This month, we are profiling Mr. Dods, our avid adventurer, Senior School Lower Division Coordinator and Social Studies Teacher.
Tell us about yourself and your history at Southridge.
During the 2006-2007 school year I was teaching in England and was looking to move back to Canada where I hoped to settle into a new school long term and build deep roots within an education community. As a result, I applied to schools and districts across Canada. Perhaps it was fate, the Southridge Rugby team was touring England during the 2007 Spring Break and their coach at the time was the Director of Academics. There was a Social Studies job open at the school and I accepted an interview first in England with the Director of Academics and when I was home visiting my family in Ottawa during the Easter Break, I flew to the west coast for a much more lengthy second interview and sample teaching lesson. Later that summer, I packed up my belongings and moved across the country in a U-Haul truck to begin the adventure of working at Southridge. I had only ever been to the westcoast for my interview so moving here took a great deal of courage. However, 15 years later, the westcoast has truly become my home.
What are some of the things you enjoy most about working at Southridge? What are some of the challenges?
Each day I love the energy that young people bring as they enter the large wooden doors of the Senior School. I am proud to work in a place that offers students a safe, fun place to learn and grow. While grade camps such as Strathcona Park Lodge for the Grade 8-9s and the recently completed Camp Squeah for Grade 10s are an enormous undertaking to plan and orchestrate, they also provide a forum for students to establish connections among their peers, learn about personal leadership, connect to the land, and have a shared experience. I also have many fond memories from outdoor trips to places such as Juan de Fuca Provincial Park, Kettle Valley Railroad, Ross Lake, and Garibaldi Provincial Park. It is also rewarding to teach and listen to students perspectives at the Harkness Table.
What are some of your interests outside of school?
Outside of school, running, hiking, and adventuring with my dog Oscar are a big part of my life. Over the past two years, I have been blessed and thankful to have run over 5,000 miles or 8,000 km and climb about 400,000 vertical feet or 122,000 meters. For me, running on the roads or in the mountains is a moment to feel the wind against my face, feel my body move, connect with nature, and feel very thankful to be able to do it. In that way, it is a voyage of deep personal exploration. Along, the way I have run several marathons, half marathons, and other races. These are times when running becomes about testing one’s limits. A reminder, that sometimes as humans we must do “hard things” to grow, feel empathy, and develop resilience.
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
I have always loved the ocean!! Maybe a long run on the beach followed by some great food and time with friends, family, and my dog Oscar!