Becoming Resilient

Week 151 – February 3, 2023 – Cleaning the Fridge Game

Oh my… the photos are uploading and pages updating. Woohoo!!! Patience. The error messages incurred last week was due to “too many requests” and the best remedy was to wait. Ugh. As difficult as it was to wait and be patient, over time… it worked!!! A good lesson to learn. Sometimes stepping back and allowing time to do it’s work means that TRUSTING the system, the universe, or myself. All will work itself out.

Here I am. Blogging with no barriers. I was so close to just scrapping this portfolio and blog and leaving it as digital debris in cyberspace. As it turns out, I’m back!!! I’m not sad and now I know… don’t ask for too much at one time. The system just says NO and stops working. Admittedly, I was alarmed when trying to publish and wanting to update some of my webpages, but I just had to wait, stand back, and be calm. LOL.

Yes. The photo chosen for this blog post is two pieces of toast (i.e., the end pieces), the last bits of cucumber, and the last remains of sprouts in the plastic container. What you see is my Friday Brunch. It was pretty good. And, food is being consumed in my home without throwing it away or feeling like there’s nothing to eat and it sucks. I guess this is where the saying of “making lemonade out of lemons” now resonates.

January was brutal. After taking the time to REST during the winter week and going full blast to start the new year in my classes, I’m a bit spent. The workload lightens up and I am happy that it’s February. I’m even happy that it’s Friday. No meetings or classes today. I’m not sure how that happened (not knowing if I missed anything) but it feels good to have a good night’s sleep, homemade meals, and doing some work.

Hence the blog. I thought, why not? I am also learning how to build up a tough skin. I am reminded by Brené Brown and her saying of “strong back, soft front.” I love that imagery and I am trying. It’s not in my nature as an Enneagram 8 but I am aware of it’s benefits. I just needed to taper from my weeks before and a little bit this week too. I finished my PAR (professional activity report) and got some tough news. I’m ok.

What I am learning is, I can only be myself. That’s all I have. Who I show with other and how I am with others, I can only be me. In past, I used to put a lot of weight on what people thought of me (both in the good and the bad). Why? My value is not tied into what others think of me. What matters most is, what I think about myself. Can I live my actions, my thoughts, or my values? That’s what matters. I understand that.

Sometimes it’s so easy to get off balance. This week was one of those weeks. Nothing dramatic, but I found myself caught into those feelings of worrying about what other people think. First, I never want to hurt anyone. Second, I want to inspire others to create change. Finally, I want to feel good about the work that I do. This week I had a moment of vulnerability. It shook me, but I can’t control what others think or do.

Feeling rested has helped me to be ok with this week and be able to let it go. I learned a tonne from my PAR and I can see personal growth. I’m pleased with that and I can see my potential. That’s exciting. I can’t compare myself with others, but I can learn from them. Mentoring can be critical with next steps and I am willing to reach out. I am in a much better place and I can be patient of myself. I just need a little time.

Starting Again and Again

Week 150 – January 28, 2023 – WordPress is quirky

No photo this week. I don’t know why but know that I’ve tried. Truth… I’m glad that this blog post published but honestly it was more luck than any predictable outcome. Idk. I updated my phone and iPad. I’m limited to and dependent on my WordPress app. Let’s see how this lasts but Happy 150th week of the COVID-19 pandemic. The weekly #pandemicreflections persist. Lucky you!!! I feel like this will end soon, but it might be due the end of the pandemic or end of my functional use of WordPress. Time will tell. TBD.

Here’s another weird element of this blog post. I’m blogging on my phone. I could not afford to wait but maybe I should check to see if my Bluetooth keyboard works on my phone. Ok… thinking in real time. I’ll let you know. Give me a moment. ((A moment passes by…)) Voilà. Here we go. It works. Knowing that I am able to use this keyboard that I bought many years ago for my mini-iPad from a long time ago (that no longer works) continues to work with my current devices… and more. HUH. I’m impressed. Not knowing, but hey…. A worthwhile purchase. #brilliant

I will say, it is so much easier to blog using QWERTY versus with my thumb. I lose patience, really. I’m also impressed that this skill of typing has stayed with me since high school and that was a LONG TIME AGO. I’m so glad I am able to type (using letters only… because I dropped the course half-way through). Who knew? Not me. I guess this experience of blogging and my Bluetooth keyboard tells me, you don’t know what you don’t know. It was like talking to my friends about “setting goals.” Dang. After that conversation, I am convinced that setting goals is futile and impossible. That news kind of freaked me out. I see her point.

