The Move is Complete

Week 72 – July 28, 2021 – Starting All Over Again

Today was the first day I’ve had a good night’s sleep. I really needed it. It was an amazing feeling to wake up in my own bed, at my own place, with everything in its place. Gawd. I don’t like moving and I don’t like driving a U-Haul truck even more. I did not think I could do it, but did. Here’s a photo of being the LAST vehicle on the 730am ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale. First of all, I missed the last ferry the night before because for some reason I thought I could drive from Hope to Horseshoe Bay in 1.5 hours in this beast. That decision is called denial. I was slow going to Quesnel from Prince George. I was slow from Ashcroft to Merritt. And, I was slow on Hwy 5 and it was getting dark. Are you sensing a theme? I missed the ferry by 10 minutes.

The beast and I were trapped between the iron gates and plastic pylons. We made a U-turn and headed back to Burnaby where I slept at my brother’s place for a few hours. I left promptly at 5am to avoid traffic and get gas. It was also a Friday, which meant “ferry traffic.” At 6am, I bought my ticket and was told that I already missed the ferry. Crazy, but it’s true. COVID-19 rules are loosening and people are travelling. So, making the ferry as the last vehicle was an AWESOME ferry experience, but also a beautiful metaphor as to how the move went. Lots of uncertainty, problem solving, and pivoting. In the end, all of the pieces landed in the right place. I packed up the truck in 2-days, found a mover in Prince George, and my twin brother drove most of the way to Prince George. Thank goodness because I had only one hour of sleep.

We had a good time on the trip up and fun exploring Prince George after the truck was unloaded and the beast was returned. We visited local restaurants en route and in Prince George. I learned that I really enjoyed maple lattes and that my introverted twin brother was a lot more adventurous than me. I’m the extroverted conservative one. He was always supportive and reassuring. I appreciated his curiosity and creativity. We had a tonne of fun and I loved his “planning” perspective on Prince George. It was insightful and informative. All of my friends have been supportive and I need that as I venture forward with next steps. I am starting all over again. The move is finally complete. It only took me three years, but I look forward to what’s next.

July 29, 2021 – Lessons that I have learned from driving a U-Haul.

  1. I can drive this beast (even though I did not want to).
  2. Expertise is developed over time with deliberate practice.
  3. Walk through the fear with full trust and belief in myself.
  4. This experience is a metaphor of my research and career.
  5. Be willing to ask for and accept help from others.
  6. I am safe, able, and open to learn from my own experiences.
  7. I can rely on my brother (and family) for help and support.
  8. I can be alone with my thoughts for long periods of time.

Understanding Place

Week 71 – Monday, July 19, 2021 – Saskatoon Berries

I’ve been contemplating the daily blog, as I have attempted before, inspired by a couple of colleagues on Twitter who do this wholeheartedly, particularly during the school year. I need to commit to a daily practice of writing, even though this may not be the type of writing that I need to be doing. I think it’s about practice and developing skills. It’s been a whirlwind to come to a place in midlife to realize that I am starting all over again. I am at the beginning and this is a scary place. You spend most of your life building an expertise and thinking that you have something to profess, when really you take your first step in that direction to realize that you are a novice or beginner at best. This is humbling, but also refreshing. I can start again.

I can rediscover what’s important to me and why. I’ve been grappling with my values and what’s important to me for the last 18-months in my pandemic reflections and I am wondering if anything has changed. My kid is my first priority. Student learning and their experiences are very important to me. Professional learning is central to my being as a learner and practitioner. I think that is my top 3 of “what’s important to me.” I start thinking about myself and my needs. What about me? I’ve been wrestling with my next steps and wonder about research and it’s importance to me. Research is a new landscape to me. The rules are different, but familiar. My role, how I see myself, and how I show up would be different. A person, colleague, and mentor said to me that research is not work, but something for myself. What I am researching is something I am passionate about, it’s important to me, and it’s driven by my why.

According to Simon Sinek, your why does not change. The how and the what might change, but never the why. Wow. I love the writing process. Another friend and colleague shared with me that “writing is thinking.” That could not be more true. I’m experiencing that right now. Although the landscape has changed, I have prior knowledge and experiences that can help me to adapt, learn, and adjust. My friend took me out to walk around their neigbourhood so that I could find new happy places to be in my new community. I’ve been a coastal girl my whole life and now I live in the central interior where there are 4 clear seasons, more snow and mosquitos I can handle, and the land is surrounded by rivers, not the ocean. Yet, we picked Saskatoon berries (not salmon berries, like we do on the coast), we walked along the river (which had beach sand to my surprise), and we had coffee and something yummy to eat at the local campsite (because nothing beats a double espresso). To my delight along the walk, my friend mentioned that the local hall used to be a curling rink. DAMN.

