The Power of Connection

Week 113 – May 14, 2022 – Feeling Whole Again

The day after Friday the 13th. I feel rested and reconnected. I felt so lucky to be part of the professional development session in SD91 in Vanderhoof, BC hosted by KOH learning. I was able to go to this event with half a dozen teacher candidates as well. They attended this event on their own time, so learning together was truly a gift.

The primary theme and function of KOH learning is CONNECTION. They focus on the Nechako waterways and in doing so connect students, community, educators, and researchers. I just loved the day. It started with Dr. Peter Liljedahl with a virtual session on Building Thinking Classroom followed by outdoor learning activities.

It felt so good to be connected with others in person as part of the professional learning experience again. I loved meeting new people, reconnecting with people, and learning with teacher candidates. My cup was full and I was grateful for one of the Teacher Candidates who drove us to and from the event. It was good to connect.

Shall I say that I really enjoyed the egg sandwiches I had at the pro-d event? The sandwiches were delicious, vegetarian friendly, and reminiscent of the sandwiches my mom never liked. Not sure why? They are THE BEST… just like deviled eggs. Yummy. I’ll admit it. The sandwiches were a highlight to my day (and the swag too).

Wanting to blog on Saturday… I was pooped. I started to write this blog on Saturday (as noted above) but continuing it now on Wednesday, May 18, 2022. I would like to note that I love Saturdays. I had to learn how to take that day for myself. The day was filled with chores, parenting, and rest. Saturdays are sacred time. I was so tired.

Now I’m well into the next week and spent quite a bit of time preparing for today. I presented at a national conference with a folks from the university. I had a academic coaching session a couple days ago, and a fulsome chat with my sister last night. What I have learned is, I need to be kind to self, I love what I do, and I can do more.

Let me clarify… not “do more” to fill up my things to do list, but “do more” in terms of not underestimating what I am able to do. I can do this work and I watched a CSSE session this morning and inspired by the Governor General and thoughtful panel. Disruption is part of my work. I got clarity on my research agenda and I’m stoked.

Although I feel pulled in many directions, I had to make decisions that was best for me. Making that choice was very difficult for me to do because I rarely choose myself as a priority. Sounds strange, but I am learning what it means to prioritize myself and feel good about it (without being narcissistic or selfish). It’s ok to be first on the list.

Anyway, I chose rest and created some time and space for me to prepare for today’s presentation. I needed that time to present with my team in a good way. I am so proud of myself and my team. I am learning about learning and more about myself. After talking to my sister and discussing what she is learning, I feel transformed.

I have one more presentation to give tomorrow and I will spend time tonight to prepare for it, then I will return back to prep for the graduate courses I’m teaching and to the teacher candidates I am supervising for their 4-week practicum. There is no dull moment this month, but now I know I am able to take one step at a time.

Listening to My Story

Week 112 – May 6, 2022 – Pause and Choice

What an interesting week. I’m brought to a place of deep reflection and declaring what is important to me and why. Ah yes… MY WHY. Although Simon Sinek would say that your why does not change over time, what I’m realizing is that it’s taking me time to hone into my why. With more time, there comes more clarity. I would also say with more experiences and questions from critical friends also help to clarify.

This week continues the journey from last week. I was so overwhelmed last week and this week was a bit better, but I’m now in a place to question, wonder, and commit. I have been asked a few times this week… “What is your goal?”… “What do you really want to do?”… “What brings you joy?” In these conversations I was feeling validated and I needed to hear what each had to say from their perspective and expertise.

The spring term started and I am left running. I’m teaching a compressed course for teacher education, a spring intersession graduate course, and supervising a capstone project for Serena’s graduate students. What was I thinking? I love every moment with these students but my time is spread thin and I am presenting at conferences this month and papers to write. What do I need to do to get where I want to be?

I need to address those questions being posed to me. The irony does not pass over me knowing that I’m teaching a course on achievement motivation. In this course alone is enough for me to reflect and self-evaluate how things are going and where I want to be. As one person said to me recently… you have to be selfish if you want career advancement. That can challenging for me, but I do understand what’s being said.

Most of my career and MY WHY is in service to others. Much of what I do in my life is to help others. I do find joy in that, but I guess the question is, what I am I doing to help myself? What am I doing that is good for me? What am I working towards? I am so grateful for people who are helping and guiding. This honesty and integrity are so appreciated. It’s more than just what I am interested it, but what am I committed to?