So, what’s the point of this blog post? I’m figuring that I should be writing very important or profound stuff if my access to WordPress will end (at some time… but not sure when) and this digital debris needs to be somewhat interesting or at least… not garbage or embarrassing. Meh. What I am learning is, I am always starting again… and again. Things end and transitions quickly to the new beginning… or in this case trying to edit and add to my WordPress site and failed many times today. In time, pages and posts updated (with exception to uploading a photo). That happened before but then I could, and now I can’t.

Maybe the big idea is to enjoy the moment. Find the joy in the little things. And, you can only control what you can control. Admittedly, I am happy right now. Content. It’s an unusual and blissful feeling. I also learned this week about letting go and speaking my truth. Another lesson is not being too attached to the outcome, but to do your best in the process. One things at a time and I have control over my happiness. I am super happy that I am able to blog tonight and truly hope that the blog post will update/upload. Either way, I am happy because I am me. I can be myself. I connect with the right people at the right time.

Starting again is not a bad thing. There’s no judgement or expectations. It’s just a thing. As much as I love comfort… I also love learning. It’s a balance between the two. Just like today… I love “being a person” day. I love Saturdays. I appreciate and enjoy this ME TIME. I deserve it. No guilt. Just happy. I watched a hockey game tonight. I was with friends on Friday and Saturday. I taught Monday to Thursday. My week is full. And, I live with my kid. Honestly, my life is full. I’m feeling very lucky.

A New Beginning

Week 149 – January 21, 2023 – Chinese New Year Eve

In the photo was a gift that was given to me from my family law lawyer after my divorce was final. You know, I could not even spell divorce correctly until it was actually true (aka., recently). Hmm… that always makes me wonder, but it’s true. I’m “officially” restarting life (again) or going back to who I really was and exploring that path of being true to who I am and trusting that each step I take is good for me.

What I am learning is, I cannot let this event or anything otherwise define me. I am the one that defines who I am. No one else. This lesson has been a tough one to learn. It’s taken me decades. I am starting to blog on another site as I explore a self-study using the Spirals of Inquiry and learn more about Human Development. It’s not to say that I believe that everything is academic, but a framework to help me understand.

I spent most of my life trying to please others or lead my life in a way that I thought was suppose to be led based on the expectations of others. What I am learning is, one’s best life is spent doing what’s best for self in the service of others. Although this can be quite nuanced, it’s a deep understanding that requires one to know self. I have finally given myself space and permission to do so and frankly, it’s bumpy. LOL.

My divorce was official as of January 16, 2023 and even though I’ve been living my life alone for the last few years, I spent that time to figure out who I really am and what’s important to me. The #pandemicreflections (notice: it’s Week 149) and being honest with myself of what’s possible has offered me a solace and peace that I have not had… ever!!! It feels good and I recognize that. It feels good to just be me. 🙂

In celebration of the 2023 Chinese New Year, I am returning back to my maiden name, (Alice) Christine Ho. Yes, my first name is in brackets. As a child, I never liked my name… overall… but I am returning back to who I am (and honouring who I am). My name is “Dr. Christine Ho, Ed.D.” I remember as a kid writing my name out with doctoral credentials, not really know the journey I would take to get here (so far).

I am going to figure out how to change my name back to who I am and discover what it really means to be “Christine Ho” and be proud of who I am. This blog entry may sound ridiculous to some, but this pedagogical journey has been a whirlwind to say the least. Some up moments, some down moments… but truth, they are all learning moments and my job was to notice, wonder, and learn from them. It’s been slow.

Here I am. It’s the “official” start to a new beginning and I am excited, nervous, and open to what’s to come. My first step was to commit to me and my family’s name. My second step is changing my social media (this website included). Next will be legal name, paperwork, and name changes with every… single… legal… document. I’m not looking forward to that, but I am looking forward to everything else. I can do this.