Here we go… CONNECTION. I was so excited to learn about this local two-sheet rink. What I am learning is, even though I am living in a different place, there are many things that are familiar to me, but also new to me. I can find things that are close to my heart that resonates with me deeply. I feel the same about research. The last few years has been a treacherous journey to move from practitioner to researcher. I am a novice and I can see what I need to do now. I am at the beginning. That said, I am reassured that pursuing a life of research is for me. It’s not selfish, but more about an opportunity to realize my vocation, my why, and my passion in education. Research aligns to my why and it’s ok to be engaged in healthy striving. This is the work. As I make decisions that are more attuned to who I am and what I want to do, the more I am beginning to understand my place. I am excited to see what happens next.

Customer Service

Week 70 – July 18, 2021 – How do you make people feel

I had an incredible experience dropping off my winter tires at the car dealership. I am moving (again) back to Prince George, post-pandemic, in preparation of returning back to in person teaching in the fall at the university. This transition back into “regular life” is emergent, chaotic, and uncertain to say the least. I tried coming up to Prince George twice from the Sunshine Coast, but my engine emissions light flashed on during my first attempt. My car was loaded with books, so I returned back on the ferry to unload and reload my car with my winter tires and a few lighter things. I wanted to leave that day, which was Sunday, to avoid traffic, but the engine light persisted. Thank you Google and a second ferry trip, I returned back to the Coast and made a car appointment for Wednesday, the first one I was able to make.

My trip was postponed and I was making plans on getting a moving truck from Prince George and packing what I could while I waited. Damn. I am self-declaring myself a hoarder. I have stuff in my office from the early 90’s and rejection letters from summer jobs I applied to as a university student. I had my high school report cards and lots of “keepsakes” from my kid and my past experiences. I even found a book signed by my former teacher sponsor from practicum and by the students in her class. I didn’t even realize until now that I had a keepsake from my teacher education experience. If anything, this moving process is helping me to see myself in a different way and to see what I value, what I need to pay more attention to, and to me more present or intentional with my actions. Also, the extra few days gave me a chance to reconnect with a couple of my good friends on the Coast. I value our friendship, the conversations, and the walks that we go on in the forest and along the ocean.

I also had some time to spend with dog, Sally. She was not doing well for a year. We were very aware of her condition and never knew when she would pass away. She was the best dog ever. Never complained. Always a lady. You can see her in this photo above on a car ride with me and the kid. She just loved them. Such a happy dog. She was with us for 15-year. I remember the first day we got her. I loved her so much. I loved her energy, disposition, and kindness. I loved just picking her up, giving her a big hug, and kissing her all over. I loved our routines of a morning treat, lying by the fireplace, and going for walks. I have many good memories of her. It makes me sad that she passed away on Wednesday. I was in Vancouver getting my car fixed. I received the call while in the ferry line up returning home. She passed away. Everyone was out of the house and she was lying peacefully. She said her goodbyes the night before and during the day. She was such a good dog. Missing her.

Ok… back on topic… which I am… sort of.

I thought the engine light was a bit in my head because I brought my car in a week before in preparation for my departure and did a tonne of repairs then. It turned out that the sensor needed repairing. The service department did a fantastic job on my car (both times) and have nothing to complain about the quality of work on my car. But, the service department person didn’t believe my story about my engine light. He even took my key to check if the engine light was on. He did not believe me that I said it was on and off. That morning, the light was off. And yes, he returned from my car to let me know that the engine light was indeed off and informed me that investigating this perceived problem would cost $100. I said yes… do it. I could not risk it.

That experience was odd and then to find out that there was a problem, I was a bit annoyed. I am glad the work was done and done well but I’m left with a feeling that made me blog about it. Now, in Prince George, as mentioned earlier, I had to bring my car to the dealership to store my winter tires. I had the service department contact me about what the service appointment was about and when I arrived, everyone was happy, enthusiastic, and encouraging. It was a Friday afternoon. Their positive disposition took me aback, but also inspired me to blog about it as well. At first, I felt like I was a walking rain cloud, but really, I was left with a feeling… that anything is possible, I am important, and they were willing to help me out.