DELIBERATE PRACTICE. This concept was part of my dissertation, but show up again in the graduate course I’m teaching as well as self-efficacy, intrinsic motivation, and attainment value. Goal orientation theory shows up as well as self-determination theory. We discussed in our class the term “amotivated” (low beliefs in one’s abilities thus one places low value in academic tasks). I can see how this impacts motivation.

I can see how setting a goal helps. In past, I have set goals for myself that seemed out of reach. More recently, I’ve tried to set more attainable goals, but they don’t seem to resonate with me like the big dreamy goals. The dreamy goals I set for myself in past, I have attained them. The question is, what’s next. I took much thought about this and this week has turned another corner. I have set my dreamy goal. I’m ready. Let’s go.

Asian Heritage Month

Week 111 – May 1, 2022 – My Mom Visited Me

I have a tonne of things to do. Some things are well overdue, but I’m getting to things one task at a time. I did not know that life could be so challenging at times. I feel like I’m getting to know myself all over again. Admittedly, it’s a bumpy ride. Keep you ego in check and open your heart to learn, forgive, and surrender. It’s a little weird for me to be writing this blog entry and it’s on Week 111. I say that because when I do see series of ones on my phone, for example, I think it’s my mom. So here we are at 111.

This week was a struggle for me for many reasons and it seemed like everything was happening at once. I was overwhelmed and had so many tasks to get done. Lots of what had to get done depended on the inside work I had to do to get the outside work done. I’m not talking about indoors and outdoors, but rather the work that I had to do with my mind and spirit. My heart was heavy but opted to enter the week with my chin up and tried my best to face what the universe had to offer. I was not envious or jealous. I was not angry or frustrated. I was feeling more uncertain and unclear.

You think that you can hide how you are feeling, at least, that’s what I thought I was doing. I was doing my best to be open and approach the world with a smile. It was so good to see folks from out of town. Some were familiar faces while others were new. I realized how much I loved connection and being with people. I had a huge need to BELONG. I even googled that to see what my personality type felt about belonging. Even though I have a rough or shiny veneer, deep down inside I need community.

I have community in different places, but more recently am acknowledging that I am not a part of a community in other places. I could be self-sabotaging or just hiding myself from the world, but belonging has been tapping my shoulder and in small ways have been receiving messages affirming that this might be true. It was a heavy week and I could barely keep things together. I even brought my computer with hopes of getting work done at the conference, but I never opened it up once.

Over the last few days, we had people at the university visiting my program. One part I participated in actively and another part took a step back and participated only. Both parts felt good and I have to notice and recognize that. In the latter part, I navigated the conference as a learner (carrying my laptop around). I felt like every conversation, presentation, and interaction I had was meant to happen. It was like people were talking to me, but about the same thing. It was informing and weird.

The common theme was mom. By the afternoon, I opted to go to another workshop that was different from the one I signed up for. We sat in circle and I just wanted to cry. I was smudged earlier in the day, but that afternoon I was called to be in that room. The right people were there in the circle at the right time. I could not let my sadness out. My inner strength (or fear) kept many of my tears inside. I felt like the person leading the circle was talking to me. The words hit me so deeply. Words around the circle caught my attention too. Kiwi birds, wings to fly, and belonging.

It was a powerful day for me and was affirmed by another person in the circle that they felt an energy around me. A positive force with lots of good to come. They told me privately that they were receiving messages and images that this energy was proud of me. There was a lot more said, but all I could say was, it was my mom. Still from the other side, she is trying to guide me. She is my biggest cheerleader. I am so grateful to those who are able to translate those messages to me. I really needed it that day. The event ended and my day concluded with lots of laughs and beading.

What I have learned is, you can’t hide. People can see you. My self-doubt was getting the best of me. It was winning, but with all those I chatted with in the last week (including my mom) has opened a door for me that I could not see. I am walking through that door. My heart is full and I can only do the best I can do. I need to belong and accept myself for who I am so that I can realize my gifts. Thank you creator and all those who were part of my day that day. It was April 28, 2022.

What a wonderful way to enter this week with celebrating Asian Heritage Month. I am so proud of my mom and the strength she gives me. And, I am so grateful for all those who are in my community. I needed your strength to understand my place.

Every Moment is a Teacher

Week 110 – April 22, 2022 – Happy Earth Day 2022

Everyday presents an opportunity for learning and every experience is a teacher. I wrote several blog entries this week and feel like I am turning a corner. I can let go. I can have my voice. I can feel good living up to my values and being true to myself. In doing so, I can learn from and with others. I can reflect and find joy. I can by myself.

