Ms. Jennifer Fisher is another member of the SMUS teaching staff who is a born and bred Victorian. Now in her second year as the full-time Junior School strings teacher, music has been a part of her life since she was a child. She first picked up a violin when she was 3 years old, and played throughout school, including with the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music and a bachelor’s degree in music education (both from UVic), as well as an associate certificate from the Victoria Conservatory of Music. Ms. Fisher is no stranger to the SMUS strings program – she began assisting Mrs. Mary Smith in 2011.
Let’s get to know Ms. Fisher better!
What was your favorite subject in school?
Math, but I wasn’t very good at it. But I like problem solving, and so I liked math.
What was your first job?
I was a pharmacist assistant. My mom was a pharmacist, so I spent my summers as a teen counting pills.
What do you do on a day off?
I love to read, I love spending time with my five children (and doing mom duties), and we just got a new puppy – a Whoodle named Sadie.
Where do you most want to travel, but have never been?
Russia because it has beautiful architecture and landscape, and it’s one of the countries I know the least about.
What did you do after high school?
I worked as a pharmacist’s assistant and taught violin.
Why did you want to be a teacher?
I feel like I connect with kids, and I think it’s important to pass down information and knowledge. Because I started strings when I was three-and-a-half, I was already playing well beyond my classmates when they started in school in Grade 4. So my job in strings class was to help my peers.
What did you want to be when you were 10 years old?
Something to do with music.
When have you felt your biggest adrenaline rush?
There was a concert a few years ago, the Victoria Chamber Orchestra performed with the Civic Orchestra of Victoria and the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra. That was really, really fun to play in and it felt great to be a part of something big like that.
What was the first concert you went to?
I’ve never been to a rock concert, and most of the concerts I went to as a child I was playing in them, too.
What is one thing you can’t live without?
What movie have you watched the most in your life?
Right now, it’s probably Now You See Me. I’m forced to watch movies over and over with my children. When they were growing up we would watch Winnie the Pooh and The Jungle Book a lot!
What’s been your most memorable teaching moment?
It’s when a struggling student finally gets it. When the aha moment happens for the student, it’s also an aha moment for me. Everyone’s challenge is different, and finding what’s going to make it click for that student is a great challenge. How many different ways can I try and teach the same concept so that everyone gets it.
Have you ever won anything?
As I kid I won awards at music festivals. My husband won a basket of Purdy’s chocolates at a SMUS event once, though!
What was your favourite field trip as a kid in school?
Going to Willows Beach for the end-of-the-year beach day.
Do you collect anything?
I love paper and stationary, I love French soap, I love wool, yarn and really nice fabric. But I have too much of those, so I can’t collect those anymore. Recently I’ve been collecting pretty rice bowls, but, again, my son has told me I have too many of them, too.
What are you currently reading?
Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin
What’s the best part of your job?
Teaching the kids. I like seeing them learn something that connects all of the subject areas together; taking all of their senses and using all of their brain. I love tying in the brain with what I’m doing, or tying sports or math with what I’m doing in strings class. With music, you’re coordinating all different parts of your body and it’s a complicated thing to do. But it’s really rewarding to see kids put it all together and be able to do it.
What’s your favourite meal?
Sushi, salads or soups.
What do you love about living on Vancouver Island?
I like the beaches, the water, the waves, the rain, the mountains, the skiing, the surfing, the isolation (which I know sounds weird), the sense of community, the markets, the hiking and the camping.
What was your favourite childhood Halloween costume?
I was a princess. My mom made me this beautiful polyester pink dress and a cone crown.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
I want to be able to fly, because when I’m out at recess with the kids, some of them think they can fly so they jump off the playground. And when they’re dazed and confused on the ground covered in wood chips I always ask what they were doing, and they always say, “I was trying to fly!”
If you didn’t have to work, what would you do?
I would be hiking and camping.