Following Her Passion Creates a Leader

Darline Pomeroy

It brings a smile to my face when I look back and recall just how I came to the profession that I now am truly passionate about and fully committed to. My very best friend at the time decided to become a teacher, so after little thought I concluded that I might as well do the same. We were going to the same teachers college and we could share a room and continue our friendship. Why not? As it turned out, she taught for only a short time whereas I grew eventually to love teaching. As I reflect, it seems that over the years it has often been what I have done  outside the classroom that has motivated me to remain  in the classroom.

Before my oldest daughter was born, I resigned my position and had no intention of ever returning to the classroom full-time. I immediately signed on as a Guider with Girl Guides of Canada. For the next 15 years my daughters got carted off to every kind of guiding activity while I took on a wide variety of roles in the organization and eventually became an International Advisor. My love of camping and the outdoors was a strong motivator. During this same time, financial pressure pushed me back into the classroom as an occasional teacher. It was during those years that my confidence as a teacher began to increase and I began to value myself as an educator. Finally, my husband’s illness left me little choice but to return to teaching full-time.

It was a very different person who stepped into the classroom from the one who had abandoned it years earlier. For some years I had been heavily involved in pursuing my First Nations roots and learning about my forgotten cultural heritage. In this new beginning, my heritage played a definitive role in my teaching. It seemed natural to incorporate the ideas and teachings that I had gleaned from my heritage into what I did, and continue to do, in my classroom. I now had much to share and much less time to share it in.

Each year, I set out to make my classroom a unique learning place so that my students would sense from the beginning that they have arrived somewhere special . . . as special and unique as they are! People need to feel that they are valued and are in a place created to honour their uniqueness in the world. I include the colours of nature in my room and there are lots of green plants. I have tried to create a calming, soothing, and safe place.

I use a talking stick that I have carved myself, which depicts the Seven


ETFO President John Hammond

I’d like to start by thanking you. It’s been a long and stressful 14 months of central bargaining for members.

teacher smiling at camera standing outside

When both of her parents died within months of each other, Barnett decided to dig deeper for her passion.