Last night I had the opportunity to bead with a others at the local art gallery. As you can see from the photo, this is what I’ve accomplished in 2-hours. We are making beaded earrings. The second of two sessions is next week. I have homework. That’s ok. There is something so wonderful about beading that helps me with my writing.

What I also love about last night’s class was the opportunity to be with people again. I even recognized a few people I know and met a few more people in the meantime. Being with others filled my cup. I loved learning something new. I loved being in community. I cannot express how much I loved this (despite all that I have to do).

I was so humbled by the experience. What beads to choose, what size of circle to make, and what is involved in the technique were a few things I had to consider that night. It was freeing and paralyzing at the same time. I just loved gabbing with folks and learning from the instructor. The generosity, love, and joy were cup filling.

Today, I had an online experience that felt the same way. I just loved listening to others and inspired by what they each had to say. It reminds me of Circle Craft in Vancouver. I just love to listen to hear people’s passion and expertise. What I love to do is to make these opportunities for others (and myself). I am feeling very lucky.

I learned about what it means or talk like a researcher. There is a language or dialect that I am missing or working on. It was also clear to me what I am passionate about as well and it’s ok that it is different with others. It can also complement or intersect with others and I need to take a moment to be clear about my mission and purpose.

What I am learning about this pedagogical journey I am on is to stay humble, stay curious. I do like systems. I do like order. I also like justice and doing what’s right. I understand this and I need to stick to it. MY WHY does not have to be like others. I feel more grounded than ever to move forward with the work I need to get to now.

There is no better time the the present. Know that learning new things take longer than expected. Be patient and kind to self. Ask for help, if needed. It will happen.

Happening All At Once

Yes. It’s true. Another inspired blog. Honestly, I’m a bit overwhelmed and I just found out today that I am presenting at the same session as my friend at a national conference. I just got through my grades for the winter term and I wanted to provide some feedback to my students on their progress in the program, but also model (as best I can) what I preach… in assessment, teaching, and learning. No pressure, right?

I feel so great that I was able to get that marking done. Most of the students are meeting or exceeding expectations. PROFICIENT on the 4-point proficiency scale would be an understatement. I am so proud of their progress and what they are learning and taking agency of their learning. I’m spell bounded and humbled. Reading through all of their summative work taught me so much. I love learning.

Talking about being overwhelmed… it snowed 13 cm yesterday. It was April 19, 2022. When my friend told me that I was presenting, that was the first I heard of it. I know that my proposal was approved (after the fact), but to see my name in the program was affirming that it’s really happening. Truth, I thought I did not get in and struck it off my things to do list. Well, that paper and presentation is back on the list.

Unfortunately, I am also writing 2 other papers with 2 presentations as well at a parallel conference as well as serving as chair and discussant at other sessions. Gulp. It’s busy. This is not to mention that I am teaching during the spring term, course syllabus need to be published, and I am presenting at another conference at the end of the month. Is this what it’s suppose to be like? And, I’m applying for a tenure-track.

I’m not sure how this all came about. It’s happening all at once. Hindsight, I’m so glad that I was not part of the planning committee the the Dean’s Roundtable next week and I took a step back from a few things to get other things like paper writing and conferences onto my things to do list. Honestly, it’s a lot and I’m not sure how this all works. Talk about experiential learning at it’s finest. I’m talking to a coach tomorrow.

Will all that is swirling around me (while I take a brief moment to celebrate my achievement of marking and learning more about the students in my program), I take some solace to slow down and take a moment to put some of my thoughts down (digitally) and find some solace in all that I am doing. Yesterday was a tough day. Today I’m over it and I’m being flooded with good news. For this, I am grateful.

I am so glad that I have this forum to express myself and sort out my thoughts in a #pandemicreflection kind of day. I sit in my bedroom/office/dining room to reflect. I was even DM’d tonight from some who was from the Sunshine Coast but are coming to Prince George for the Deans Roundtable. They reached out to me to say hello and introduce themselves. I said, we should do coffee while they are here. Way too fun.

Blogging for me is not just for reflection but also for gratitude. I am grateful for all those who are in my circle. As much as I hate asking for help, when I do, people help. I appreciate people’s generosity and kindness. I need to remember who my people are and not get too overwhelmed by those who are the “candle blowers.” Brene Brown posted a short video on social media about this. I need to keep my light.

