Dr. Patricia Briscoe and and NU alumna Jody-Ann Robinson, ’19, M.S.Ed.’22, co-authors of“Surviving and Thriving: An Autoethnography of a Black Afro-Caribbean Early Career Teacher in a Northern Ontario First Nation Community.”

Dr. Patricia Briscoe, Niagara University in Ontario associate professor of education, and NU alumna Jody-Ann Robinson, ’19, M.S.Ed.’22, co-authored “Surviving and Thriving: An Autoethnography of a Black Afro-Caribbean Early Career Teacher in a Northern Ontario First Nation Community,” which was published in the Journal of Teaching and Learning.

Their research documented Robinson’s experiences during her three-year teaching placement in an isolated, fly-in community during the pandemic. Although she was significantly tested about her decision to become a teacher, support, empathy, resiliency, and governing her practice with clearly defined moral and ethical principles rooted in the belief that every child can learn helped her survive and thrive. The researchers concluded that early career teachers in First Nation school placements need, among other things, a willingness to be vulnerable and resilient.

“Our love for teaching and, more importantly, learning inspired us to perform this research,” Dr. Briscoe said. “The goals were to use Jody-Ann’s stories for reflection, inspiration, and guidance to support other early career teachers and to provide recommendations to teacher-education programs to lessen attrition and increase retention among ECTs in First Nation school placements. We think this article provides an impactful message for early career teachers and teacher candidates.”

“This journey has been life-changing for me, personally and professionally,” said Robinson. “The mentorship and support I received were crucial in navigating the challenges of teaching in a remote First Nation community. These experiences have deepened my commitment to education and highlighted the importance of empathy and resilience in fostering student success.

“Mentorship for early career teachers is incredibly powerful,” she continued. “It provides professional guidance and emotional support, essential for building resilience and sustaining a long-term commitment to teaching. Fear can deter ECTs from greatness if allowed, but our research proves that resilience is the antidote to overcoming fear and achieving success.”

The Journal of Teaching and Learning is an international, peer-reviewed journal that critically examines education and publishes original research that contributes to questions in teaching and learning. Issues may include Indigenous education, gender, class, race, ability, ethnicity and diversity, educational policy, teacher education, educational leadership, and teaching and learning theories.