I think about this experience and education. We can be technically sound, but how do we leave people feeling? This is an important question and one I have grappled with for a few years. I wonder about customer service and quality of work. We can have both, but in the end, it’s how we left the customer feeling. In education, it’s the learner. I am also left with Brene Brown’s work and thinking about the work we each have to do in order to provide that experience for learners. It’s a big journey and often feel that it is transforming over time. We need to be patient with ourselves, believe in what we are doing, and know our purpose (or why) and how it is interconnected a bigger why. I appreciated the intentionality and hope that was provided at customer service (and hope that my tires are stored in a good way).

Thank you for this lesson.

A Better Day

Week 69 – July 9, 2021 – Lessons Learned from Golf

I’ve learned a lot about leadership, teamwork, and communication from curling. I spent many years on the ice, playing the game recreationally and competitively as an adolescent and young adult. I stopped playing for many years, because of my work and my kid. I played once in a while, but never returned back fully committed. I cannot wait to get back into curling when I move to Prince George on a permanent basis. It’s a great place to meet people, but also engage in a sport that involves strategy, technique, and finesse. I’ve always thought I must have been a farmer from the prairies in a past life. I love to curl, but also enjoy a round of golf. There is something I like about these sports (i.e. no contact and there is nothing flying at my face). All good things.

Lately, I’ve returned back to golf. I am pulling out my clubs from the attic, realizing some clubs are missing and I have no idea where they are. It’s been about 20 years since I’ve golfed, with exception to one school district scramble event about 10 years ago. I wasn’t too serious about golf as I am about curling, but I enjoy the sport for similar reasons. I love the technical aspect of the sport. I love the social nature of the sport. And, I love the easy pace of the sport. Those are three easy check marks for me, but my family claims I’m a bit competitive too. I don’t see that, per se, but I always want to know the score by the end of the day. Isn’t that the point of the whole game?

My dad, twin brother, and older sister will often play pitch and putt in Burnaby, near my dad’s place. I would often watch my phone blow up at least once a week while they would text each other to finalize plans to meet and set up a tee time. I am on the Sunshine Coast and catching the ferry and COVID-19 restrictions gave me little motivation to catch the first ferry to play. However, in the last couple of weeks, restrictions are easing and I’ve been out to the Lower Mainland to visit my family for Father’s Day, my mom’s birthday, and to fix my car. We went golfing on Father’s Day. We only played 12-holes because we had a lunch reservation at the other golf course. I borrowed a few clubs from my dad. Gotta love muscle memory… I placed second.

What a head game… Golf is more like an opportunity to challenge and tame your ego. It’s so easy to listen to others and get inside your own head. What I had to figure out was how to compete with myself and everything else is feedback. The beauty of feedback is that you have a choice of either taking it or leaving it. If you take it, what are you going to do about it. If you leave it, you have to let it go. Golf provides clear feedback. When you figure out a way not to listen to your siblings and not to take things too seriously or personally, your ball and the score tells you how you are doing. There is no disputing it. It’s all in the data… aka. your score. Much like curling, you have to approach each stroke one at a time. You have to trust in the game and your overall score. Don’t focus on the win. Focus on the nuances of the now.

Admittedly, I was surprised to be in second place amongst the four of us for our 12-hole game. It’s been so long since I’ve been out and the first few holes (and possibly more), I was way too in my head, getting frustrated, and worried about what others thought of me or my performance. I spent a good chunk of that game trying to navigate around my ego to really focus on the task at hand and not to worry about the big picture because what I was doing at that moment, whether a putt or a pitch, it was all contributing to a bigger outcome. The return to the game became more about TRUST in the game, my abilities, and myself in order to succeed. I also had to focus on not throwing my club. That was important too. Another exercise in letting go. Ugh.

Well, I returned back to the course for a second time. The photo is an image of my ball hitting the green on my first shot. It was glorious. Take a photo, to then follow up my first stroke with 4 putts. Gah. Five strokes for this par 3. What the heck. A quick and friendly reminder of what golf was trying to teach me. One stroke at a time. Every stroke counts. Don’t take anything for granted. I took the feedback soon after the first hole and I was focused on my putting game. I needed a firm putt. I was always tentative, worried that I would miss the hole. In the end, I would always be short. I had a few double bogeys during this game, but I continued to focus on my putting game. It got better as the game progressed. A firm putt, with confidence in speed and aim. I was getting in the hole more often than not. I was pretty proud of myself.