I do have people around me who will keep my candle burning and I will help them as well. The reciprocity of friendship is often overwhelming and humbling to me. I have no words for those who take the time to walk beside me and listen. Their patience and compassion are overwhelming and breathtaking. Just as my friend said to me, FIND YOUR JOY, know what battle you are picking, and be sure to get your way.

One thing I need to overcome is my perception of selfishness. ME TIME is not selfish. Self-care is not selfish. Self-compassion and kindness are not selfish. I am still learning on this journey called life and I am realizing my potential and my WHY. I’m done chasing something that I think others want for me. I’m done trying to be someone else or trying to impress someone else. What I am learning is, I’m enough.

Numbing and Reading

Although I have committed to a weekly blog (during the duration of the pandemic… aka. Seemingly forever) and not committed to a daily blog (not possible because I tried several times and cannot fathom a daily post and feel bad when I can’t do it), I do want to honour those time when I feel inspired to blog. That’s how I blogged before the weekly #pandemicreflections and worked well (from my point of view). You’re welcome. A run-on sentence to introduce today’s blog. Numbing and reading.

Is this imposter syndrome? Mmm… I don’t think so. I think it’s about mindset, efficacy, and vulnerability. I have admit, I am deeply influenced by other people’s opinions but have been spending much of my time during the pandemic trying to unravel what’s important to me and why. And while I’m doing this, I am modelling for my daughter. I will admit this has been a challenging time for me to find my strength and I want to be visible with this journey without feeling shame or worry about what others think.

I’ve been spending time observing myself over the last week or so and perplexed by my behaviour. How I am behaving feels almost involuntary or unconscious, but what I believe I am wrestling are my own daemons or perceived obstacles or barriers. I’m still thinking about the weekend I was in Vancouver and how I am feeling now. I’m at a crossroad and have to make a decision. Unfortunately, I am avoiding it instead.

My behaviour has been uncontrollable. I can’t seem to find solace and I’m not doing anything… literally nothing… a form of avoidance and numbing. There is a part of me that cannot believe that I am where I am and achieved what I have. There is another part of me that wants to keep moving forward but feel tethered by my own thoughts and beliefs that question what I am doing and builds feelings of shame and regret.

I don’t perceive myself to be a reader but the underpinning of the work I do is reading. Is that the imposter aspect that I am wrestling with? I know deep down inside that my life would have been different if I was a reader. I am envious of those who are readers and can read books with ease, fiction or non-fiction. Me? It’s work. I don’t know if it’s been from my upbringing but reading has always been challenging.

Writing was also a challenge to. I was scared to put my thoughts down “on paper.” I’m not the best had writer, but I am an awesome doodler and thinker. I have to remember that. It took time, practice, and courage to write and blog. I published a couple of papers but still, I’m not convinced. I’m not sure why and what I am trying to prove to myself (or to others). I write this blog post to overcome my self doubt.

As I begin to learn more about myself, I realize that the only person I’m trying to impress is me (and no one else). I need to embrace ME TIME and not feel guilty or that I owe that time to anyone but myself. It’s not selfish. It’s self honouring. For much of my life it felt like I was achieving things to impress others, to get ahead, or to be seen. The truth is, I lost myself in all of that and I am trying to find myself again.

Part of this pedagogical journey I’ve been on (since blogging in 2010) is that I have to address those aspects of myself that I was trying to hide. This mid-life unraveling is challenging me now to face my fears or live life pretending and suffer from shame. I can’t do the latter anymore. My body is telling me so. I look back and I have done this before. I alleviated some pain, but now I realize it should have been something else.

Regret. Sorrow. Pain. These are all teachers. This fear I have for reading is one I have to tackle. Not because my work relies on it, but because this is one learning that I have avoided since I was a child. I had always internalized and identified that I was not a good reader and believed I could get through school without reading. Well, you can’t… but I have always had worries and self consciousness on my ability to read.

I am naming my daemon. I’m done being scared of it and I need to develop this skill. I admire those who read avidly. I want to too, but would rather talk and discuss ideas than read about them. I know that reading will add to my knowledge base and help me to access ideas from others. What I am professing is not a weakness but a stretch. It is something that I am working on and to do so, I have to name what it is first.