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR 2023. The Year of the Rabbit. #dimsum

Strong Start 2023

Week 148 – January 14, 2023 – It’s 3:30am and Can’t Sleep

It’s only 2-weeks into the new year and it’s been a whirlwind. There are no words to describe the unbalance I have been experiencing but I can only notice this now when I had the joy and privilege of “deliberate rest” over the winter break. It’s very clear to my that I am off-set from my natural homeostasis and the return to work and regular live has tampered with my restful equilibrium and the universe is challenging me.

I went to bed early last night. No curling. Had a Costco dinner with a friend. You’d think I would still be in bed, but I can hear my kid talk to her friends (who I suspect are online) with her full and boisterous voice. I can see now why she gets mad at me when I’m up late and she can’t sleep when I am. The tables have turned. I’m up. To try to go to bed, I watched a few videos of Tik Tok, but to no avail. Might as well blog.

So here I am, with a plate of pork dumplings, in the middle of the night blogging about Week 148 in my #pandemicreflections. It might as well be tomorrow, but I’m within my tiger time to write. The weird part is, I normally stay up to write during my tiger time (i.e., 1-4 am) in a half sleepy state NOT listening to my kid talk to her friends. And, normally the writing would be academic and I would by lying in bed.

I guess those are the details, but I do like writing in the middle of the night. Nothing is happening and my thoughts are very clear. This way of being is nowhere near what Ishi suggests (see image). I gave out Ishi postcards to the Teacher Candidates on Thursday before their first teaching experience learning “in situ” with K-7 students. It was a random selection and I said what they select is what was meant for them.

One of the three cards left over was this one… FIND BALANCE. Oh boy, do I see the irony. I’m nowhere near that when I’m blogging at 3:51 am because I can’t go back to sleep (and I’m dreaming about dim sum). It’s a tough go, but you know that life is good when this is my problem in life. 2023 started strong. Not only was I jumping into work life again, but I was presented with opportunities of standing up and letting go.

I missed a few meetings, I advocated for a student, and I advocated for myself. I asked for advice and invited tough conversations. I fell behind on a few things, stayed up late to meet deadlines, and with every moment attempted to speak my truth, remain authentic to me and others, and noticed when things were going well (or not). Finally, I learned this week that my divorce is in effect as of January 16, 2023. I’ll be single.

Hmm. This weekend will be my last couple of days of being married. As mentioned in my last blog, the entire process took 3.5 years and about $7500 in lawyer fees, and this was an amicable divorce. I cannot imagine what it would be like if people were fighting or not agreeing what was a fair settlement. Geez. And lots has happened in my life over the last few years that I am landing in a new place and I feel great.

I feel like the recent events and conversations over the last two weeks were mini-tests or “formative assessments” to see if I am ready to be on my own. I think I passed. I stayed true to myself and others. I was vulnerable to ask for help. I got help and truly grateful. I remained authentic to my students, colleagues, and practice. And, I know what I want for me and next steps to get there. I’ve been taking care of myself.

Ok. So there are dips and turns on this pedagogical journey… always. And I perceive that the last 2-weeks may have been challenging, or at least, not a smooth or easy start. But what I will say is, I am standing strong. I feel good about who I am. I have clarity with my intentions, goals, and next steps. And, I’m kinder, gentler, and more compassionate with myself and in return with others. I respect and love who I am.

In a way, I can say that I am balancing. Balance is not static. It is in constant motion. The goal is to remain centred and happy. I was just talking to my friend tonight (i.e., last night… lol) and thought, it’s not about looking over there where the grass is green and thinking that life would be better over there. It’s more about looking at where you are and doing what it takes to make the grass green. There is not perfect.

I am feeling balanced and I am able to recognize when I am off balance, but I know who to respect and love myself to get back on balance. For this, I am happy. I am going to enjoy every moment and not resist change or control what is. TRUST. That resonated with me last week and I made 2 perfect curling shots. Immediate feedback. I am thinking about how to celebrate January 16th. A new day, a new chapter.

