About Portage


Interview with Naomi Kleinschmidt, teacher at Portage Keremeos

Everyone will agree with the fact that being a teacher takes patience, creativity and devotion. We all can think of someone who, throughout our school years, changed our perspective on the world or taught us to be a better person. Naomi Kleinschmidt, teacher at Portage BC, is certainly a teacher that has had an impact on many young lives.

Born and raised in the Okanagan-Similkameen region, Naomi drives an hour and a half on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to get to work.  ”I love my job and the location is superb. It isn’t just anyone who has the opportunity to look out their window and see eagles fly in the sky!”
She is currently starting her sixth year as a teacher in Keremeos. ”I got hired a year after graduating from University. I was pleased with the experience right from the beginning.” Naomi is also doing some continuous liaison work with the teenagers when they finish their Portage program and return home to a regular school environment.
Specialized in Middle School Education, Naomi works with her colleague Cody. The duo splits the shifts. For example, the boys will do Human Studies with Naomi in the morning, while the girls do math and sciences with Cody. The groups then switch in the afternoon. ”Cody and I work really well together and with the rest of the staff. Our goal is to help these teenagers to get their diplomas, but also to help them become better human beings.What I bring to the table is my vast work experience, she continued. Real world experience. With kids, you have to be honest and engaged.” The teacher also mentioned the involvement of the Keremeos staff and their Vice-Principal in the daily schedule. We work together for the best transition possible.
Naomi remembers a time when the students were working with laptops. However, one student had not been working on the project she was asked to complete. ”When I questioned her, she told me that she knew it was not what she was supposed to do, said Naomi. She then explained that she was looking up some information about the conflict in Syria. I was kind of proud, because those youth learned how to think about others before they thought about themselves.” Naomi, who had been a straight-A student herself, learned quickly to work with these teenagers, they who had their own personal challenges. ”They are all gifted in their own sense and they are so proud when they achieve something. I would recommend this kind of teaching experience to anyone”