What Makes Me Happy

Week 109 – April 15, 2022 – Posting Early (yay me)

I love this image. I’ve been running a series on Twitter with the hashtag #patiopic. The tweets are daily and it gives me a moment to stop and reflect. I also think it’s funny. This tweet series reminds me when I did a Dairy Queen stretch as I drove up from Vancouver to Prince George and documenting all of the $5 meal permutations that I created (and ate) during that road trip. I’ve got to do those things to entertain me, especially during the pandemic, hence this #pandemicreflection blog series.

I have no regrets starting this blog post series during the pandemic. It gave me something to look forward to and be intentional with my thinking and reflections. The blog also helped me to think things through in a meaningful way. There is something magical about the writing process that takes you places where you would not have considered if you left those thoughts ruminating in your mind. It also helped me with my writing and finding my voice to express myself in meaningful ways.

The pandemic is STILL happening as we approach the 6th wave and reduced COVID restrictions and protocols. I can see why we had to do that. Staying isolated in our homes, being policed at restaurants or outings, and living in constant fear was not sustainable. Mental health was strained and watching the news seemed UNREAL. COVID seems like it will be a forever thing and something we have to learn to live with. I was so happy to be with people in the last few weeks. It’s tough to go back.

I started writing this blog post last night. I stopped. My iPad / bluetooth contraption blitzed and the WordPress App closed suddenly. I took it as a sign. I was struggling with what to write in terms of clarity and direction. Today is a new day and I am having no problems. I love that. Listening to myself and honouring what I hear. This act of kindness and respect to self is so integral to my personal/professional learning. First, there is not distinction between professional and personal. It’s just me. Second, I am learning to embrace who I am as a person. Finally, life is good… so enjoy it.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts about looking at my preferences like leadership colours, MBTI, and Enneagram. It’s funny. I’ve test in certain ways and found it hard to believe that this is who I am. Call it denial… call it “I wished I was someone else.” I’ve been doing that my whole life… pretending… and not honouring who I am in fear that no one would like me or accept me for who I am. I was hiding. I think that the last few years has revealed that to me and challenged me to like and accept myself.

Surrendering comes to mind. I had to pull up the white flag and say… you’ve got me. I can’t do this to myself anymore. The self-betrayal and lack of self-trust was leading me down a path that was eroding my spirit and soul. I was losing myself. Today, I have never felt better. The more I read about MBTI and my type ESTJ as well as looking into Enneagram 8 (wing 7)… this is exactly who I am… so embrace it. I got to read further and appreciate that I like personal/professional growth, I like to take leadership roles, and I like systems and solve problems. These are all good things.

Last night I got my apartment all in order and tended to a few loose ends that I’ve been delaying for quite some time and it feels great. Don’t get me wrong… I still have a tonne to do like marking papers and writing papers, but reflecting on last night and all the times before that I’ve done this… the cleaning/organizing ritual foreshadows the big work to come. It’s like I’m getting ready for the big task to come. This is good. Taking the time to clean/organize also represents how I am feeling and I feel good.

Also with this personality typing (which my psychometric friend does not see value in and I can see why from that point of view) is that the darker side of my personality type are also a part of me and it’s good to be aware of it. I first learned about MBTI during my Master degree and learning that I was ESTJ then helped me to understand that I am not ever going to be like my colleague who was the emotive English teacher. It was not in me to do that as the high school math teacher. It does not make me less of a person or teacher. I needed that message then and I needed that message now.

Surrender and Acceptance

Week 108 – April 10, 2022 – Backdating (not cheating)

What can I say? I am a few days late on my weekly blog (aka. Pandemic Reflection). I was somewhat negligent but I was out of town too. I prioritized my needs. I needed connection. I am so grateful that I went to Vancouver to visit my family, mom, and a couple of close friends. I could not have asked for anything more. I needed this.

I was struggling last week and attempted to turn my mindset around, but my visit to Vancouver was integral to my journey and what’s next. What I have learned more than I had anticipated. In many ways, my friends and family serve as a mirror to me. They are truth tellers. They are willing to say what I need to hear and understand.

Part of the surrendering is accepting who I am and the circumstances that I’m in. I don’t want to be hard on myself, but I am accepting of my MBTI and Enneagram. It’s not suppose to be defining, but what it does help me to understand my tendencies, motivation, and preferences. I feel solace. I don’t have to be someone I’m not.

It also helps me to define many of the messages offered to me from my friends and family. Even returning to Prince George, I have mentors who help guide and advise me to do what it best for me. It seems like a big puzzle I am putting together, but today (April 12, 2022), I received a package with one my journals from teacher ed.

