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Educators iPad 2 winner was ‘meant to be’

If you believe in fate, then Marilyn Minaker was meant to be the lucky winner of an iPad2 that Educators Financial Group raffled off during an OCETF (Ottawa Carlton Elementary Teachers’ Federation) PD Day workshop back in February.

For the month prior to winning, Marilyn was using an iPad with her deaf students for a month-long trial period. “The month was coming to an end, and the students were going to be very disappointed”, says

Marilyn. “On the day I won the iPad you so generously donated, I had to return the trial iPad for the next teacher to use, so I was very excited to win… not only for myself, but for my students. You could almost say it was meant to be!”

And we couldn’t be more thrilled Marilyn. Congratulations!

Read our full interview with Marilyn Minaker below:

Educators:       So Marilyn, take us back to your first day of teaching…

Marilyn:            My first teaching job was with the Frontenac County Board of Education back in 1981, teaching a pre-school/ kindergarten program for deaf children half the day, and providing resource support for older deaf children in the same school the other half of the day.

Educators:       What inspired you to become an educator?

Marilyn:            I have always liked working with children, so becoming a teacher was an easy and natural choice for me.

Educators:       Your position with OCETF is rather unique. What drew you to working with children that are hard of hearing or deaf?

Marilyn:            In my fourth year at Western I volunteered at the Robarts Provincial School for the Deaf. Following my year at Teacher’s College at Queen’s, I decided I wanted to work with children with special needs. There was a Teacher Education program at the Sir James Whitney Provincial School for the Deaf in Belleville, which offered a diploma and Specialist Certification in Deaf Education – so after 4 years of undergraduate, and 1 year of Teacher’s College, I found myself signing up for another year of education which happened to be the one that was the most rewarding. The rest, as they say, is history, as I have taught deaf and hard of hearing children ever since. The progress of the students has changed so much with the technological advancement of hearing aids, cochlear implants, and FM systems!

Educators:       How do you intend to use the iPad2 with your students?

Marilyn:            In my job as an Itinerant Teacher, I travel to 3 to 4 schools per day, providing individual support for oral deaf students in regular classrooms to develop speech, language, listening and academics. As a result, I carry around a wide assortment of teaching materials for all ages including games, books, workbooks, toys, flashcards, etc. My colleagues and I have discovered there are many educational apps we can install on an iPad to assist with developing speech, language, and listening skills. The iPad is much more portable and holds a lot more materials than all my heavy bags – plus it has the added bonus of being an extremely motivating learning tool for the students!

Educators:       What, for you, is the most rewarding aspect of being an educator?

Marilyn:            I am in the lucky position of working individually with the same students for several years at a time (for continuity), which enables me to build unique relationships with the students and their families, as well as witnessing the growth and development of speech and language skills first hand.

Educators:       Finally, do you have any words of wisdom for your fellow educators?

Marilyn:            It may sound corny but it’s true: make learning fun, and enjoy the students!

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions Marilyn. We hope you and your students get a lot of educational mileage out of your new iPad!

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