A Full Moon Week

Week 147 – January 7, 2023 – The Ups and Downs

You can’t write this stuff… meaning… I could not anticipate what the new year would bring. So much has happened within one week that I’m not surprised that the week ended on Friday, January 6, 2023 with a full moon. Whew. I need a moment to unpack some of the ups and downs of the week. And yes, it’s still a #pandemicreflection.

Hello… it’s 2 days later and I have returned to my blog. Woohoo. And, guess what? I am ok with that. I can only do one thing at a time and I am not less of a person. I am still worthy. What a strange thing to say, but that pretty much summarizes my 2022 journey. I learned that I am worthy and I have something of value to contribute.

Admittedly, my first week back to work has been filled with ups and downs. I took the winter break to rest and rejuvenate. I could finally be at a place where I took the time to take care of myself. I was eating better and I started walking again. Now that I’m back at work, my stress is up, I’m not sleeping, and my eating habits have eroded.

I had to catch myself. Thank god I noticed. I was triggered this week and my values were provoked and tampered with. What hill was I going to die on? How vulnerable can I be? I was also vulnerable with my grad class, then super tired for my undergrad classes. My performance and responsiveness were inevitably MEH. Didn’t feel good.

Friday, January 6, 2023, the day of the full moon… the dust started to settle again. Oh my… the virtues of patience, trust, and compassion. They were in full force that day. I slept well. I had a good class. I had an excellent meeting. And, I got news that day that declares the end of one chapter of my life, thus the beginning of another chapter.

We did lose our curling game 1-10 in 6-ends, but it felt good to get back out on the ice, to play with my team, and to connect with others after the game. It was a good day to end my Friday. I was alert enough to stay up to pick up my kid from work at 11pm, and I took advantage of “Sleeping In on Saturdays.” That will be a thing, for sure.

My eating is back on track. I went out for a walk on Saturday. And, I went out for dinner with a friend. I have mastered what it means to rest on Saturdays then I try to transition back to work on Sunday. Working on Sundays is something I’m learning how to do better, but I do need to spend some time on Sunday to plan the week.

Whew. I did not expect to be delving into my week that I did. I have things to notice. My #OneWord2023 is READ. I am reading the situation and taking what I see, feel, and experience at face value. It’s actually happening and I am the only one who can take control of me. Part of that is also reading papers, proposals, and textbooks.

I can see how this year is beginning and how I am reacting. A beautiful friend said to me today is that I can only do the best that I can do. I cannot control the outcome. I can only control what I can do and know that, then move on. That brings me solace. Keep trying my best and that’s all that I can give and do, and be satisfied with that.

A Year in Review 2022

Week 146 – December 31, 2022 – Living My Best Life

Oh my… what a year. The pandemic persists, thus so do my #pandemicreflections. You’re welcome. I think about the importance of reflection and how these few years have been incredibly transformative. I have spent much time figuring out what’s important to me and now unpacking what’s important about me. It’s been good.

I took the last couple of weeks relaxing. Prior to that, I was sick and trying to recover from that while the term was ending and I was trying to get things done. Well, now I am looking at that same pile of work that needs to get done and the world did not crumble. I feel rested and rejuvenated. I was so glad to have alone time to rest.

After watching the news and seeing the stress on those who were/are travelling, I am not sad that I spent most of my holiday on my LazyBoy chair. I’ve cleaned my place and cleaned up some of my bad habits that were not honouring or respecting me. One step at a time. Patience. Compassion. Kindness. I am doing all these for me.

I was burning out at the beginning of 2022. There was so much on my plate and I was doing very little that supported who I am and I spent a lot of time not feeling worthy. I learned that I had to let go of what I thought was important and feel “selfish” with what was really important to me. Mentoring and coaching in the summer were key.

The Fall 2022 Term was incredible. I have no words but thank you. I let go of what I thought as important and focused on what I loved to do. I focused on learning. I did not bother worrying about what others thought or care about getting consensus on what I wanted to do. No compromises. Just joy. That was the biggest lesson for me.

