Education over the last decade has made enormous strides in providing better supports for those entering the classroom with learning disabilities. Whether it be through the design and expectations of a lesson or the ways classrooms spaces are setup, students today are given opportunities to demonstrate their learning in multiple ways.
Fourth-year Teacher Education Stream student, Courtney Aagesen who is pursuing her Bachelor of Arts & Science at Trent, has wanted to be a teacher since she was 9 years old, Her journey has included overcoming a learning disability, and as she prepares to graduate, she is keen to support students with similar learning challenges, so that they can be successful — not only in school, but in life.
I am capable
Courtney, who is affiliated with Lady Eaton College, persevered with a learning disability throughout her educational experiences. “[As a first-year student], I had to learn how to read larger volumes of text in short periods, how to take notes, how to advocate for myself, and many more things,” Courtney shares.
“I am now in my fourth-year at Trent University - having published a book, solely run a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls red ribbon campaign, been on the Dean’s Honour Roll each year, worked in a variety of leadership settings throughout the University, spoke at several open houses and livestreams -- and continue to succeed in ways that work best for me. Ultimately, I am as capable and intelligent as a student without a learning disability.”
Unlocking student potential
Courtney’s experiences and growth have been supported by her teachers, who have adapted to changes in education in recent years, including pivoting between in-person and remote teaching. As she and her peers in the Teacher Education Stream graduate and become educators themselves, Courtney is emphatic about being able to unlock a learner’s success.
“I want to advocate for students with learning disabilities, to be that one educator who unlocks students’ potential. I want to make a difference in the education system, even if that difference is just in one student’s life.”
A passion for teaching
By gaining foundational educational knowledge, placement experiences, and a sense of strong community support from staff, faculty, and students at Trent, Courtney’s passion for teaching is stronger than ever. “It is so important that I take the small victories, even if that is just getting a smile from the student and celebrating it,” she shares. “When it seems like the world is falling to pieces, it is the educator who can make an impact on the next generation. Looking at the positives in the education system and challenging the negatives is one of the ways I can make sure my passion outshines.”
Courtney also notes that she brings a unique perspective as someone who has experienced first-hand the feeling of reaching the potential she wants to see in others. “I once thought of my disability as a burden, something that weighs me down, not allowing me to reach greatness, but that is not the case. I believe that when you have just one educator willing to take the time to support you, you will do great things. All students are capable of greatness.”
Learn more about the Teacher Education Stream at Trent University.