Department Head of English
Ottawa Catholic School Board
Through my years in the Bachelor of Humanities, I met many people who challenged me to question everything and to find out who I would become, not what I would become. My education through the B.Hum. did not train me for a specific vocation, but rather opened my mind to a whole history of wisdom through the study of literature. I fell in love with classical mythology, I was perplexed by the philosophers of ancient Greece, I was enthralled by poets, captivated by literary giants, and enraptured by religious texts.
This love of literature and learning is what led me to become a high school English teacher. It was my OAC high school English teacher who inspired me to attend the Bachelor of Humanities when it was a relatively new program. It was also that same teacher who suggested I think about a career in education. Over a decade later, I am grateful for that guidance as it has led to many life-enriching experiences.
One experience that I will always remember as a highlight of my education was a year studying abroad in England. Many of my peers in the Humanities were given the opportunity to study overseas and this was perhaps the greatest learning experience. On top of being immersed in a different culture, I was able to travel throughout the United Kingdom and parts of Europe. I was able to explore areas from the remains of Colossus in Greece to Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage in Northern England.
The College of the Humanities provided a unique and personal learning environment fostered by discussion in an intimate setting. With the guidance of exemplary professors, I learned how to form an intelligent argument, how to discuss metaphysical ideas, and how to find a metaphorical needle in a literary haystack. These skills have helped me as a teacher, but more importantly have helped to form me as a human being.
After graduating from the B.Hum. I enrolled in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa. A year later, I was teaching English for the Ottawa Catholic School Board and today I am the Department Head of English at a Catholic high school in Ottawa. I have twice been honoured with the Pathways for Success award in Literacy. I have also received the Queen’s University Associate Teacher award for my work as a teacher candidate mentor. I have taught a variety of subjects at different Ottawa area high schools and have worked with many amazing individuals. Education is both challenging and rewarding, but every day brings something new and exciting.
Brett Walker is Department Head of English at a Catholic High School in Ottawa.