Mrs. Bjornson was a grade 8 4C Challenge student at Esquimalt High School in 1985. Studies at the University of British Columbia, Royal Roads Military College, and the University of Victoria led her to a degree in Physics and Mathematics. In 1997, during her teaching practicum at Esquimalt High School, she taught in both the Regular and 4C Challenge Program. After a year teaching outside of BC, she returned to Esquimalt High School to teach Mathematics and Physics.
Mrs. Bjornson, formerly Ms. Allingham, became a teacher for many reasons, but two particularly stand out. Firstly, over the course of her education, she was inspired by some really amazing teachers and professors. From Esquimalt alone, the likes of Mrs. Bohaker, Mrs. Parker, Mr. Dodds, Ms. Fortier, Mr. Wickstrom and Mr. Alexander, have all become part of her teaching persona. High school was a difficult time for her (it wasn’t easy being one of the only punk rockers at ESQ in 1987!), yet these teachers helped her navigate through the most challenging of times. To be that kind of role model for someone else, to help them through a tough time, is what brings Mrs. Bjornson the most happiness as a teacher. The second reason that Mrs. B chose teaching as her path is the fact that very nearly 100% of the time, she can be herself when she teaches and because of this, she has a really great time in the process! When not laughing at herself, she is creating some sort of life analogy, to make the learning easier for her students. Greatly influenced in her formative years by Monty Python, The Kids in the Hall, the original Stars Wars trilogy and So I Married An Axe Murderer make for some slightly off the wall teaching approaches. Making classes fun, engaging, educational, memorable and interactive is Mrs. Bjornson’s main goal as a teacher.
When asked about her strengths as a teacher, she simply responded, “teaching”. Hard work, determination and perseverance is what led to almost straight A’s in her last three years of Math and Physics at UVIC. These marks did not come easy, to say the least! She had to learn how to learn, and because of this, her teaching style is clear, concise and easy to follow for most students.
Activities that Mrs. B has done in the past include the Spaghetti Bridge Competition, Physics 11 outreach with a local elementary school and a variety of guest speakers and career opportunity activities. Field trips also include visiting Camosun , UVIC, TRIUMF and Amusement Park Physics at Playland. (Check out this YouTube video from one of Mrs. Bjornson’s televised Physics demonstrations)
Mrs. Bjornson, has also been participating for the last three years in UVIC’s VICTA high school outreach program. The VICTA (Vancouver Island Cosmic-ray Time-coincidence Array) project provides cosmic ray detectors and electronics to high school partners (Esquimalt, Belmont, Claremont and Parklands) for use in their educational programs. The equipment provided allows high school students to detect cosmic ray showers, measure the lifetime and speed of muons, to perform a test of special relativity, and in general to develop an understanding of a radiation detector and how subatomic particles are detected.
As a teacher in the 4C Challenge program for Math, Mrs. Bjornson differentiates the curriculum in a variety of ways. Why should anyone take 4C Challenge Math over Regular? In Mrs. B’s class you will gain a deeper understanding of concepts, take part in a cooperative learning environment, experience content compacting (i.e. less busy work!) which allows for “fun math” exploration, and have better math contest preparation. There is also a lot less “micro-management” as students for the most part, are extremely self-motivated.
Mrs. Bjornson continues to professionally develop not only in Math and Physics, but in the world of Social Media, Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram using @physicsfuntime. Having two young children at home has somewhat clipped her wings extra-curricularly, however Mrs. B continues to give many hours of tutoring support at lunch and after-school, participates with the annual Grad Ski Trip and is an active member of the school’s Technology Committee.