SMUS Teacher Feature: Ms. Lindy Van Alstine

Lindy Van Alstine

After 26 years at SMUS as a houseparent and Middle School teacher, Ms. Lindy Van Alstine is set to retire at the end of the school year.

Lindy was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and was raised in Edmonton. She attended the University of Alberta where she earned a degree in physical education with a minor in biology. After graduation, she travelled through Europe before settling in Victoria (where her family had since moved). She attended the University of Victoria to earn her teaching certificate and started her first teaching job at Stelly’s Secondary. She left teaching and Victoria for a few years to work in the Cayman Islands as a recreation director at resorts and to manage an English language school in Kofu, Japan.

She returned to Victoria and began working as a houseparent in 1990. She started teaching in September 1995 and was hired full-time at the Middle School in 1996.

Let’s get to know Lindy better:

What was your favourite subject in school?
I loved phys ed. I loved playing sports. I was fortunate to get to play on two teams while I was at the University of Alberta: volleyball and field hockey.

What was your first job?
I was a lifeguard and swimming instructor at the Victoria Racquet Club in the summers while I was at university.

What do you do on a day off?
I love fitness and doing recreational sports: swimming, walking, going to the gym. And I love getting together with friends or my mom for a meal.

Where do you most want to travel but have never been?
Holland because that’s where my roots are. I’d especially love to cycle through Holland.

What is one goal you want to achieve in your lifetime?
I would like to learn another language. Languages don’t come easy to me so it might be best to start with French because I know a little bit already. I have friends in Spain so I’d also like to know more Spanish.

What did you do after high school?
I was at volleyball camps because at the time one of my goals was to play for the University of Alberta.

Why did you want to be a teacher?
I had the most wonderful high school P.E. teacher, Mrs. Hobbs, who was such an inspiration to me. She was the epitome of a fine teacher and a fine person, and being in her class made me think, “This would be something that would be good for me.” And I love children and working with kids.

What did you want to be when you were 10 years old?
A nurse, like my mom.

When have you felt your biggest adrenaline rush?
I am claustrophobic but when I was in Fiji I went swimming through these dark underwater tunnels to see different caves. That was 1982 and just thinking about it still makes my heart pound. But I stepped out of my comfort zone and it was a very rewarding experience.

What was the first concert you went to?
Gordon Lightfoot in Edmonton when I was at university.

What is one thing you can’t live without?
Laughter

What movie have you watched the most in your life?
The Bucket List

What’s been your most memorable teaching moment?
There was a Middle School student who was very timid, very shy, who I got to see come out of their shell and gain confidence in their abilities. Eventually this student was always smiling and willing to take a risk and put their hand up. It was a process working through it, but it was just absolutely heartwarming to see the growth in that student.

Have you ever won anything?
I won a fishing and spa expedition at the Oak Bay Tea Party.

What are you currently reading?
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

What’s the best part of your job?
The students bring such joy to my life. I love their uniqueness, their silliness, their enjoyment of life, their passion for learning and I love that they challenge me to be better. And I love the staff; we’re a family. There’s such a camaraderie, kindness, humour and respect for one another.

What’s your favourite meal?
My mom’s ham and scalloped potatoes.

What do you love about living on Vancouver Island?
Our climate, the nature – both the ocean and land, all the opportunities available for entertainment or being outdoors, I love the community feel and I love the feeling of being separated on an island.

What was your favourite Halloween costume?
There aren’t any childhood costumes that stand out, but as an adult I loved my cow costume that I wear at school.

What are you passionate about?
Volunteering and being involved in the community is something I enjoy and something that’s very important to me. That, and the relationships I have with my family and my friends. Those are what I value most in life.

What will you do now that you won’t be at SMUS?
I’m going to stay involved in education. I’ll be at UVic evaluating student teachers and being involved in their teaching practicums. I’m also looking forward to spending more time with family and friends, and traveling.

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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.

8 COMMENTS

  1. I first worked with Lindy in 1977, as a member of a new School, called Stellys H.S , Those were the days when we were colleagues, who shared the same professional challenges that all teachers accept and embrace. She was all things to all people; kind, caring. committed, charming, and with a generous heart one million times larger than the one found in a doughnut.
    The years have seen her as a professional colleague to our daughters, and a professional educator to our grandchildren. “Aunty Lindy” is one of those treasures , and we are delighted to call her “family”.
    Our best wishes and thanks go with her into retirement..

    Alun and Gillian Rees

  2. Lindy – it is really hard to believe that there is a kinder, gentler person than you. The number of students you have influenced and the colleagues who rely on you will really miss you. Time to move on to bigger, better things. Maybe we can get together for coffee.

  3. Congratulations, Lindy!! We go way back to Racquet Club days and Saanich SD days, and the first thing that comes to my mind as I reflect on those different time periods, is your warm smile and your engaging nature. The younger students will miss you and the teachers in training will be so happy to have you as a mentor. Best of everything to you!!! Sonia

  4. Lindy is the beacon that has shone her light on the Middle School. Her kindness and positive approach to school and life brings joy to all in her orbit. You will be missed dear friend.

  5. It would be hard to find a kinder more thoughtful person anywhere. Lindy is a woman who is always thinking of her students and colleagues. It has been an honour to work with her and the Middle School will not be the same without Lindy!

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