When you pay attention to what you love the most and walk in a direction that is aligned to who you are, good things happen. This took me decades to understand wholeheartedly. 2022 was about finding who I am and making choices that are deliberate and intentional. I didn’t want to travel this holiday and it’s been great.

I’m learning how to rest and embracing who I am and what I love was a wonderful gift to myself and an amazing way to conclude the 2022 year. I have never felt more like myself and I know it’s going to feel more like that as time goes on. I am lucky. What a luxury to have time to myself. It was selfish and indulgent. I’m worth it.

My #OneWord2022 was COMMIT. I originally intended to “commit” to my work, my kid, and my research. What I have learned is, I need to commit to myself. I am committed and I have loved my pedagogical journey to this place so far and I look forward to what’s to come in the new year. There is much to learn. I can’t wait.

It’s back to work next week and I am so happy that I took a break despite the HUGE amount of work I have to do to get ready for classes. It’s ok. I just have to continue listening to my intuition and keep with the learning mindset. I am also going to set a few one-year goals. I can’t wait. Anything is possible. I’m looking forward to 2023.

Boxing Day Blog 2022

December 26, 2022 – A Year in Review… Maybe?

Well… life is always filled with “firsts.” That’s what learning is all about. This was my first Christmas without family. My kid was out of town (and returning tonight) and I opted not to travel to Vancouver to visit my brother, sister, and dad. I’m glad that I didn’t travel. The weather has been crazy in the Lower Mainland and travel remains in the news. That kind of stress and mayhem were not in my winter holiday plans.

I stayed in my apartment. The first week of December, I was sick and spent a couple of weeks coping, travelling, and recovering. That was not fun. The third week I was alone and Prince George was experiencing a cold spell. -30 degrees Celsius weather was relentless. All that I wanted to do was stay inside and do nothing. And guess what I did? Not much. And if I had to do something, I did reluctantly, then did nothing.

What was amazing the winter holiday that I’ve learned is, nothing blows up. It’s true. For some reason I thought that I had to work and work to prove myself to others and validate my sense of worth. Nope. Not this year. I took it slow and tried not to work. I took a handful of few days not working and it’s been wonderful. I can take a vacation from work and approach my work in ways that work best for me. It’s been amazing.

I feel rested. I feel grounded. I feel connected (to self). What a wonderful gift. I never felt lonely this winter break and I could really take the time to listen to myself. I’ll admit, I am probably going to the drop in clinic tomorrow to check in for my health. That said, I am willing. In past, I might not have been. Denial seemed easier. That did not pay off a few years ago. Now, I can be honest with myself because I’m important.

The past year has been one of change and transformation. I had to step away from some things so that I can pursue other things. I can’t have everything. What I am realizing is, I am not suppose to want everything. What I am suppose to be doing is figuring out what I really want for me. I want to be healthy. I want to be learning. And, I want to continue pursuing things that I love (without any outside pressure).

A friend of mine the other day said that I am someone who is carving out my own path forward. An interesting example because I’m just learning how to. With each lesson, I am learning that nothing “blows up” when I am being true to myself and my needs and wants. It’s been an interesting winter break. I am focused on me. That’s it. How refreshing and unusual. I’ve been too busy serving and impressing others.

UGH. It’s taken this much time to arrive in this place today to realize that the only person I need to be serving and impressing is myself. I don’t mean this in a ego-driven way but in a way that is “selfish” and “self-serving.” Again, that sounds awful, but I don’t mean it in a way that is harmful or hurtful to others, but it’s about prioritizing myself. It reminds me of flying and putting on your air mask first.

You can’t help others if you are not taking care of yourself. I have my inquiry question for 2023 and my #OneWord2023. These are two tasks I’m going to be asking my EDUC 391, EDUC 421, and EDUC 405 students to do. (PS. It’s the same cohort). I guess this is not a year in review. Lots has happened. Some good. Some bad. In the end, I believe everything was meant to happen to get where I am today. I’m good.

No regrets. Lots of learning and I will continue to learn. What I think I am committed to for 2023 is to set lofty goals and know that it will take lots of little steps to get to those big goals. I can do this. I’m doing this for me. I am modelling for my kid (and she models right back to me). I have spent 2022 redefining myself and I am ready for the new year. Let’s see how the doctor’s appointment goes, but right now, it’s good.