My game is not perfect, but it is definitely improving. I started to just focus on each shot and accepted where my ball had landed after each stroke. That’s all I can do… and do my best with each shot. I did par a few holes. I don’t want to focus on the bogeys and double bogeys. I was also focused on not comparing and not shaming or blaming. I was embracing BrenĂ© Brown during this game and my skills at it were getting better with each hole. We completed the full 18-holes before going for lunch and I was pretty sure I had the highest score and placed fourth. Nope. I came second again to my brother. Two strokes behind. Can you only imagine if I didn’t 4-putt some holes? Gah. Nonetheless, I was very happy with my overall performance. #nexttime

Joy and Jam

Week 68 – July 4, 2021 – Or is it “Jam and Joy”?

I was always fascinated by those who were vendors at Circle Craft, the huge craft fair in Vancouver. I loved going to each vendor to ask them about their product and the story behind the product. I loved their passion and commitment to their craft. I was always astounded by the detail and the love behind their work and what drives them to keep moving forward. I had always believed that my “jam” was other people’s jam.

What I am beginning to understand is, I think I was more jealous or envious of their jam. I could see the joy that their craft would give them and the intrinsic value they found in doing it. As an outsider, I could not understand their craft at face value (i.e. organic dog treats, hand painted silk scarves, or homemade soaps). I loved tasting different foods and appreciated the art and jewelry. I wanted what they had.

In the end, I am left with two questions: What is my jam? What brings me joy? Of course, I love my kid. She challenges me, humbles me, and takes care of me. She is number one on my priority list. I love to teach. I enjoyed teaching math, but also I enjoy educational leadership and governance. What I am learning is, joy comes from within. I create my jam from what brings me joy and in return, making jam is joyful.

Yes, I went cryptic there. I am learning that what I observe around me is a reflection of what’s within. I’ve been in a state of transition and reflection. I have boxes packed, I have a one month timeline, and I have to figure out my next steps on my pedagogical journey. Finally, I have carved out some intentional time to make sense of what is, reflect on the wise words of mentors, and come to terms with what makes me happy.

Another beautiful thing about friends and feelings is, they will reflect what’s from within. Now I’m paying attention. I am not suppose to be anyone else by myself. One of my friends pointed out to me what brings me joy and another friend belittled the same thing that brought me joy. I could feel and notice how I was feeling. They both point in the same direction. Now, I am working on next steps and it’s making sense.

I love Brene Brown’s work. I need to belong to myself, be seen, and find the courage to be vulnerable. Taking the time today to reflect, do the work, and be honest with myself with what I am observing, feeling, and experiencing has been a gift. Lot’s of aha’s and I am one step closer. I know what my jam is, but I need a moment to clarify and return back to my strengths, my why, and my passion. I am super stoked.

Time to Be Seen

Week 67 – June 26, 2021 – Truth Telling and Transformation

It’s bloody hot out there and I’m inside packing boxes. I have so much to do and in the midst of transformation. Gawd. There is one side of me that demands for change and another side of me that resists it. End result is shear paralysis and time flies by. Change is on the horizon. It’s time to reassess my mindset, my priorities, and my time. Many of the photos I am taking of place are brief moments of gratitude and goodbye. I have to get use to the idea of moving and becoming my own person.

I am spending a tonne of time during the pandemic really thinking about what’s important to me and I am faced with that question again. After 215 unmarked graves were found near a Kamloops residential school, then 751 near a Saskatchewan Residential School, I am numb, angry, and not surprised. This is part of Canada’s history that has been kept a secret within my lifetime. It’s horrifying, disheartening, and disillusioning as I unpack my ethic identity as a Chinese-Canadian. It’s very dark.

My gut instinct is to hide. That’s how I felt when George Floyd was killed last year. All of those feelings of fear and fitting in because of racist acts scare me to my deepest core. I’ve experienced lateral violence and micro-aggressions as a child and adult. You learn how to behave to survive. I did this as a person who looks Chinese, but have no Chinese language, culture, or beliefs. I’ve been successfully “Canadianized” or assimilated, but this does not protect me from anti-Asian racist behaviour or hate.

I can only imagine what Indigenous and black people feel or experience. The genocide and attempt to erase Indigenous culture and people in Canada are horrendous and the Indian Act continues to exist and persist because I think they can’t afford to get rid of it. Privilege, power over, and fitting in are hurtful and persistent acts that I am guilty of as a Canadianized Chinese Settler, but also have fallen victim to. I know that my problems are #firstworldChristineproblems but I have a role to play now in Canada’s history and current existence. I can’t hide anymore.

