Life Long Learning
Joyce Kim and Heather Rolufs

As an English teacher, Ms. Heather Rolufs works every day to support students in developing their writing and academic research skills. However, the roles were reversed as Ms. Rolufs took the opportunity to research and co-write a scholarly work of her own. Recently, Ms. Rolufs’ work was published in the peer-reviewed academic journal, Animals in Narrative Film and Television. Ms. Rolufs combines her passion for academic research, her background in media analysis, and her understanding of animals to explore how two contemporary film portrayals of dogs can “represent the manifestation of different cultural anxieties” in the essay, “Making the Invisible Visible: Displaced and Marginalized Animal Characters in Samuel Fuller’s White Dog and Kornel Mundruzco’s White God". Ms. Rolufs’ commitment to the academic research and writing process is an inspiration and a wonderful example to students of the “lifelong learner” of the Southridge Mission Statement. Below, she reflects on her experience:

How has the writing and publishing process helped you as a teacher?
I think the process has really reinforced the importance of editing and revision; there are always things to tweak and refine. Writing is a process and takes time and the more time dedicated to it the better the product. It is a "labour of love" so to speak and being able to model that for my students I think, or I hope, helps me connect with them and shows them that what I am trying to teach them has validity.

What do you plan to bring back to your classes from this experience?
I would like to break the process down and show them the drafts, the edits, and how it came together. In addition, I plan on showing them the importance of research and the different techniques that they can use to find support for their ideas both with primary and secondary sources, especially when looking at different mediums.

Lastly, I would like to show them that you never stop learning and that opportunities can present themselves unexpectedly. This was first time I was able to explore and combine both my passion for film/television theory with my love for animals and it came about because of the connections I made with my professors during my time at university. I just feel very grateful for the opportunity, for having such encouraging and supportive colleagues, and for the ability to share this with our students.

Contributed by Ms. Kim, Senior School English Department Curriculum Leader and Harkness Coach and Ms. Rolufs, Senior School English Teacher