We’re excited for the brand new school year, but September will be a little bittersweet this year as two well-loved faces will be missing from campus. Please join us in saying “goodbye, thank you, and good luck” to Robert Haviar and Christina Wahlers. After many wonderful years as Vicars instructors, Christina and Robert are retiring from teaching and moving on to the next stages of their lives and careers.
Robert has been teaching at Vicars in Edmonton since 2004 and has been a part of countless students’ journeys over the last 16 years. Christina has been an invaluable member of our Calgary teaching staff for almost a decade, and has helped us along our path to accreditation in addition to sharing her skill in the classroom.
I chatted with both Christina and Robert this summer to hear about what’s next each of them, and to reflect on their time at Vicars. And it was obvious in our conversations that while both of them are excited about their next chapters, a part of them was already starting to miss their students.
“I just loved being with the students, and I loved sharing with them,” said Robert. “What I’ve enjoyed most about teaching is seeing the ‘aha!’ moments students had, when the lightbulb lit up above their head and you could see that they got something at a deeper level. That was amazingly satisfying, and it still is.”
“A lot of my favourite memories of my classes are from when we’re doing the review at the end of the year, before exams. That’s when I could see the students start to relax a little bit, and all their personalities come out as they realize they’re getting close to the finish line,” said Christina. “I absolutely loved watching our students become these competent, confident therapists that I’m proud to now call my colleagues.”
After years of being the ones standing at the front of the classroom, both Robert and Christina are putting their ‘student’ hats back on and continuing their educations beyond massage therapy – though neither is leaving the career behind. Christina is returning to university to complete an undergraduate degree, and hopes to continue to advocate for massage therapy in Canada. Robert plans to study Somatics, in order to have another way to help his clients heal.
It’s been a pleasure to work with Robert and Christina all these years, and we wish them well.