I am no longer safe. I don’t want to “fit in” and this is not the time to do that anymore. Most of my life was led in a particular way, much to live up to other people’s expectations with hopes of being accepted. As a result, I lost my sense of self. My WHY has always been inside of me. I don’t think that ever changes. But I’ve spent most of my life suppressing it, pretending, and hiding. I could never show my “true self.” I never felt safe. I think about my anger and frustration and wonder about what core values are being triggered and why. In the end, my power comes from within.

I create the change I want to see. I get that now. The locus of control, how I perceive things, and how I choose to act comes from me. That’s how change occurs. Part of that change will be SURRENDERING, listening, and walking through the fear. “It’s not about me.” I have to remember that. There is no shame or blame. My anger and frustration protect me. Emotionally distancing myself from others keeps me safe. TRUST and self-efficacy are areas of growth for me, and what I see mirrors back.

There is no time to ponder. It’s time to act. I’m scared but it’s time to be seen. I’ve changed my trajectory in life and pedagogical journey several times. I think that I was running away instead of standing still and digging in. As Brene Brown says in Braving the Wilderness, you have to keep your back strong and your front soft. I will try.

Finding Solace

Week 66 – June 14, 2021 – Everyday is a NEW Day

I will admit… some days are harder than others. Today was a tough day for me. I am not sure exactly what was weighing me down. I’d suspect a few things… some are personal, some professional. Slowly but surely I had to stop and take a moment. I cried. Not my jam, but I had to feel my way through it today to unpack and deeply understand what was going on for me. I know that I am in a state of transformation. It’s not easy. I see this in my teacher candidates, especially when they go through practicum. Something in the experience is transformational. All of a sudden they enter the program as students and exit the program as learners/educators.

This weekend I am feeling the shift. I am turning a corner. My job right now is to allow and surrender. Instead I am finding myself resisting, hiding, and protecting myself from the possibilities. I see this behaviour in my candidates as well. When this happens, transformation cannot occur. Practicum becomes challenging and sometimes candidates are unsuccessful. It’s heart wrenching, but there is something to say about readiness, willingness, and vulnerability. I’m not about to shame myself, but I needed a moment today to let go… to wonder… and to feel. I was overwhelmed by grief today. My kid was not happy with me because she could see I was feeling sad.

I could not figure it out. On the weekend, it was pretty clear to me I reached my limit. I need to turn the page. I struggle to find the energy and do all the things I want to do. I look for guidance. I look for help. I am so grateful to have people I can lean on. TRUST does not come easy to me. It scares me. I think today I experienced a “vulnerability hangover.” Brene Brown speaks to this in one of her TEDx talks. The feelings were ugly and you cannot go back in time. I extended myself, but remained guarded. A strange combination. I was uneasy but wanted to take the leap. I felt disconnected when my deepest desire was to connect. Anyway, I’m over it now and found solace.

The power of time and reflection… as I am left thinking about the day. Gawd. I never felt this sadness before. I needed to sit in these feelings so that I can move forward. I start delving into self-doubt, I second guess, and then question my worthiness. It’s an awful feeling when you have other people telling you differently. I took the time and space to be with my sadness, my heartache, and my heavy feelings to put the pieces together to make sense of what I was experiencing and witnessing. This is where I found solace. All of a sudden I felt joy again and happiness. I was able to laugh and giggle. I can lift myself up again and TRUST in who I am, my values, and my integrity.

I needed to get here. No more hiding. No more judging. No more protecting. I can’ t do that anymore. I have to be who I am, believe in what I am doing, and keep persisting when no one seems to understand or hear what I am saying. What I do is not for me. My self interest is student learning and creating spaces that honours equity and diversity. It’s ok if people don’t hear or understand me the first time. Keep moving. Persist. Follow your passion. Today was a tough listening day for me… but as I reflect, I recall the stories shared with me that reminded me of MY WHY and my mantra of “Anything is possible.” I have to believe it’s possible and believe in myself.

Deepest gratitude to the people in my life who hold me up. I would not be here or who I am without you. You inspire me. I hope, one day, I can do the same for you.

