Tim Chamberlain: A committed English instructor who loved teaching diverse learners

Prior to coming to Camosun in 1990, Tim Chamberlain had been a high school English teacher. After earning a Master’s degree in English at UVic in 1986, he went to Toronto where he taught English at Humber and Seneca colleges before returning to Victoria.

Teaching at Camosun, with its mandate to serve all members of the community, was a great fit for Tim. Students came from all socio-economic backgrounds – a large number of his students were the first in their family to attend a post-secondary institution. He felt honoured to teach these students.

As a teacher, Tim got his greatest satisfaction when failing students, through their own tremendous efforts, ultimately raised their grades to a C or higher, or when a disgruntled English 160 student, required by his/her program to take a literature class, would say at the end of term: “You know … poetry isn’t really that bad!”

After teaching at Camosun for a few years, Tim became Chair of the English Department, a position in which he served for four years (1993 -1997) plus another year in 2004/2005.

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Tim Chamberlain

Tim remembers his English Department colleagues with great fondness. They were an interesting and diverse group of people that included Huxley scholars, banjo pluckers, writers in all the genres, ultra-marathon runners, speakers of Mandarin, sailors, rowers, and singers. It was a collection of distinct personalities yet they were able to speak to their differences in direct but polite exchanges. It was a quality that impressed Tim very much through the years.

During his 25 years at Camosun, Tim came to appreciate how much the learning process is reciprocal. For example, he learned a bit of what it is like to be an Indigenous student, or a recent immigrant to Canada. He learned about the challenges faced by handicapped students, or older adults faced with the need for retraining.

Most importantly, Tim knows that students taught him how to be more patient, and to see the humorous side of life.

Submitted by Faye Ferguson, CCARE Retiree

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