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Meet the Team: Shawn Krause, Science Teacher

Alexis Kuo ’24
Ms. Shawn Krause joined the Pemberton Woods science department this school year. However, she is not entirely brand new to the GNS community as she worked at the school as a Teacher on Call from January to June of last year. Also in her pocket is extensive experience teaching IB Chemistry abroad. 
For the Meet the Team series, we conducted a short interview with Ms. Krause, and learned a little more about her.

Why did you want to be part of the GNS community? Was there something that drew you to this school?
This school reminds me a lot of the international schools where I've spent most of my teaching career. Students here are motivated and curious and very goal-directed and I was looking for a school with a small community. And I'm especially interested in an IB World School.

Could you tell me more about your international teaching experience?
I graduated from the University of Victoria, then taught in Canada for three years, and then my husband—who is also a teacher—and I decided to move to Hong Kong. We started at a small school there and from there we went to Ukraine, Latvia, the United Arab Emirates, and then back to Hong Kong. We've been teaching outside of Canada for most of our lives and careers. 

I have two adult children. They're at UVic and they both were born in different countries when we were teaching abroad. It's been a really fun life because our kids were in the same school as me and my husband and we just did this as a family.

What made you want to teach?
When I was a child, people asked the kids what do you want to be when you grow up? And when I was in Grade 2, I wanted to be a Grade 2 teacher. When I was in junior high, I wanted to be a PE teacher. When I was at UVic I was in the Co-op program, and did some placements that had very little human interaction. In the end, I really missed people. So at the end of that I decided that I wanted to merge my love for science with people and just work in a more dynamic environment. I love schools because there's always things happening.

So what are some of your interests outside of school?
Outside of school, I love the outdoors. I'm excited to be living back in Victoria. It's my first time living in Canada in many years and I love the seasons in the fall. I enjoy a lot of hiking, I love riding my bike in the summer, and camping is one of my favourite things.

Is there something most people don't know about you? 
My oldest child was born right after we moved to Kyiv, Ukraine, but we didn't speak enough Ukrainian to be able to get a taxi so we hitchhiked home from the hospital with our newborn baby.

What is the best part of your day? 
When students make connections between things that they didn't think were connected. When all those individual pieces that we've been studying just somehow come together and you can just see it on their faces when it all fits together.

As an experienced chemistry teacher, is there one lab that you really like teaching?
My favourite one was an extended lab we did in my previous school, and it was called the Energy of a Snack. Students would bring in some sort of a greasy snack, like a Dorito or potato chips, and they would find a way to release the chemical energy. Essentially they would light them on fire and it would burn like crazy, and it would heat the water above. Then they could try to figure out how much energy was in that snack and compare it to the nutritional label on the bag. Then we would run it all over again to see if we can improve our procedure because our results usually weren't good. I would come home smelling smoky because the whole room was just filled with burning chips. It's amazing how much a Cheeto can burn. 

Is there anything else you would like to share?
I'm very grateful to have moved back to Victoria and to be at GNS now and for many years to come. 

Thank you Ms. Krause for taking the time to share a bit more about yourself with the GNS community and we look forward to learning more from you and your deep knowledge of chemistry as the year progresses. 

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