SMUS Teacher Feature: Ms. Dariol Haydock

Dariol Haydock

Middle School assistant director Ms. Dariol Haydock has deep roots at SMUS. Her dad, Alan Rees, was the school’s athletic director and her two siblings, Gareth and Jane, were students at the school.

Dariol, the eldest of the Rees kids, was born in London, England and moved to Canada with her family when she was a toddler. They lived in residence at Brentwood College for a few years while Alan taught at the school before settling in Victoria. Dariol graduated from Oak Bay High and spent a year in Argentina before heading to the University of Victoria to study French and Spanish. After earning her degree, she decided to pursue teaching and completed her Bachelor of Education at the University of British Columbia. Her first teaching job took her to California for a couple of years before she went back to Vancouver to teach at Collingwood School.

In 1992 she took a year away from teaching to work at the Seville Expo. That’s where she met her husband, Rob, also a Canadian working at the Spanish expo. Dariol returned to UBC to earn her masters degree in Educational Administration and moved to Toronto to be with Rob. They lived and worked in Toronto, Vancouver, Brussels and Vancouver (again) before settling in Victoria.

Dariol joined the SMUS staff in September 2001 as a Middle School French teacher. She has been assistant director there since 2003.

Dariol and Rob have two kids, Bryn and Georgia, who are both at the SMUS Senior School.

Let’s get to know Ms. Haydock better:

What was your favourite subject in school?
Math because I was good at it and I loved that it was easy for me.

What was your first job?
I peeled potatoes at Willows Galley Fish and Chips on Estevan when I was 13. I worked up the ranks there for a couple years. Next I became a wrapper. We had to do a speed-wrapping test before we could move up, so they sent us home with newspaper and we’d use pairs of socks to practice folding and wrapping. Eventually I was moved up to chip fryer there.

What do you do on a day off?
I love to go to the beach and go for walks with my dog, Salva. I also love to bake and cook.

Where do you most want to travel but have never been?
I really want to drive to Tierra del Fuego from either the tip of Central America or the northern part of South America, and drive through countries like Bolivia and Peru. I want to have time to just stop and be in a Spanish country and explore.

What is one goal you want to achieve in your lifetime?
I’d like to walk from one coast of England to the other. I think that comes from the fact that my parents are Brits, but also because I love tea and all things pub-life. I like rambling; the idea of walking and going into a cozy place and then walking again appeals to me.

What did you do after high school?
I went on exchange to Argentina for over a year with the Rotary Club, which was wicked. I stayed with a couple of different host families, went to school and learned Spanish.

Why did you want to be a teacher?
It keeps you young and it keeps you learning. I love being around kids, but also being around other people who want to be around kids is as important. I thrive on their energy and how being with them causes you to keep thinking about things in different ways.

What did you want to be when you were a teenager?
An interpreter. In high school I went on exchanges to Quebec and on one of those trips we went down to New York and visited the U.N. I remember being taken into a room where all the interpreters were in a big circle with their headphones on and there was something very attractive about it.

When have you felt your biggest adrenaline rush?
During my sabbatical year our family was in Nambia and we went to Sossusvlei, which are these legendary sand dunes. We went in the morning, pre-sunrise, and after the sun came up Bryn and Georgia just took off up the dunes. We had no plans to go up there but we had to follow them up. And as we’re going up the sand is just falling away under our feet and in that moment I was thinking, “This probably isn’t a good idea, but it is a good idea.” We got to the top and we had such an intense buzz from doing that.

What was the first concert you went to?
Supertramp at Memorial Arena when I was 15.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?
My health. I have rheumatoid arthritis and I was on pretty heavy meds for almost 30 years because of it. I have a fused arm; my wrist doesn’t bend so it stops the joint pains. It was very hard being a mom and working and dealing with this low-grade chronic pain. I know I am very fortunate because there are a lot of people who can’t work because of their rheumatoid arthritis. I’m fortunately at a point now where I’m off all my medications and the pain is at bay.

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

What movie have you watched the most in your life?
Ballet Shoes

What’s been your most memorable teaching moment?
Some of my most memorable moments have been when kids at the Middle School have hard things come along and then watching them move through it in that supportive community.

What was your favourite field trip as a kid in school?
Our band teacher took 100 of us to Europe for a month between Grade 11 and 12. We performed all over: Scotland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Italy. It was amazing.

Do you collect anything?
I have a wall in my laundry closet where I pin business cards from great dinners, postcards from places I go, coasters from a great night out. It’s things I would have put in scrapbook, but instead they’re on my wall.

What are you currently reading?
Stalin’s Daughter by Rosemary Sullivan.

What’s the best part of your job?
Being able to watch three cool years of development in kids; comparing how they are when they arrive versus what they are like when they leave us. When you get them for that amount of time and at this age you see how they become more abstract thinkers and start to make better decisions.

What’s your favourite meal?
Any Italian meal where you get lots of dishes, like a whole pasta and then a whole meat and then a whole antipasto.

What do you love about living on Vancouver Island?
Going to the beach.

What was your favourite childhood Halloween costume?
Because there’s no Halloween in Britain my parents were the lamest Halloween parents. Every year at like 3:30 on Halloween it would be, “Do we have to be gypsies again?” I had that one costume every year and I’d just get my mom’s make-up and bracelets and dress as a gypsy.

If you could have one superpower what would it be?
To have the power to make our world more equitable.

What are you passionate about?
Atsikana Pa Ulendo (Girls On The Move), is a school in Malawi that a former science teacher at the Middle School co-founded. She got a group of us from SMUS interested and we thought, “What can we do to help from here?” We’ve hosted a garden party fundraiser for the last several years to help build a primary school in Malawi. This year’s is happening on June 11! One day I’d like to go and commit some time working with teachers there.

If you didn’t have to work what would you do?
I’d sink more deeply into what I already love to do: more gardening and more reading. And I would 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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