A RIGHTFUL BLACK KAT
By Rebecca D.
Karl Leaman knows what it’s like to be both a student and a teacher at Fredericton High School.
After graduating in 1979, he returned to FHS in 1998, this time looking for a career.
Mr. Leaman teaches Care and Maintenance of Automobiles, Intro. to Applied Technology, Broad Based Technology, Computer Science, Mill and Cabinetwork, Electronics, and several other courses all ranging from grades 9 to 12. When interviewed, Mr. Leaman said that his favorite subjects as a student became the subjects he currently teaches.
“As a student, I always enjoyed the subjects which I now teach. My favorite Subject would have to be Automotive. I was unable to fit it into my schedule during the day so I ended up taking a class in the evening just so I could fit it in,” he said, “My favorite teachers were Sholly Doherty and John VanEden. They taught me Drafting and Electronics.”
Leaman’s passion for the subject is what initially pushed him to become a teacher. “I tried several fields while in university and started in another career before eventually deciding to become a teacher. Both my parents had been teachers so it was a familiar occupation.”
Being a former student of the school he now teaches in, Mr. Leaman has some insight on Fredericton High that most others involved with the school do not. Over the past 35 years, FHS has certainly changed.
“Although we only had grades 10, 11, and 12, FHS was a much larger school with students from all over the Fredericton area. It gave us a chance to meet kids our own age who had far different backgrounds than those who lived nearby and went to the schools we had grown up in.” Mr. Leaman said.
This is similar to FHS today in the aspect of multiculturalism. By attending a public school with a large student body, kids are exposed to different cultures and backgrounds. We now have the Multicultural Club, which is a thriving extra-curricular group within the school.
Major changes FHS has gone through include the addition of grade 9 as well as French Immersion.
“I was a student before French Immersion and Inclusion. Not everyone went to school in the public school system as there were separate schools for handicapped students. Not everyone stayed in school. Some students left once they turned 16 and went out to work.” Said Leaman, “We had a 7 period day, and because of the large number of students, there were two staggered noon hours. FHS had many specialized courses which prepared students to go right into the job market after high school.”
Whether some of these changes were beneficial or not is arguable, but the fact remains that although schooling has become much more generalized, FHS now allows for more; such as French Immersion and handicapped students, which is most definitely progress.
What Mr. Leaman enjoys most about teaching is seeing the same passion he once had in school show through his students.
“It’s nice to meet a new group of students each year who are interested and eager to learn in class. Their enthusiasm is infectious and a great motivator for me,” he said, “I would not recommend a career in teaching to just anyone, but for people who possess the right qualities, it is a rewarding career.”
And for Karl Leaman, rewarding it has been.
“There have been continuous changes in the system since then, some of them positive. Most of the changes reflect changes in society over time.”
As society changes and evolves, so does the school system. Being able to talk about change is important, but something that is truly amazing is witnessing change and being able to look back on it.