Pension Life - Summer 2021

Changing channels: trustee Candace Fertile on teaching and learning during the pandemic

Candace Fertile profile

In early 2020, people around the world had to change the way they work and engage after the World Health Organization announced the global COVID-19 pandemic. Many post-secondary educators suddenly faced the challenge of a new teaching channel: virtual classrooms. For trustee Candace Fertile, teaching during the pandemic has highlighted the resilience of her colleagues and the need for human connection among students.

Candace was appointed to the College Pension Board of Trustees in September 2014 by the Federation of Post- Secondary Educators of BC. At that point, she already had over 20 years of experience as an English literature and creative writing instructor at Camosun College in Victoria.

Teaching through a virtual channel during the pandemic has been tough for Candace because the part she likes best— being in a classroom with a group of students and having engaging discussions—is not possible. “Seeing students on a screen means no eye contact or sense of how the class is feeling,” she says. She empathizes with students learning during the pandemic who, she says, are “a long way from a vibrant education.”

Despite technical challenges and sitting in front of a computer all day, the new teaching method has shown Candace the dedication of her colleagues across BC who are “trying to create positive environments for students in these very difficult times.”

Candace’s main passion in life is teaching, but when she’s not in the classroom or fulfilling her trustee duties, she likes to cook, read and play tennis. She looks forward to travelling again after the pandemic is over. In her leisure time, she takes in the sights and seasons of Victoria, which she’s called home since 1991. Candace loves that she can go for walks and see seals, otters, eagles and herons, and that Victoria is usually green during the winter. She also finds joy in watching her new kitten grow and play with her other cat. Candace’s natural curiosity keeps her learning. “I like learning, whether it’s trying to get my head around stochastic modelling or derivatives, or how to do a great tennis drop shot, or what to do with a bulb of fennel.”

When it comes to being a trustee, Candace thinks what she’s learned is fascinating. “It’s impossible to list everything I’ve learned as a trustee, as there’s so much. And there’s always more!” she says.

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