Friday, August 23, 2019

Know Your Profs: Geography Instructor Trisha Jarrett on the importance of prioritizing student mental health

March 6, 2019 by Katy Weicker, staff writer

Know Your Profs is an ongoing series of profiles on the instructors at Camosun College. Every issue we ask a different instructor at Camosun the same 10 questions in an attempt to get to know them a little better.

Do you have an instructor who you want to see interviewed in the paper? Maybe you want to know more about one of your teachers, but you’re too busy, or shy, to ask? Email and we’ll get on it.

This issue we talked to geography instructor Trisha Jarrett about breakfast for dinner, volcanoes, and her frustration over lack of staples. 

1. What do you teach and how long have you been at Camosun? 

I’ve been at the college since 2002, and I primarily teach Geography. My favourite courses to teach are natural hazards, biogeography, statistics in geography, and research methods. I also work in the Environmental Technology program and have recently taken on the role of chair of the department.

Camosun College Geography instructor Trisha Jarrett (photo by Adam Marsh/Nexus).

2. What do you personally get out of teaching? 

I get to share my love for geography with students. We break down topics and learn geography is a way of thinking that is relevant and widely transferrable. I love that I get to spend time teaching, discussing, applying and (still!) learning about geography—to be able to share that with students is a privilege.

3. What’s one thing you wish your students knew about you? 

I think many students might not know how hard it was for me to adjust to post-secondary education. It was financially tough, and I didn’t have a lot of local support when I first moved to attend school. I was from a very small town, and it was a big challenge. 

4. What’s one thing you wish they didn’t know about you? 

I am a horrible speller and often make mistakes. 

5. What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you as a teacher here? 

It’s great when former students get in touch with me to let me know that they are still studying geography, or that they came across something that we talked about in class, or to send along a photo of a really cool volcano they saw in their travels. I love that the connections made in the classroom can sometimes continue on beyond a student’s time at Camosun.

6. What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you as a teacher here? 

Being laid off from my first position at Camosun in the co-op department. I worked with some exceptional educators and support staff, and it was a very difficult time.   

7. What do you see in the future of post-secondary education? 

Post-secondary education is expensive, particularly in Victoria, when the price of housing is factored in. I am very concerned about the loads that many students carry between juggling school, work, family, and other commitments, while at the same time having to fund their education. I think we will need to see a continued effort to prioritize mental-health strategies for students. Camosun has a great one——and also we need to continue to support instructors in finding ways to identify and support students who are in need of support.

8. What do you do to relax on the weekends? 

I have three young boys, so there is not a lot of relaxing. The closest thing would be to run them in the woods—preferably on a mountain somewhere.

9. What is your favourite meal? 

I am a big fan of breakfast for dinner. Or, breakfast for breakfast works, too.  

10. What’s your biggest pet peeve? 

Students who hand in multi-page labs without staples.

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