Reading in Tamagawa Garden

Zora Soprovich

  • B.A., MA (UBC)

Canadian fiction, Victorian literature, children’s literature, folk / fairy tale

I grew up in Powell River, graduating from the former Max Cameron Secondary School in 1989, and then moving to Vancouver temporarily to study at UBC.  I returned home in 1997 to raise a family and restore a Wildwood house and property after completing my Bachelor’s Degree and my Master’s Degree in English Literature on a full graduate fellowship.

I have always loved to teach.  In high school, I tutored my peers, at UBC I worked in a summer English tutoring program in the English Department for two years and also as a private tutor, and after I graduated with my Master’s Degree I taught ESL at the Vancouver English Centre before returning to Powell River.

I started teaching at Vancouver Island University, then called Malaspina University-College, as an auxiliary instructor in the ABE department in 1997 and subsequently taught English at the tiwšɛmawtxʷ Campus (Powell River) and Math and English upgrading at Sliammon.  I thoroughly enjoy teaching in the community I grew up in.

When the university teaching job at this campus opened up, I knew that it was a perfect fit for me.  My husband took the day off work and we traveled to the job interview in Nanaimo with our then three-week-old daughter and two-year-old son.

As I expected, I love this job.  I love that I am helping students gain a solid foundation in writing and critical reading skills at the beginning of their university careers, especially since I found that what allowed me to excel in various courses at university was the ability to write a good essay.

I enjoy working with adult learners and watching them develop their skills as they move through their English courses and figure out what it means to be at university.  I have been able to design my courses to allow me to give students lots of feedback on their writing.  In class, we have time to pull apart the readings in lively discussion, and that gets students thinking critically about what they are reading.  Although the university courses are brief, the improvement that a student can make over the course of one semester is amazing and I love being a part of that improvement.  Sometimes by the time I am grading a paper, I have responded to five or six drafts of it, so I really know how far the student has taken his or her work!  In the literature course, it is rewarding to be able to share my passion and see students’ understanding and appreciation of literature broaden.  The first year of university is a crucial time in a student’s academic life, and I feel privileged to be part of it and to help in the transition into the post-secondary learning environment.