SMUS Teacher Feature: Ms. Megan Blackey

Megan Blackey

Middle School teacher Ms. Megan Blackey is now in her second year at SMUS. She is originally from Chilliwack and was raised in the Cowichan Valley. After high school, she studied education at the University of Victoria and moved to China to teach for a year. She returned to Canada and taught in Churchill, Man. and Calgary before going back to China for another two years of teaching. She came back to Vancouver Island in 2015 and taught at an independent school before starting at SMUS in September 2017.

Let’s get to know Ms. Blackey better!

What was the best class you took in school?
I most enjoyed History 12 because of the teacher. He made the subject matter interesting and relevant. I remember him rewriting different battles with wrestling characters and terms so we could better understand it. I also remember him organizing a paintball battle – where half the class used guerrilla warfare techniques and the other half used another battle technique.

What was your first-ever job?
I was a summer camp counsellor at a sports camp just outside of Los Angeles for seven summers. I spent my days in sunny 90-degree weather playing baseball, beach volleyball, capture the flag, going go-karting, wake-boarding, doing ropes courses, riding mini dirt bikes and playing golf. We then got to spend time touring around LA and going to the beach, Disneyland, and Dodgers games. It was the best job ever!

What do you do on a day off?
I like to hike and explore different parts of the island. I love to go to the beach, work out with friends and play sports; I’ve most recently picked up golf.

Where do you most want to travel, but have never been?
Scandinavia. My roots are Norwegian and I’ve always wanted to see that part of the world.I’d love to try to learn the language. The only phrase I remember my grandpa teaching me in Norwegian is “Please pass the potatoes.” I’d like to learn a few more phrases to round out my dinner conversation…

Why did you want to be a teacher?
I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. I think having some really influential teachers and coaches in my life growing up made me also want to create that positive impact as a teacher and coach.

What was your dream job growing up?
When I was young I wanted to be a hairdresser. I think a lot of people have gone through a phase believing it’s a good idea to cut your own hair. I was always really good at cutting extra short, often uneven bangs.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?
When I was 22, I had graduated from UVic with my teaching degree and I wanted to start teaching right away, so I accepted a position to teach Grade 6 at an international school in China. Getting on that plane by myself to move across the world was the hardest thing I’ve done, but I’m so grateful for the experiences I’ve had because of it.

What hobby would you pursue if money and time were no object?
I’d love to improve my golf game. I’d find a coach who could help me fix my slice, travel around and play at different courses around the world. My favourite course I’ve played is in Hawaii, so I’d love to spend time there working on my swing in the warm weather.

What’s been your most memorable teaching moment?
There are no roads in or out of Churchill, the school parking lot was filled with snow mobiles and when we took teams to play other schools in sports, we were gone for a full week because the train only ran once a week. That year, living and working in such an isolated, tight-knit community, I learned about how strong a community can be, and how when someone needs help, people step up. When there was nothing to do in the town in the evenings, some of the teachers and students and other adults in the community would come together to play sports in the gym. I think this strengthened the bonds and gave people something positive to do when it was -50 and snowing for 5 months of the year.

If you could time travel, when would be the first place you go?
I would love to go back to the 1930s and watch a baseball game featuring all of the great players. That was when the game was pure and athletes played for the love of the game.

What was your favourite field trip as a kid in school?
My Grade 6 class went on a trip to Bamfield. I remember it rained most of the trip, but I think it made it more fun! We felt like real marine biologists, looking in the tide pools and discovering different creatures. Before that trip, I didn’t really enjoy Science, but after having those hands-on experiences I enjoyed the subject much more.

What are you currently reading?
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. It’s about a reclusive tribe of athletes in Mexico who are able to run hundreds of miles and what happens when they are pulled out of their villages to join ultra-runners in the States. It’s a really inspiring and motivating book!

What’s the best part of your job?
The people. I get to work with colleagues who I’ve become good friends with, and together we get to teach, coach and work with an amazing group of students. Middle School is such a fun age to work with; I laugh every day and no day is ever the same. I love that!

Where is your favourite place on Vancouver Island?
Any beach because I love the sound and smell of the ocean. We used to camp at Rathtrevor Beach in Parksville as kids, so that spot will always hold strong memories.

If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be doing for a living?
Maybe an interior designer. I really enjoy decorating and rearranging my own house and my friends’ houses, and I helped Ms. Peace redecorate her office here in the Middle School at the beginning of the year.

What was your favourite childhood Halloween costume?
I remember being a pumpkin for a few years in a row. I never liked scary things – I still don’t – so dressing up as something scary was never something I wanted. The pumpkin was classic; I could wear all the warm clothes underneath, and I didn’t scare anyone, or myself.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Teleportation. I love to travel and visit friends and family in different parts of the country and world. To do so without the cost of flights, line-ups at airports and the time it takes to travel would be unreal!

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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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