Finding Time for Me

Week 65 – June 11, 2021 – Valuing Self

Nothing will change until I do something different. Profound, I know. LOL. But damn… habits of the mind, body, and soul are so challenging to change unless you can afford the time and effort enough to care to make the change. Hence, here is the obstacle. I need to value myself and my dreams, goals, and ambitions. I also have to believe that it’s possible. I spend so much time on the day to day, that I forget about what I need and want to do. I’m in the service of others, but what about me? I’m losing myself in this equation called life and I can’t do this anymore. I know that I’m beginning to sound melodramatic, but when my kid, my friends, and my family say… get on with it… I get spooked. I’ve never experienced so much “brand new territory” and so late in my life. I’m beginning to believe that 50 is the new 30. I am ready for a new beginning.

I am taking night walks, going to bed at a somewhat decent hour, and gratitude journalling everyday. I am enjoying place and the company of my kid. I love being with friends and I hope to connect with my family soon as the COVID numbers decline and we are all vaccinated. I am appreciating the little things and excited to move to Prince George with my kid. Admittedly, I am a little overwhelmed by what’s required to move my stuff and as I continue to work, I have very little time to contemplate how to move my stuff and what I need to do to close this door behind me and move forward to what’s possible. I am excited about that, but when my friend tonight says… “just be open and say yes”… I get spooked. OK. I’m starting to see a pattern. As much as I need to be vulnerable and courageous… I am a bit skeptical.

When will I put myself first? I am struggling right now with identity, my sense of self worth, and next steps to change my trajectory. I know what to do now, but I do need to change my habits and be open. GAH. It’s so much “safer” to hide and not be seen. I don’t think I want to be hurt again, but I also think that’s part of the journey. I keep replaying this image in my mind of me getting knocked down and I reach out my hand for help and someone grabs it and lifts me up. It happens everyday in my life. I am so lucky to have people in my life from past and present who lift me up. When I get knocked me down and I have people to lift me up again, they are not only helping me to get back up, but they believe that I’m worth lifting up. I need to remember that.

Part of valuing myself is finding time for myself. Honouring my ME TIME is so important and I just don’t know how. Servicing others seems more natural to me. Time for myself seems selfish, but really… I have to value myself to understand that taking time for myself is not being selfish, but necessary to thrive. I will try again tomorrow. That’s all I can do. Admittedly, I am distracted by the details, but really… all I have to do is jump in, commit, be open, allow, and find the joy in the act of doing. We are back to the wise words of Alasdair McIntyre and the goods internal… I must engage in the practice and achieve excellence to experience the goods internal.

Connection and Reconnection

Week 64 – June 6, 2021 – Visit to Prince George

What a whirlwind. On May 30th, I drove up to Prince George to start the moving process and to visit teacher candidates on Week 3 (of 4) of EDUC 490 practicum. Due to the pandemic, I have not met the teacher candidates face to face this school year because universities continued with remote learning and the housing market boomed everywhere in BC, I needed to assess my apartment to see how viable it would be to have my daughter live with me. I had boxes in my car (some of which returned back to Sechelt with me because I could not get to them). It was a full week in Prince George CONNECTING AND RECONNECTING with teacher candidates, colleagues, and friends. For an extrovert in COVID-19, I filled my cup in many ways.

The crazy part was, I started my week presenting at CSSE 2021 with OTESSA 2021. When I arrived in my apartment, my first course of action, aside from making dinner with food that I hoarded at the beginning of the pandemic over a year ago (i.e. pasta and sauce) and throwing away every item in my freezer because everything was freezer burned, I prepared for my presentation on e-portfolios, identity, and teacher education. I was added to the program on short notice and I was able to stay up late to create my presentation. My presentation was scheduled for Monday morning and it went really well. It was a wonderful boost to my sense of efficacy to be an academic and that I have something worth sharing. Presenting to others is great feedback.

Moving boxes in between and removing 2-years of recycling from apartment, I connected with school principals via email to let them know I would be visiting schools to meet teacher candidates. Week 3 is a great time to visit because they are just getting their groove as teachers in the classroom. I started my visits with those placed at an independent school. I got to say a quick hello to one candidate and briefly observed another. It was a good start to my journey. The next day, I toured a couple of schools with a district staff member. It was good to connect and build our relationship between the university and school district. The first school we visited was Nusdeh Yoh. The day started with drumming and singing with students about the salmon and we ended circle being smudged to start the day in a good way.

