As semester one at Riverside comes to an end, we are left with shocking news. Mrs. Teri Bates, who has been at Riverside since it opened, has announced her retirement effective for the end of the semester. Many teachers and students are impacted and left thinking about her humble room, hard work for the art department, and, of course, who will be taking her place.
Bates is a very dedicated, hard working woman whose efforts have brought a new kind of aspect to the creative art programs at Riverside. Within her classroom, Bates shared knowledge and skills with her students, always pushing students towards their full potential and developing new ways to enlighten students; Bates truly is a woman to look up to. By sharing stories and life lessons, students such as grade 11 Vivian Wong, who has been with Bates since grade 9, find it inspiring to listen: “The amount of impact Ms. Bates has had in my life is incredible. I wouldn’t know where I’d be if I had not had her for a teacher, her stories and life lessons helped me gain new respect for her and teachers in general. She’s helped me open doors to new opportunities I never thought I could be qualified for, and for that I owe her a thank you,” said Wong.
Mrs. Bates wanted to be a teacher since she was five. She took Pottery and Ceramics in grade 9 through to 11, and after deciding she loved art, she then took Drawing and Painting 12, and Art 10 during the same block. Bates was going to be a Social Studies teacher, but after discovering the inspiration and enjoyment of art, she went to UBC and did a Bachelor Degree in Art Education. Throughout the years, Mrs. Bates has taught, Ceramics 10, 11, and 12, Drawing and Painting, 10, 11, and 12, Art 10, 11, and 12, Commercial design, Art Careers, Photo 10, 11, Film and Television, 10, 11, 12, and Yearbook 10, 11, 12. “I have a personal passion towards ceramics because playing with clay is amazing. And with yearbook I feel a commitment because it’s a yearlong journey and doesn’t only occur in the classroom,” said Bates.
Mrs. Bates started working at Riverside in September of 1996. It is acknowledged that as one of the founding members of the school, Mrs. Bates (one of the original department heads) has helped to shape and mold the culture of what we have here presently at Riverside. Bates is the beginning of what the Art Programs here at Riverside are. Her legacy would be not only in the yearbooks that she’s done every year, her ceramics work that fills the studio, but, mostly, her dedication towards the art department here at Riverside. Her ideas to capture and memorialize every single school year, and efforts to keep that fresh for students has been fantastic. Bates is not only great at spreading her wisdom within her classroom, but is also wonderful at enlightening and coaching students onto their right path.
Throughout the years, Mrs. Teri Bates has not only built very strong relationships with students, but she has also built friendships and connections with colleagues. Mr. David Romani, teacher at Riverside, has known Bates since the school opened. The two of them have shared a close friendship, both in and out of school throughout the years. They shared many ups and downs, supporting each other both professionally and personally. “Right from the beginning she’s been my neighbour in the school, and has been my close friend,” said Romani.
Mrs. Jacquelyn Collins, art teacher at Riverside shared a memory. “I taught film making, and started what’s called the District Film Festival, and so what the film teachers in all the schools would do is get together every year and make a film all together. It was our professional development and every year the goals was to make it better than the last. And so, one year, Mrs. Bates acted and has the star role in the film that was shot here at Riverside, and she did wonderful,” said Collins.
Some of Mrs. Bates’ greatest accomplishments would be her impact on yearbook at Riverside. The photo lab (which comes with lots of cameras and equipment) was bought and paid for by the yearbook. It is also very impressive to have many of her previous students succeed in the art industry. Mrs. Bates will be remembered for her warm-hearted attitude, her willing to share, and her hard work and dedication for teaching.
After retirement Bates plans to get back into gardening. She also is interested in bee keeping, and plans to take courses on how to be a bee keeper.