or just get lost hiking in the bush
  • Sing/ play my instruments and write songs
  • Running
  • Attend ballet/ dance classes

Who are the most important people in your life?

My family- hands down! I was a strong willed child when I was younger, but now that I am older, my mom and sister are my best friends. No matter how bad I mess up I can go to my dad for advice and help. My dad is a quiet man and from him I have learned the value of being thoughtful and purposeful with the words I say. I have also learned during our many fishing trips to embrace silence and stillness from time to time. In the words of the Catholic theologian, Matthew Kelly, “we spend all of our time rushing around doing all these ‘important’ things that we think are urgent, but the truth is, the most important things, are hardly ever urgent.”

One little piece of fun personal info – My favourite food is
French fries. I could survive on Cavendish French fries for a long time if I had to. . .

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