5 KM Daily Challenge

OK. It’s not exactly 10,000 steps… but it’s tough to get 10,000 steps in an 800 sqft apartment and this is a hell of a lot more than what I was doing the day before (e.g. 1.5 km) and the day before that (e.g. 0.6 km). I’m pretty satisfied with 7,355 steps and 5 km. I went outside with intention. I had a goal. I mapped out a route and I was pretty darn close to 5 km. I’ve just turned a corner after 6-weeks of social distancing, watching the news, and being over cautious of what I touched and when I left my apartment. Admittedly, I was reluctant to leave. I kind of had that spring break effect at first, then you go through the 5-stages of grief: denial/isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I am at a state of acceptance, I suppose. Last week, I was definitely feeling down and I do have moments of wanting to tear up sometimes, but now I feel like I’ve got to get my life back to some level of normalcy.

I’m kind of done with the 4am bedtime and eating as if I was getting ready for hibernation or marathon race. I get this is stress at it’s finest. Weirdly, the news reassured me that “this is normal.” Tonight, I also heard that people are reaching a new norm and getting used to the idea of social distancing, which is also reassuring. I feel the same way, but it’s taken 6-weeks. This is not to get down on myself, but it takes this kind of time and intention to break habits, to notice, and to make a change. Just the other day, I took out my garbage (because I had too… the smell!!!) and I wanted to bring in a bag of recycling and shovel back into my apartment from my car. I brought the bag of recycling and shovel back into my apartment but I also threw away a bits of garbage that was littered all over my car, found a pair of mittens (hidden underneath the driver’s seat), found 6-pairs of winter socks from Costco (bought who knows when), and discovered a set of bookends (that I needed for some time but didn’t know where they went). I was stunned and humoured at the same time.

There are so many COVID-19 challenges out there and I just heard that staying at home during the pandemic has the same effect as the FROSH-15… but it’s the COVID-19. I think I gained the 19 pounds I lost… or at least it feels like it. I have never eaten so go in my entire life. I am really enjoying eating at home… not because I have to, but I want to. Cooking gives me a time to be present, to take care of myself, and to focus on something that is tactile versus cognitive. There is so much creativity to be had with cooking. I think I might have missed my calling, but I am enjoying it nonetheless. Now, it’s time to focus on me and take care of myself during this time of craziness and isolation. I’ve never been physically alone for this long before. I am reflecting a lot on self and what’s important to me and why. I am finding that COVID-19 is bring a lot of tragedy, stress, and anxiety to many… it’s also a time (if you can) to reflect, be grateful, and be kind to self and others. So… I have committed to a 5KM daily challenge for the next 6-weeks of COVID-19. This is not going away anytime soon and some of my habits have changed. My values have shifted. And, what I need to do right now is take care of myself and my mental health.

#physicaldistancing #mentalhealth #stayingathome

Hitting the Wall

We are heading towards the end of Week 6 of #socialisolation and I am going to write my weekly blog entry/reflection one day early. I figured it’s close enough and… who made up these rules anyway?!? LOL. There is not one day that goes by when I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I have a lot to be thankful for. It’s been a treacherous school year to say the least with my personal life, job action, and the COVID19 pandemic. I am only highlighting a few aspects that “could have been better.” All three events are CRITICAL MOMENTS in my life (and many), which resulted in “low productivity” towards my #OneWord2020 of TENURE. As mentioned, I am not actually working towards tenure at this very moment, but would like to be in a position that is “tenure track” so that I can focus my work and attention towards tenure. Anyway, I am “hitting the wall.” The tenure track posting I applied for is on hold because of the pandemic and truly… LIFE IS ON HOLD… until the pandemic is over. Ironically, this is a fantastic time to be working on my research and writing… and I am. I just finished the Winter 2020 Term and all of my work and grades are submitted. I am shifting gears and working on a few projects. Again, I have immense gratitude to have this work and I am not in a dire situation where I am struggling to acquire basic needs. The wall that I am hitting is more of a social-emotional one. It’s definitely been a journey for the last 6-weeks for self living in social isolation. Overall, it’s been good but I am acutely aware that mental health is a fragile on the best of days for anyone during the pandemic and the last few days for me could have been better. Nothing dramatic or manic, but I would like to be reunited with my daughter and I am so happy that my mom is not here during the pandemic because she would not have taken the heightened stress and living conditions. What brings me a bit of joy is this ring I bought a couple of weeks ago and received last week. It reminds me of my mom. It’s something big and obnoxious, but shiny and pretty that my mom would wear. I also bought it from one of my former students from my high school teaching days and this was part of a collection that her mom was accruing before she had passed away. I took a moment and put the ring on today. I just love it. I was quickly reminded of my mom and felt a moment of solace that things are going to be OK. I can breathe. I needed to do this. I have this ring sitting on my dresser with other things that I love and value. I hope you are finding these moments to ground yourself in these extraordinary times.

