The Dynamic Funds Teacher of Inspiration 2013:
Kaylie Bernert inspires at a country school with a big heart
By Wendy Singer
Kaylie Bernert grew up on a farm in Franklin, Quebec. She earned her Bachelor of Education at Bishops University in 2009, and completed her final stage at Ormstown Elementary School (OES) of the New Frontiers School Board (NFSB) where she continues to teach today.
When she graduated, Bernert intended to use a constructivist teaching method. It took one day in the classroom to realize that she would need to be flexible and start by addressing the needs of her students including those with ADHD, severe physical disability, and soon-to-be-diagnosed autism.
Bernert leaned on her colleagues for guidance. “As new teachers, sometimes we feel the need to keep our classroom door closed and just try to survive, but our colleagues are such an asset. There are so many people that I clung to and asked to teach me everything they know. I would not be succeeding without the team at OES and NFSB,” shares Bernert.
Our Dynamic Funds Teacher of Inspiration 2013 handles the grade one year with great care: “We take our concerns seriously, we speak to our school board, specialists, and have the children seen. It’s challenging to have the responsibility of cycle one on your shoulders. We have such an impact on their lives.”
In her first year teaching, Bernert was concerned about one struggling student. “I felt like I was failing him. Everyone works at their own level, but something wasn’t working for him,” she explained.
The turning point was a diagnosis of autism. To decrease her student’s anxiety and sleepless nights, Bernert implemented a structured routine and visual scheduling, making things as consistent as possible between the home and school.
It turns out that scheduling proved to be beneficial all around. The anxiety level of the student with autism decreased, allowing him the opportunity to learn, the entire class became more focused and grounded, and once accustomed to scheduling, it made Bernert’s preparation and teaching days flow more easily.
David Brisebois, principal of OES (fondly referred to as ‘Mr. B’) commends Bernert for creating a dynamic partnership with this student and his parents and fostering a home program that closely resembles what is happening at school.
This compassionate teacher weaves two important life lessons into her teaching year-round:
1. We are all different, and therefore learn differently. For example, the student with ADHD learns better when his body is moving.
2. Fair means you get what you need, and that might not be the same for everyone. A student with ADHD might be entitled to a fidget toy, a lap lizard, or permission to get a ‘passport’ stamped at the office if the student needs to move.
Mr. B considers himself lucky to have this devoted and passionate teacher on his team. “Kaylie is only in her fourth year of teaching but shows wisdom, confidence and poise beyond these few years. In her room, education is magical. Learning is fun.”
Thrilled to work at this 123-student country school, Bernert’s love of teaching and her students is undeniable. She treasures each ‘ahah’ moment, and beams while sharing the news that her student with autism is thriving, recently achieving 100% on a math exam.
Bernert is influenced daily by the wisdom of her mentor Carole Creswell and internship supervisor Joy Palmer. Bernert often returns to advice that Creswell shared with her early on in her teaching career: ‘Some days your job is just to care for the students, listen to them, and send them home knowing they felt loved.’ “That,” reflects Bernert, “Is what it’s all about.”
Dynamic Funds was established as a small investment club in Montreal in 1957, where it was a pioneer in providing professional investment advice to retail investors. Since then, Dynamic has evolved to become one of Canada’s most recognized wealth management firms. They offer a comprehensive range of products and services, spanning every major sector, geographic region and investment discipline. Dynamic’s financial solutions include open and closed-end in- vestment funds, fee-based, tax-advantaged and customized high-net-worth programs.