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A Free-Spirited Teacher: BradA Free-Spirited Teacher: Brad
by Masaru; April 7, 2008


“I have a very strange educational background.” My Writing 12 English teacher, Brad, had a long talk about his past life with a laughter and sincerity which fascinated me.

Brad’s Biography

He was born in Alberta in 1956, moved to Manitoba, where he had a great childhood, then came to Burnaby in 1963 (a brief history is posted on P.A.L.C. web site). Skipping grade four, he graduated from high school at the age of 17, and went to U.B.C. for two years.

He decided not to return for third year, not because he couldn’t afford it (he made big money in the Northwest Territories as a kitchen helper between first and second year!), but because he was seeking his views of life. He used his money to buy a $600 bicycle in 1974 and took a cross country bike ride to Halifax in 1975. After that, he worked for the B.C.Telephone Company as a sheet metal worker and shipper and receiver for two years.

Then Brad “decided to see more of the world, so my friend and I traveled around Europe for six months, sometimes sleeping on trains or on beaches to save money. That was fun.” Brad smiled with nostalgia for the good old days.

Education and Career

After the trip, he spent two years in college, studying Outdoor Recreation Management, which helped him to find a job in a daycare center. In 1979, he went to Quebec to learn French. On the way to Montreal, Brad met his wife on the train and they stayed in Quebec till 1980. While he was learning French, he taught English at the Quebec High School as a substitute teacher. In 1982, fascinated by his continued work in after school daycare with elementary kids, he attended Simon Fraser University to obtain a teaching certificate. Having difficulty finding a job at that time, he survived by doing various kinds of work. In 1987, he started his career at School District 40. During his teaching career, he went back to S.F.U. and graduated in 1996.

“My parents and my children came to the graduation,” he laughed because his kids still remember that day.

Teaching at the PALC

“That was a very strange way to become a teacher,” Brad said.

Yes it was, Brad, and you had an extraordinary experience along with it.

“Teaching at the P.A.L.C. is a fabulous thing. I have all kinds of students here. I work only three days because I also have a business as webmaster. This way, I have freedom and can devote more time to preparing my classes. My lifestyle suits me very well. I am happy with the way I spend my time.”

About the Future

“I am a sensitive guy, so I don’t like the way the world is going. We’re in a terrible situation right now. Housing prices, starving people in Africa and China, tornadoes in the winter. People never wake up or do they? I don’t know. I used to be optimistic, but now I have become pessimistic about our future.”

He added, “After I retire, I would like to teach overseas. France would be a nice choice. I like it there. I will stay in a small town and rent a house in a suburb, having a small garden, which is my dream.” In a decade or so, his dream surely will come true.

About his Family

His mind connected with many good memories so that his topics jumped from one to another, like a wild horse running around the Prairie.

His grandfather homesteaded in Canada in 1905, returned to fight in World War 1 and brought Brad’s grandmother back as a war bride. On his father’s side, his grandparents met in Nelson B.C., both coming separately as immigrants. Brad is a second generation Canadian. Although he is a Vancouverite, his soul is filled with the swift wind of the prairies. The pioneer spirits inherited from his ancestors are still running in his veins.

His Profile

Has a son and a daughter, does most of the family shopping, cooks 5 days out of 7, devoted dog owner, year round barbecue user, cyclist and weight lifter, 52 years old and born in the Year of the Monkey.