By Laura E. Young
SUDBURY – It’s amazing that Pamela Rose Toulouse even has time to sit for a cup of coffee.
Toulouse’s fourth book is in production and due to be published in April. She is reviewing a new textbook for Nelson Education. Toulouse works with Nicole Bell at Trent University formulating online Native studies courses. There’s her work with the Transitions program of the Ontario Native Education Counselling Association. ( http://www.oneca.com/transitions/ ).
She is also teaching a full course load at Laurentian University.
Then there’s the latest acknowledgement of her 22 years in education.
Toulouse, an associate professor in Laurentian University’s faculty of concurrent education, and a member of Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation, has been named a 2015 3M National Teaching Fellow.
The fellowship acknowledges contributions to teaching and learning and leadership in education provincially and nationally. Up to 10 awards are given annually through the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) and 3M Canada. http://www.stlhe.ca/awards/3m-national-teaching-fellowships/
Toulouse has been teaching at Laurentian for 14 years. The 3M award is an acknowledgement of the students she has taught and a reminder to always put her students first, she says.
“As long as I focus on that then things will be successful for them, and it will be a classroom that is focused on their success.
“Those wonderful folks that I get to teach every year, there’s no one like them. It’s reaffirming that there’s nobody else like you on this planet. You come with your own story. You come with your own intentions of why you want to teach. I just feel really honoured to be a part of that.”
In professional terms, the 3M fellowship means she joins a community of others who “teach and lead from the same spirit where we’re focused in on social justice, human rights education.” She will attend a conference in Vancouver in June of other 3M fellows.
It’s her opportunity to share her commitment to her students “and to share why it’s important to make sure that your students are at the centre of your classrooms and of your planning.”
It also sends a message that teaching and a commitment to students are central to Laurentian, she adds.
Toulouse hails from a long line of educators. Her late mother, Dorothy (nee Recollet) Toulouse was an education counsellor. Her father Nelson, a former deputy grand chief of the Union of Ontario Indians, has been involved in indigenous languages his entire life.
Her maternal and paternal grandparents were committed to education, involved in business, entrepreneurial skills. “They were all teachers in their own way.”
From a cultural perspective, she is a member of the Fish Clan, the original teachers of the Ojibwe and Odawa peoples, she says. “It’s been since time immemorial that my family have been teachers.”
The 3M fellowship is also about her family, her community, all the positive and negative influences that taught her to be resilient, she adds. “I really believe this is a creator-driven profession I’m in. My culture and traditions have put me in this place, this place of service.”
Toulouse received Laurentian’s teaching excellence award for full-time faculty in 2013-14. http://anishinabeknews.ca/2014/04/07/dr-toulouse-gets-teaching-award/