About Portage


An interview with Kristen Marks, teacher at Portage Academy.

There is no doubt that teaching requires patience, creativity and dedication. We can all think of a teacher who gave us a new perspective on the world or helped us become a better person. Kristen Marks, who teaches at the Portage Academy at Cassidy Lake, is without a doubt one of those teachers who will have had a positive impact on the life of many young students.
Kristen has worked at the Academy for three years now, teaching French-speaking youths. Her main challenge is providing a varied curriculum that complies with the established educational program in a class made up of students from grades 8 through 12. ‘‘It started out as a huge challenge, but I adapted pretty quickly. I am happy to do everything I can to help my students through their schooling.”
Her schedule certainly reflects her dedication. In addition to teaching three hours a day, Monday through Friday, she spends a great many hours preparing lessons and exams. ‘‘Communication is vital,” she adds, ‘‘whether it’s with other teachers or anyone else who plays a role in the students’ lives. Communication helps us teach much more efficiently.”
Teamwork is also vital in the classroom. “There is an ongoing exchange of ideas with my students,” says Kristen. ‘‘I know them much better than if I were teaching in a regular school environment. I know their stories, their problems, their hopes. Through communication, we can work together as a team.” That teamwork clearly gives good results. ‘‘The students want to learn,” says Kristen. ‘‘They absolutely want to succeed at school and seem to greatly appreciate the opportunity for more individualized teaching provided by the Portage Academy.”

Kristen is touched by the youths’ motivation to go forward. ‘‘They want to do better at school and in life. I love this part of my job, seeing their progress from the first to the last day of their program at Portage.”