Thursday, July 30, 2015

TERUSHA

Blending into her lush verdant background, Terusha Naidu is anything but a wallflower. An educator, she has travelled extensively and touched the lives of many people.

Born in Durban, South Africa in Natal Province, she had a good life there. She was an accomplished athlete who was at the top of her game, representing her province in the 100 metre and other events. At the age of 12, her family moved to Canada where she blossomed more and has become a young woman with huge dreams, with a passionate and caring heart to match.

After arriving in Canada as a grade eight student in June, come September she was put into high school. It was a hard adjustment. "I remember once in class, reading Romeo and Juliette, I stood up to read a passage. When I had finished, everybody was staring at me. The teacher looked at me and asked, 'did you put that accent on to read?' " Her fellow students were supportive and welcoming, making her transition much easier. Getting back into sports also helped settle her into her new home.

Graduating with a kinesiology degree, Terusha worked for a time as a therapist for autistic children. The experience with children began to define her and a path was becoming clear. She applied and was accepted into teachers college. Terusha has been teaching elementary school children for the last six years. Coaching and being involved in social justice extra curricular activities balances the academic teaching, making her one of those teachers children will always remember.

Though teachers have a summer away from the classroom, Terusha set off to another school a few years ago for the summer. "I remember when my dad dropped me off to the airport he thought I was crazy," she says of her solo trip to teach in the Galapagos Islands for Lead Adventures. Landing in the middle of the night in Ecuador, then flying to the the Galapagos was an adventure, as was working at the school in a very poor community. A school that had a brick and face, but behind that, only shanty style cardboard walls and boxes which were used to make classrooms. Her training in kinesiology helped as she trained other local leaders and students games and activities that everyone enjoyed. It was a summer to remember and a summer of great personal growth which will influence her through her career as an educator.

TERUSHA FUN FACT: "My fun fact would be walking on the Equator," she says of the particular phenomenons of this geographical location. A line marking the exact location of the equator was marked along the ground and was difficult to walk on, toe-to-heal as in a sobriety test! "Believe it or not, it was challenging, it was hard to keep your balance! People don't believe me when I tell them, but it is hard!" As well, seeing how water goes down a drain clockwise on one side, and anti-clockwise on the other. "It was amazing – the whole experience was amazing."


PHOTO: SPENCER WYNN

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