Irricana firefighter prepares for life after fire station in education
Monday, Jun 23, 2014 10:48 am
When Amanda Schmitke planned on having a career in teaching, she didn’t think it was going to involve firefighting in Irricana.
Schmitke recently received her bachelor degree from the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary.
“My husband and I moved out to Irricana and we wanted to get involved in the community together,” Schmitke said.
Schmitke joined Irricana’s fire department in 2012, after moving to Irricana from Calgary for a more small-town experience.
“I wasn’t necessarily going to join, I wanted to have an administration role,” Schmitke said. “We went out for one night and they wanted to recruit both of us right there.”
As well as being a firefighter, Schmitke has also been working a full-time job in Calgary at the Apple Store.
“There were some nights where I was only getting four or five hours of sleep,” Schmitke said.
“It was well worth it, though.”
Schmitke noted there are parallels in firefighting and teaching. Schmitke said a lot goes into planning and preparation for teaching.
“It’s the same thing in firefighting, you think that you sign-up and just get to go out on call and go to emergency scenes,” Schmitke said.
“We do a lot more training than we ever see in actual calls.”
Her degree in education is Schmitke’s second degree from the University of Calgary. Schmitke had graduated with a bachelor’s degree in science.
“I like the sciences,” Schmitke said.
“My goal would be to teach a high school science class.”
University of Calgary Professor, Roswita Dressler was ecstatic to see her now former student graduate.
“She’s the type of person that always brings a new perspective to class,” Dressler said.
Dressler was impressed with Schmitke’s class work, saying that coming from a background of being a firefighter helped her bring new perspectives.
“We want people in the class who not only can show that they will become good teachers,” Dressler said. “But also challenge me as a teacher and Amanda is just that.
“She has a lot of potential as a teacher.”
Schmitke said that becoming a female firefighter made little difference to the people she worked with.
“As long as you do your training and you keep up on all your material, the guys treat you like one of the guys,” Schmitke said.
Because of her experiences as a female firefighter, Schmitke doesn’t want women to just settle for what they have.
“I want women who want to do something, but are unsure how they might fit in to just do it,” Schmitke said.
“I did it, I’ve been welcomed and have made really good friends.”
Despite graduating and preparing herself for a career in teaching, Schmitke said she has no plans to leave Irricana’s Fire Department.
“It’s great volunteering here, the people you meet and help,” Schmitke said.
“I can’t see myself leaving.”