SMUS Teacher Feature: Ms. Shona Lazin

Pyjamas aren't the usual attire at the Junior School – but the Kindergarten classes celebrated Polar Express Day this week, and everyone (including the teachers!) got to wear their PJs to school.

Ms. Shona Lazin, the second of our Kindergarten teachers, is a relative newcomer to both St. Michaels University School and Victoria. While she started at the school almost a year ago as an Educational Assistant, she is originally from the U.K. Born in Belfast and raised in Manchester, Shona came to Canada originally for a year abroad after completing her Bachelors of Education at the University of Chester. That year in Edmonton turned into three decades, after she decided to stay. She took some time away from teaching and worked in the airline industry, but returned to the classroom after having children. Her family decided to head west in July 2015 and they chose Victoria. She started at SMUS in January 2016 and recently took the Kindergarten teacher role while Ms. Gardner-Hill is on maternity leave.

Let’s get to know Ms. Lazin better:

What was your favourite subject in school?
Language arts because I love reading.

What was your first job?
I was a babysitter as a teenager. I babysat mostly for the children in the house next door – and I’m still in touch with them!

What do you do on a day off?
We have a dog named Smudge, so we love to go to the dog park or the beach.

Where do you most want to travel, but have never been?
Greece because it always looks so beautiful in movies and pictures, with the white walls and the bright blue sky.

What’s one goal you want to achieve in your lifetime?
I’d like to write a children’s book.

Why did you want to be a teacher?
I’ve always loved being around children. I babysat, I was a nanny, and even when I went away from working with them, I always knew I would come back to it eventually. I always thought, “What do I really enjoy doing?” It’s being around children and being a positive influence in their lives.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?
A ballerina – but I never seriously aspired to be one. I remember going to the ballet and being mesmerized seeing Dame Margot Fonteyn perform in Swan Lake, but I only took classes for a very short period of time.

When have you felt your biggest adrenaline rush?
We did a really big zipline down a mountain when we were in Hawaii.

What was the first concert you went to?
The Rolling Stones.

What is one thing you can’t live without?
My family.

What movie have you watched the most in your life?
White Christmas. It’s a family tradition that we watch it on Christmas Eve – we’ve been doing that for a lot of years now.

Have you ever won anything?
When I was in elementary school I won a silver medal in a netball tournament – I was the goal shooter. Netball is similar to basketball, but it’s like the British version.

What was your favourite field trip as a kid in school?
We took the train from Manchester to London to go to the British Museum when we were about 10. It’s a couple of hours on the train, and at that age I think we were all probably more thrilled to go on the train than to go to the museum.

Do you collect anything?
Tea pots. You mention to somebody once that you like something and then all of a sudden you have lots of them – that’s how I collected a lot of tea pots.

What are you currently reading?
Today I read The Polar Express to the Kindergarten class and their parents. Outside of work though, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson.

What’s the best part of your job?
The kids – they’re adorable. Being with them makes every day different, and the days fly by because they just keep us on our toes. They’re just such wonderful children to be around.

What’s your favourite meal?
My husband’s General Tso’s Chicken.

What do you love about living on Vancouver Island?
The climate and all the beautiful places there are to explore. On weekends we try to go out and explore different places we haven’t been to before.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
I would love to understand every language. When I’m travelling I feel like I’m missing out on so much when I can’t understand or communicate.

If you didn’t have to work, what would you do?
Travel.

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Kyle Slavin
Kyle Slavin is the school's storyteller. Through words and photos, he shares with the community all the amazing things that happen on campus.

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