I’m wishing everyone the happiest new year. You deserve it. Many people are struggling and we have to do what’s best for ourselves as self-care. The New Year will be my next blog post for Week 146. Yes, we are still in the pandemic. That has not ended but I wanted to take a moment to reflect and think about 2022 and express my gratitude for my family, my kid, and my friends. I am feeling lucky. Thank you!!

One Step at a Time

Week 145 – December 23, 2023 – Honour the Process

Ahhh… it’s almost Christmas and my week alone is almost over. I have no regrets and I enjoyed my time. I’ve been catching up with work and had to take the time to get better from the cold I was suffering from for a couple of weeks. I feel 100% and I’ve enjoyed my time cooking a turkey dinner for myself but also enjoying the little things like curling with my team, getting Chinese food, and cleaning up my kid’s room.

OK. I lied. Cleaning up my kid’s room is not a little thing. I’m mid-process right now and I’m a little overwhelmed. She’s got a lot of stuff and she was focused on her schooling. Cleaning up her room in the last month must have been a low priority. I thought I would be nice and offered to clean her room while she’s out of town. Admittedly, I do have some regret. Cleaning her room is bigger than anticipated.

That said, I am learning something. Cleaning my kid’s room is a metaphor for writing manuscripts, making proposals, and marking papers. It’s not an all-nighter event. I keep believing that I can complete a HUGE tasks as an all-nighter. If I look back, I believed this when I was in high school, when I was in university, and when I was teaching in K-12 schools. Truthfully, my thinking has not changed over time. Huh.

What I am learning is, it’s ok to work on something in small doses without losing your mind (or sleep). I am learning how to be kind to myself and to show myself the patience and compassion I deserve. I have nothing to prove. Now saying that… was I trying to impress someone else? I was trying to prove or earn my worth? Possibly. What I am practicing now is how to get the HUGE job done “one step at a time.”

There is NO WAY that I am going to finish cleaning her room in one day. This task will take me a minimum of a few days and additional furniture to store all of her stuff. I will also have to wait for my kid to get home to help to lift the new piece of furniture. I can’t do it by myself. It’s too heavy. UGH. And, I need time and sleep to strategize next steps on how to approach her room. What I am learning is, just take the time.

Honestly, I need to make the time… just like I have to rest. I love that. Deliberate rest. I needed to take the time to rest (and sleep). What I realizing now is, I need to make time to write (or do any HUGE task that needs completion) and not feel bad about taking the time. I think what is resonating with me now is the idea of ME TIME. A colleague of mine said to me awhile ago that research and writing is “me time.”

I am beginning to understand this idea of “me time” that extends beyond self-care. When one spends time on self-care, one is prioritizing self. To prioritize self, you have to understand your value and worth. Hmm… I’m understanding this. It’s taking me time and I spent much of my #pandemicreflections trying to figure this out… or at least what is important to me. The question should really be, why am I important?

What I love about blogging is, I can never anticipate how it will turn out and what I will learn from writing. It’s always a surprise. This blog post is an excellent example. I did not anticipate how this would end. What I was focused on was the HUGE task of cleaning my kid’s room. Oy. It’s a HUGE task. Always stay attuned to what you can learn from anything. Learning is happening everywhere. You just have to notice.

Deliberate Rest

Week 144 – December 19, 2022 – Feeling Better

First of all… I’m late on my weekly blog (and I’m ok with that). I’ve been sick for a couple weeks and it’s the end of term. I had a conference to present at and meetings to attend. I hate that feeling of “shoulding” myself and dragging myself to do things. It’s not a good feeling yet I had thought for years that I was doing a good thing. I was honestly killing myself and going around the clock was not healthy or helpful.

Second, I’ve been somewhat bewildered by Twitch’s suicide and how it is consuming social media. It reminds me of how I felt when Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade died. I wonder about how horrible they all must have felt inside to end their life. They must have been hurting. Mental health and wellbeing are so fragile. With the economy, pandemic, and leading life to it’s fullest, happiness hangs on a thread.

