The Colchester Wire
Mary Teed is exactly where she wants to be
Job requirement: be able to inspire confidence and resilience in others.
It’s a skill Colchester Adult Learning Association executive director Mary (Bonnell) Teed initially developed to move herself forward after multiple “interruptions” provided obstacles to her education.
“A lot of the things we do here, I look back and think
– I wish we were here when I went to school and was struggling,” Teed said from her office in the association’s welcoming Prince Street location at the corner of Esplanade and Walker streets.
From that perspective, she can relate to the folks who, among other things, look to the association to improve skills basic to most job requirements and to finish an interrupted education.
“But some of the shoes they walk in, I can’t even imagine. I think it helps though, when you walk on the fringe of the world, you think you’re all by yourself … it’s great to know you’re not,” she said.
After working in other challenging and satisfying jobs, Teed has ended up in a spot she had basically wished for.
“I spent most of my adult life working in child protection and the child welfare system. Then I did some work with Futureworx, and then I went out on my own and did private training with government bodies, which was exciting, but it meant a lot of travelling,” she said. “So, at one point I said, if a job in adult education comes up in Truro, I’m going to take it."
That opportunity arrived in 2014.
"It came up and I’ve been here ever since," she said. "So, it’s perfect.”
And, the fact it’s not only in Truro but on the east side of the downtown district just adds to Teed’s appeal for her work.
“This location makes it even more meaningful to me because I grew up in this neighbourhood,” she said. “So, it gives me the greatest sense of giving back to not only my hometown but, really, my neighbourhood people.”
That satisfaction stems from helping them overcome obstacles, which she had to do on more than one occasion.
“I remember thinking, I would never be the person on this side of the desk, but I am, and you can be,” she said. “That’s my personal gratification and words of encouragement.”
Teed said the job comes with many gratifying moments, which makes it hard to name a single favourite asppect. Still, she did come up with an ideal choice.
“So many but, I guess, seeing people doing things they thought they couldn’t do … it’s fabulous seeing that when it happens.”
Teed recently participated in our question and answer session:
Q. What is your full name?
Mary Elizabeth (Bonnell) Teed.
Q. Where and when were you born?
A long time ago in Truro, Nova Scotia.
Q. Where do you currently live?
In beautiful Masstown.
Q. What’s your favourite place in the world?
A sandy beach far, far away.
Q. Who do you follow on social media?
StopMotionStephen! "My grandson’s new YouTube channel … you should check it out."
Q. What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I love karaoke but can’t sing a note.
Q. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Travelled to Nunavut for work … alone.
Q. Can you describe one experience that has changed your life?
Going back to school to get my social work degree.
Q. What is your greatest indulgence?
Sitting on that sandy beach far, far away. At least once a year, a get-away south (not this year and maybe not next though, but in my mind for sure … I have my memories).
Q. What is your favourite movie or book?
Schindler’s List to both.
Q. How do you relax?
Back to that sandy beach far, far away.
Q. What is your greatest fear?
War, lack of peace, on Canadian soil. I am blessed to have lived a relatively, peaceful life.
Q. What is your most treasured possession?
Memories; I hope I never lose them.
Q. What is your best quality?
I care and want to help people (sometimes a little too much).
Q. What is your greatest regret?
Ouch, too many, but, mostly, letting fear keep me away from doing something scary.
Q. What three people would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Jesus, His mother and my mother. What wisdom they could share.
Q. How would you describe your personal fashion statement?
Second-hand Chrissy (inside joke).