Anne-Marie Côté became passionate about the field of education after accepting a three-month replacement contract in a school in Guyana, South America, where she ended up spending the next two years. She was able to experience and understand the crucial impact teachers have on shaping how kind, resilient, adaptable, and confident students become regardless of curriculum taught, and therefore how important it is for students to be surrounded by positive role models at school. Back in Canada, she now teaches an online English as a Second Language course to children in China, and she also works with TakingITGlobal, a non-profit whose mission is to empower youth to understand and act on local and global challenges. She mainly works on a program called Connected North.
Connected North delivers immersive and interactive education services to remote indigenous communities in Northern Canada through Cisco’s TelePresence video technology. Anne-Marie coordinates virtual field trips and guest experts for schools in Nunavut. She also works on developing Francophone content for the program.
Anne-Marie says her Master’s in Organizational Psychology from Carleton University has served her very well in her professional career:
“My psychology training has helped me in my work with children and Indigenous communities. It's helped me approach everything I do from a standpoint of compassion and understanding. Every behaviour has a reason. People don't just ‘’do things for nothing’’. It's helped me appreciate that anyone "in trouble'' (or not, everyone in general) has their own story and if you're trying to make change you need to invest and really care about people.
My organizational psychology training has also helped me understand the dynamics of the workplaces I have been a part of. It's helped me understand good and bad leadership, and how to recognize these. Although I’m not currently consulting, it's also helped me guide some of my workplaces through change and development as well as understand program evaluations and other organizational development processes.
It’s also made me become a better employee in general. I know from the research what makes happy employees and organizations and it has made me brave enough to ask for certain things or just share some of this knowledge with employers in hopes to make a better workplace for everyone. This training has also made me more compassionate. Just understanding some of the processes behind human behaviour makes you really care about people and where they’re coming from.”
Anne-Marie is thrilled that she is able to positively impact children in so many different ways.
“Children spend most of their time growing up at school and I think it's so important for them to be surrounded by supportive adults and be in an environment where they feel safe to be who they are and to learn. Equally, it’s important that they have access to engaging and culturally relevant educational resources, regardless of where they are. That's really my main goal working in education; build empowering and innovative classrooms and be a positive role model children feel like they can come to easily.”
She loves being part of this incredible program that creates opportunities for Indigenous communities in the area of education – an area that's so important, and where a lot of trauma still lies. Her hope is to begin to focus on programs that promote mental health and teach emotional regulation early on in those schools where she makes such a large impact.