After reading the first excerpt of this journal from my long practicum I realized that I have not changed (at least, I sound like myself). Is this the full journey to what is? I feel like I’ve been spending the last few years trying to get back to who I am. Maybe I have arrived? It was fun to read my teacher candidate self as teacher educator.

Reading my journal was a good precursor to the reading that’s ahead of me to mark papers to conclude the Winter 2022 Term. I have reports to write, grades to submit, and papers to write. I have to remember that I love math education. I love systems. I love to lead. Focussing on my strengths reminds me of what I love to do and learn.

As my friend said, “do what brings you joy.” My other friend says, “you are looking for community.” My siblings and I were discussing each of our MBTI’s and celebrating who we are as individuals (and laughing lots). My mentor says, “your CV is bigger than the program.” In the end, I am the only one who creates the path ahead of me.

Pushing My Boundaries

Monday, April 4, 2022 – I have no idea what I am doing except for writing a hat trick of blog posts tonight (when I should be writing an academic paper). Truth. It’s almost like I have to get this thinking/writing out of my system to get to what I really need to be doing. I also feel my sense of self efficacy rise when I can turn my thoughts and feelings around and reflect on what’s important and why it really matters to me. Growth and development requires one to push their boundaries and take risks.

Here is Brad Gushue from Team Canada celebrating with his team last night’s win at the World Men’s Curling Championship. What a game!!! They started the game 0-4 after two ends against Switzerland. It was a stressful game to say the least. The ice was wonky and players were missing some key shots. The team never worried. They stayed patient and continued playing one rock at a time. By the fourth end, they tied the game with a 4-ender. As you can see the score, they took command of the game and won with Switzerland conceding the game after 9-ends of play. #AMAZING

Here some truth about myself. I learn a lot about life, leadership, and human behaviour from the game of curling. I was a rink-rat as a child and started curling when I was 13-years old. I gave away an 8-ender during my first junior bonspiel, skipping my own team; and my grade 12 opponents won a trip to Hawaii. Yes. This is a true story and they brought back souvenirs for me from their trip. By grade 12, I became a provincial champion and runner up with my team. Anything is possible.

What I learned about last night’s curling game was to never give up and trust in your abilities and team. Be consistent. Take one rock at a time. Each shot matters and it takes the whole team to make each shot. Communication matters. Teamwork matters. A shared vision is key. They all know each other’s abilities and they trust each other and themselves. It was absolutely amazing to see how they turned that game around. I loved their calm disposition, but sheer determination to stay in the game to win.

I am a Gushue fan. I mean, who isn’t? As others were watching the Grammy’s, I was watching this game and I was on the edge of my seat. They way that Brad Gushue strategize and collaborated with his team was spectacular. Each player had strengths. Each player had voice. Each player understood what needed to be done to succeed. This high performance and team dynamics do not happen overnight. They have played hundreds of games together and thrown thousands of rocks. I have to keep this in mind and not dwell on a missed shot. It’s ok. There are other shots to make.

Focus on What’s Good

Monday, April 4, 2022 – Here is my opportunity to turn things around and focus on what’s good. I need to remember the good things… ALWAYS. Strangely, I tend to dwell on one moment when there are so many good things happening around me. For this, I am always grateful. Here is a photo of the teacher candidates and former student of our program leading the learning on holistic teaching, learning, and assessment. We are learning outside and we are in the midst of starting a drumming circle. Inspiring.

What’s inspiring is that this recent alumni wanted to give back to the program. She is sharing her knowledge and expertise as an early teaching professional with these teacher candidates. I can speak of several other teacher candidates/recent graduates who give back to (and represent) the program. I am so grateful for these people and for these moments. I need to remember that when I create space for student voice, it may look and feel different from a lecture or directed instruction about curriculum.

It warms my heart that these teacher candidates can take risks, innovate, and express themselves in wholehearted ways. You can see the love and kindness that comes from this alumni’s work and presentation. I am inspired and awestruck by the leadership and willingness to give back to a program that helped them to become who they are. It’s moments like these that I need to hold onto. The hello in the hallway, distributing handouts, and the warm smile. All of these moments are cherished and celebrated.

When I am doing the tough work during my pandemic reflections, it’s not to get down on myself (although it may seem that way at the time), but to sense make with myself with reflection, contemplation, and action towards my next steps. I will push against the boundaries and I may not make many friends along the way. That’s ok. It happens like that in math… LOL. But in the end, it’s what the student had learned that matters. I can see that and in the end, that is at the heart of what I do. My why. My purpose.