Every year, we are honoured to recognize members of the SMUS community as they retire and take on new adventures. Read the 2020 Retirees series to learn more about their outstanding contributions to the school. In this story, we recognize Sharon Goodman, Junior School learning resource teacher.
Piccolo, Sharon’s lovebird, is perched on her shoulder, playing with strands of her hair. “It was amazing. Where else but SMUS could you work and pursue all your passions?” she says. From sustainability to music, from quilting to rowing, Sharon immersed herself wholeheartedly into the SMUS community.
She worked as a learning resource teacher at the Junior School for 13 years, and she also taught music for a decade. A once competitive rower, Sharon took on coaching at the Senior School in her early days. Over the years, she founded several clubs including bell choir (handbells), colouring, quilting and ukulele clubs. A health-conscious individual, Sharon also enjoyed sharing mason jar salads and home-brew kombucha with colleagues.
Sharon obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in speech therapy at the University of Alberta and a Bachelor of Education at the University of Victoria. Before SMUS, she had a private speech therapy clinic for a decade and also taught in the public education system as a classroom teacher and in special education.
As a learning resource teacher, Sharon worked both with students who were having challenges and those whose abilities exceeded their grade level. She appreciated the ability to also assist kids who did not need ongoing support but who benefited from connecting once or twice a year. She shares “there’s no stigma about learning support at the Junior School. Kids are excited when another ‘gets to go upstairs’ to see me. That’s so great.” According to Statistics Canada, 10% of all school children have learning differences. Sharon also added that from her experience she would estimate 50% of students who have trouble forming or articulating words also have challenges with literacy. Sharon appreciated being able to cater to each student’s need. Her background in education, special education and speech therapy gave her a solid foundation to support students well and equip them with the appropriate tools.
She’s thrilled about her time with the school. “If you are a person who is creative and active and who loves to learn, there is always something to do.” Shortly after Sharon left the school after 13 years, she started her 3-days-a-week new schedule at her private practice. She’s trying not to be too busy, but there’s much demand.
Sharon departed SMUS before traditional retirement age to reopen her speech therapy practice part-time. “It’s a re-wirement, not a retirement,” Sharon declares. Despite no longer being on campus every day, she is still very much part of the SMUS community. Her husband Tony is a social studies teacher at the Senior School, her youngest daughter is an alum, and her client base at her practice are all connected to SMUS in various ways.
So for now, no, it’s not a completely new life, but Sharon does have a little more time with Piccolo, her retirement gift to herself. Happy to remain connected to the school, albeit in a new form, Sharon concludes, “I am so happy that there is still a way I can contribute to the SMUS community.”