Third, I am learning about what makes me happy and feeling like I have the agency to do what I think is right for me without jeopardizing the system, deadlines, or other people’s lives in a negative way. It’s been a blissful feeling this holiday season to think that the only person I’m taking care of is me. It’s kind of refreshing and liberating. I have nothing to prove to anyone and I’m not concerned about what people think.

Finally, I am focusing on me and my wellness. I am feeling joyful and content. I am doing what makes me happy. I am so grateful to be living with my kid, but I am also happy about her independence. I love working with my students and I am learning more about learning (and research). I’m following the mantra of “one step at a time.” What’s wonderful about this is, no shaming… no guilt. I am doing the best I can.

We are a handful of days away from Christmas and I’m going to enjoy my first winter break spending the time with myself. This time of not running around and enjoying my space and place is cup filling. I am enough and I truly feel that way. It’s been a journey so far to get where I am today but I have no regrets. I have never felt better and I feel like my best years are just ahead of me. Goodbye 2022 and Hello 2023.

The System is Complex

Week 143 – December 11, 2022 – Conflicted Feelings

This is a blog redo. I wrote a blog this week that focused on my Hopes and Dreams for Public Education. It was a self-imposed homework assignment for the work I am doing with the Institute for Public Education (IPE). I opted to write it via blog versus a Word doc to share with my working group. I felt like I had nothing to hide. Well, I’m hiding. I just received feedback on my blog post, which I appreciated, but what I wrote was not interpreted in the same way as I intended. The system is complex.

I’m not really hiding, but I did un-publish the blog post to do another one instead… and here it is. A replacement post. I am faced with conflicted feelings as I reflect on the system and what we hope and dream for. Even with my sub-committee, we each wrote very different pieces. We had question prompts and we were the test pilot. We wondered how contributions would manifest given these prompts. Much depended on our vantage point. One wrote about memories of specific teachers, one wrote about different agencies, and I wrote about feelings and how we treat each other.

Anyway, I thought about writing about my experience at FNESC. I just co-presented with a friend and colleague of mine at the conference this weekend and we talked about decolonizing practices and assessment. It was a need identified when we were working on other FNESC resources. Assessment was an area identified that needed some attention. Assessment is very important to me, but also know that it’s an area that is highly contentious because assessment practices also reflect one’s values. When you start questioning assessment, you are questioning people’s values.

I enjoyed co-constructing the presentation with my friend and landing in a place where formative assessment and the 4R’s are interrelated. I was so inspired by my experience in the Stellat’en Salmon Festival and the lessons I learned there about teaching and learning in community. It is incredibly powerful and this experience provided the inspiration for this presentation at FNESC. Admittedly, I was a little apprehensive to share this information. My friend and I went over the presentation a few times just to be sure…. of flow, content, and sense-make ability. Anyway, my friend was very confident of the presentation, audience, and appropriateness.

As you can read, I was not as confident. We co-presented as planned. Twice. And ironically, we concluded the assessment session with a feedback form. FNESC asks for feedback after each session, which makes sense. But when I had second thoughts, I was not as open to immediate feedback. I was worried about pushback. Of two groups at about 80 people per session, we only had up to two handfuls of “satisfactory” and the rest were “excellent” and wanting more time to discuss. Wow. That exceeded my expectations. We questioned the system and proposed how assessment could be to influence pedagogies and ways of being. It was accepted.

My reflection of that learning, which I am still digesting is, the system is complex. My thoughts are something that cannot be generalized and each of us have had different experiences in the system. I don’t want to deny the good moments. There were many. But I also don’t want to overlook those moments or opportunities that could be better. Just because no one is saying anything does not mean it’s working. But also, by saying something may lead to misinterpretation, pushback, or controversy. Am I prepared for that? A part of me has to be because of the work I am doing. My job is to question. Which brings me back to my original post of feeling marginalized and oppressed.

We are each finding our ways through this education to make a difference and impact student learning in positive ways. I have very good memories of my teaching practice but I also have not so positive ones. When I think about making change, how can we bring attention to the not so positive experiences and look at possible solutions. I do believe that people are doing the best that they can but I also believe that they system can be better and its in those places where I am looking to improve.