Bernadette Abrioux

Bernadette Abrioux
Head of Mathematics
Teacher, Senior School Mathematics
Since: 
2002
Degree: 
Bsc, BEd (Mount Allison)

Make the study of the subject meaningful and manageable for all.

“Mathematics is a subject which causes great stress for students and their parents,” says Bernadette. “I find stress prevents a student from learning, so if I can make my class relaxed, yet productive, my students can learn.”

With a background in both science and mathematics, Bernadette’s first job was teaching in a First Nations community in Kahnawake, Quebec—sometimes teaching adults older than she was. She then joined Stanstead College to teach mathematics and chemistry and act as assistant head of the girls’ residence and then, with her husband Xavier Abrioux, as house parent to 67 boys.

“During my time there, all of my mathematics classes were designed for students who struggled with the subject,” says Bernadette. “I learned more from these students than they ever learned from me.”

After taking a position at a Winnipeg school, Bernadette trained as an addictions counselor and helped develop a Student Assistance Committee to work with students who were struggling with addictions.

“I learned several new things, like how to implement Restorative Justice and how to perform an intervention,” she says. “I am not really an out-going person, so this was definitely outside of my comfort zone, but I finished, and was able to bring my learning back to school. I know it made a real impact on the students.”

At SMUS, Bernadette teaches mathematics exclusively. She loves the patterns and logic involved, and gets a great deal of satisfaction watching students expand their grasp of a topic.

“I love the challenge of making a subject understandable for students and watching how this feeling of success then impacts their life.”

In addition to teaching, Bernadette works on the Senior School musical every year, helping with props and working backstage. She loves quilting, knitting, and cross-stitching, finds reading and walking very relaxing and will often come up with ways to present her lessons while working in the garden.