We toured Nusdeh Yoh with the school principal to learn more about the school and how Indigenous culture is embedded in the school, curriculum, and way of being. I was inspired by what I saw and the experience was reminiscent of being a school trustee. We looked at art, met teachers and students, and I was so pleased to meet and briefly observe the teacher candidate placed in this school. We then headed to the largest high school in Prince George. Five teacher candidates are placed there and I had to chance to speak to all of them to see how things were going. We stopped for lunch, then I visited two elementary schools independently. I had the chance to speak to teacher candidates and coaching teachers to assess how things are going.

The following day, I visited the remaining schools in Prince George where teacher candidates were placed. I started in Beaverly at an elementary school and ended in the Hart at a secondary school. The visits varied from hellos, brief conversations, to edu-stalking moments (because they were being formally observed and teaching). I had a good sense of how things were going in practicum from the perspective of the teacher candidate, coaching teacher, and school principal. I got a healthy dose of feedback, of which I will bring back to the university, and I finally had a chance to meet most of my teacher candidates face to face (two of which I met at Starbucks on my way out of Prince George in Quesnel). The remaining few, I connected with email.

It felt so good to meet the teacher candidates. In other times during my visit, I reconnected with friends and colleagues in Prince George. It’s a good problem to have when you did not have enough time to see everyone you wanted to see within the week. I think I may have over done it at times with wine and possibly overstaying my welcome. LOL. The strength of Prince George are the people. There were no down times and even one student from my math teaching days reached out to me to say hello because they saw my name and number at the school check in. This person was Grad 2000. When you think about it, that was 21 years ago… makes you think about the importance of connection, relationships, and making an impact on learners and student learning. A powerful way to end my visit to Prince George. Thank you.

Surrender

Week 63 – May 28, 2021 – End of the Month

How horrible… It thought I wrote out this blog post… and well, it turned out I didn’t (but I’m pretty sure I did). Now those thoughts have vanished. How appropriate that I had titled this blog, SURRENDER. That’s what I am doing right now as I am frantically writing my thoughts about this week (and super behind on writing next week’s blog post). I’m pretty sure that my last blog post was brilliant… but apparently, it’s gone.

There is a high level of bewilderment and utter awe on what the heck happened to my blog post. Anyway, to keep this post succinct and to the point, I realized (a couple of weeks ago) that I have to SURRENDER. What am I holding on to? Why is it so important? Who is benefitting from the work that I feel that I am putting forward. I was beginning to question my motives and purpose. I could not do it anymore.

I look at what I had written (now deleted) and can see that my mind has shifted since. I was riddled by self-doubt with feelings of betrayal. Huge, I know. And then I realized that what I was doing was not serving me. I know at some level that sounds selfish, but on the other hand, you cannot lose sight of who you are and acknowledge that your work should feed into your why. ALIGNMENT. Somehow I got it wrong.

Everything that I was doing was serving others, but was not directly aligned to my WHY. I shied away from it. I believed I was wrong or not worthy of doing things for myself. It did not seem like team-like behaviour. I recall making decisions “for the team” and put my needs and priorities to the side with hopes of service benefiting the team. I’ve done that several times and what I am realizing is, there is no benefit.

Sounds dramatic, I know, but I had this all wrong. What is valued and what I was doing were not aligned. I questioned myself. What was I doing? Was I willing to compromise my values? Did I get it wrong from the beginning? SURRENDERING has helped me to LET GO. When I share ideas, I don’t have to expect a warm reception as long as I am aligned to my WHY. My main objective is to keep the agenda moving.

What I am learning is, everything that I have done so far has got me to where I am. I realize now that some of those decisions were not “the right” decisions, but it seemed right at the time. I am understanding the CRITERIA now, in a much deeper way that I have to be able to carve out time for myself. What I have also realized is, I wanted the TEAM so badly, but the team did not exist. Maybe I was in denial, this is not my team.

Listening to Brene Brown and Simon Sinek on the Dare to Lead podcast, I realize that I have people on my team and I may not know who they are, but they are there to help me rise. Right now, I am part of a group and those on my team are not part of this group. I have some incredible mentors and friends in the field that I need to focus on those connections and know that these amazing people are on my team.

I am so grateful to my team. but also to my group. I had to let go of what I wanted and how things should be (or at least how I wanted to be) and SURRENDER to what is. What I stopped to take a clear look around, I am surrounded by people who love me and what to see the best for me. It’s not just one person, but there are quite a few. How lucky am I? Now I can see them. I am so happy that these people are in my life.