Brittney Rocan

July 11, 2023

Red River Métis graduate eager to start teaching

Red River Métis student Brittney Rocan poses with her
University of Winnipeg degree after her graduation ceremony in June.

Red River Métis bowler Brittney Rocan may have just graduated from college and university, but the Red River Métis student is already counting the days until she starts her new career in the fall.

Rocan has spent the past five years attending Red River College Polytech and the University of Winnipeg for her Industrial Arts/Technology Teacher Education Degree.

The Youth grew up working in the garage and spending time outdoors with her father, and Rocan's grandpa was a welder, which helped influence her passion for woodworking.

The Red River Métis graduate recalled attending a Girls Exploring Trades & Technology camp through Red River College (Polytechnic) in middle school, which further propelled her dream of working in the field.

"I always wanted to be a teacher since (I was in) kindergarten, and I just didn't know what kind of teacher I wanted to be until I went to that trades camp, as well as taking woods class in high school," she said. "Then, I realized that's the kind of teacher I wanted to be."

Rocan would attend the University of Winnipeg and Red River College Polytech on alternating days. As a student her experiences were quite unique, noticing distinct differences between college and university.

"In college, you have super small class sizes. So, I gained some great friendships over the five years," said Rocan. "In university, you meet more people because of the bigger class sizes. It was a good challenge, being in both schools."

During Rocan's first and second years of university, she taught Grade 6-12 students graphic design and woodworking at Grant Park High School. The aspiring teacher also taught woodworking and power and energy at Bernie Wolfe School.

This year, the graduate had the chance to return to her high school in Lorette to teach her minor study, drama. She had the privilege of being mentored by her former high school band teacher.

"Being able to work with the person that taught you is pretty surreal," she said.

While teaching in Lorette, Rocan was able to help run the school musical.

"It was cool to be there from November to April because I was there for the whole process of the musical," she said. "Compared to my other practicums, which were eight straight weeks at the end of the school year."

While attending school, the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) helped the Red River Métis Youth financially through the Post-Secondary Education Support Program. In addition, she was assigned a mentor from Métis Employment and Training (MET), who she could count on for valuable guidance and support as she begins her new career.

"It was nice having someone check up on you, see how you're doing, and want to know where you're finding a job after school," she said. "I thought that was good."

Rocan appreciates the help from the MMF and encourages other Youth to reach out for support.

"They have a lot available, whether it's financially or through mentorship," said the graduate. "I thought the MET program was a big help."

The Red River Métis Youth kindly offered valuable tips for those venturing into post-secondary education: try your best to build new connections and friendships along the way.

"It's all about who you know later on down the road and see who you can rely on and ask questions to," she said. "I have a few classmates who are also Red River Métis. We've become good friends and always help each other out."

Now that Rocan has wrapped up her education, she is excited to begin teaching full-time in the fall.

"I'm going to be moving to work in Manitou, and I'll be teaching woodworking," she said. "I got a permanent position right off the bat, which is nice."

Rocan poses with her medals and banner from her victories at the
Canadian Tenpin Federation 2022 Youth Championships in Winnipeg.

The graduate is moving on to a new stage in her bowling journey as well. The Red River Métis Citizen has received many accolades in the sport including capturing five medals and being named the Senior Girls All Events Champion at the Canadian Tenpin Federation 2022 Youth Championships.

Rocan has since aged out of youth leagues and transitioned to playing in adult leagues. She received her coaching certificate and was able to help coach Team Manitoba at the Canadian Tenpin Federation 2023 Youth Championships in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

"One of the kids I coached won two silver medals. I've never felt prouder because now I know what my coach felt like for the last 12 years. I think it was easy to relate to kids because I know exactly how they feel in that high-stakes situation," she said. "I have my ways that I deal with (the pressure), so passing on that information and knowledge helps them when they're bowling."


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