#stayhome #staysafe #physicaldistancing #COVID19

Sense of Place

Wow… I cannot believe that it’s Friday already. That said, I did break my rule a couple of times this week… so this weekly blog entry seems “excessive” since I had blogged twice before. Meh. I felt compelled to write, so I did. Maybe that’s the way it will be… commit to a weekly blog, but blog when you damn well please. Oh ya… I said it. JUST WRITE… WHY NOT? This is the end of Week 5 of #stayingathome due to the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s taken about this long to become more accustomed to “new lifestyle” of #socialdistancing. It was a little rough at first being an extrovert, but I’m finding a lot of solace being home alone. Of course I would love to be with my daughter on the Sunshine Coast, but I am still connected with her via technology and we are both safe. I’ve just finished my work for the Winter 2020 term at the university and the chaos of my emergent lifestyle developing indoors and online, it was best to be home alone in Prince George. My sleep habits are still out of whack, but I am so happy to transition to the other part of my job… that is writing, researching, and publishing. Again, might be best at this point in time to be in isolation in my apartment to get this work done. As teaching faculty, this part of my job is really done on the side of my desk and almost impossible (for me) go get anything done while classes and practicum are in session. Taking a deep breath and I will enjoy this opportunity because with the implementation of our NEW BED PROGRAM in the fall, I may not have this luxury of time as the program will be 16 continuous months instead of 8-months and 8-months over 2-years. I am also enjoying going out for a walk around the neighbourhood or walking to the supermarket. I didn’t do these things before the pandemic so I am learning more about where I live. I am developing my sense of place with each walk and I’m really enjoying going outside even though I am at least 6-feet apart from the closest person. People have been really respectful on my walks as we each make space for each other. I love the unspoken understanding and being courteous. People are so friendly in Prince George. I have been really happy about that. Happiness is a choice. I have nothing but gratitude during this extraordinary time and I am so grateful for all those who are checking in with me. I do feel connected in a very large community. How can I be anything else but BE HAPPY.

Take care. Stay safe. #StayHome #PhysicalDistancing

5 Words, 5 Pictures

TO THE #UNBCED CLASS OF 2020

Greetings EDUC 491 Teacher Candidates from UNBC…

I really enjoyed reading your #OneWord2020 Blog Reflection and reviewing your e-Portfolios and TRIAD Presentations to conclude our course together, post-practicum. Instead of writing individual emails to you all, I decided to write a blog entry in honour of YOU to capture what I have learned from what you have learned. The format I will proceed with is similar to your Triad Presentation (and Twitter trend of 5 words, 5 tags). I will summarize your learning as one graduating class with 5 words, 5 pictures. 

Before I do, I want to thank you all for an amazing 2-years at UNBC. You are my first cohorts and I had the pleasure of being with the Secondary Years Cohort for 4-terms and Elementary Years Cohort for 3-terms. I learned a tonne from you all and I really appreciate that you have welcomed me to be a part of your learning journey in Teacher Education as your instructor and for some of you, your Practicum Mentor. I learned more about what it means to be an elementary teacher, to teach in higher education, and to affirm what I know as a secondary math/science teacher. There are many similarities and differences, but what I do know for sure, in this profession… you are always learning.


1. LEARNING

the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught.

Which brings me to my first word… LEARNING. Everyone spoke about what they have learned during EDUC 491 practicum and that they are still learning. What you have learned ranged from classroom management, assessment and evaluation strategies to being flexible with one’s plans. Many of you spoke about being where the students are but also learning more about the students so you could design learning activities that are meaningful, purposeful, and engaging for your students. I loved how EVERYONE reflected on their #oneword2020 and concluded that their word was right and wouldn’t change it.

2. RELATIONSHIPS

the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.

RELATIONSHIPS are the underpinning to anyone’s successful teaching practice. It was mentioned many times that relationships with students were integral to motivating students, to effective classroom management, and to experiencing the real-joy of teaching. The best part of teaching are the relationships you create, develop, and nourish with your students. Many had mentioned that they had learned a lot from their students, but also learned a lot about themselves and their practice from their students. You’ve acknowledge the beauty of teaching and relationships with students… it’s reciprocated.

3. COMMUNITY

a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

COMMUNITY is an extension to your relationships with students. You are not only are you creating a learning community for your students in your class, but also you were a part of many learning communities as a learner and educator throughout your practicum… and hopefully in future. Many of you mentioned the mentorship and connection you had with your Coaching Teacher(s) and what you had learned from them. But also, many of you mentioned other teachers, your TRIAD, and members of your cohort as part of your learning community. These people supported you as a learner during your practicum.

4. TRANSFORMATION

a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.

I loved how some of you mentioned that even though you may have been a bit ambitious with the #oneword2020 you’ve chosen, but everything during the EDUC 491 started to make sense. I appreciated that many of you took risks, experimented, and transferred what you have learned at the university to what you were learning during practicum. As a practicum mentor, I witnessed the TRANSFORMATION. I did not see this during coursework or during EDUC 490 practicum (albeit shortened). Something magical happens during EDUC 491 practicum where one transforms from student to educator.

5. RESILIENCE

the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

What an impressive group of learners. You are reflective and reflexive. I end my 5-words, 5-pictures with RESILIENCE. The teacher education program in itself, regardless of where you take it, is transformative. Change is not easy. Our identities and understanding of self are tampered with and transformed over time in teacher education. In addition to the teacher education program, the last 2-years have been exceptional at UNBC because you were integral to our program’s transformation and redesign of the B.Ed. curriculum, the Fall 2019 term ended abruptly due to the UNBC-FA labour dispute, and now everyone is #StayingAtHome due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We had to cancel our “Celebration of Learning” scheduled for April 9th that would have concluded our course and program, but you adapted. You were flexible and professional. I am proud to call you my colleague.

CONGRATULATIONS!!!
YOU’VE SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED EDUC 491.

Personalization and Diversity

You know… I should just “go with the flow” and make the deadline. I make rules up to just break them… ALWAYS. It’s after Easter weekend and we are in the midst of Week 5 of #socialisolation. I said to self… “it’s time to stop eating meat and carbs.” OH MAN… I was eating meat like it was going out of style and eating more bread products than I normally would or like to. That night I had 2-sausages for dinner and made 5-dozen cookies. Enough said. I don’t like limiting rules, even when I make them for self. I think that’s just how my brain works. As soon as someone says I can’t do something, I’m compelled to do so. Reverse psychology works on me. The joy of living alone in my apartment during a pandemic. It’s an “opportunity” to understand self better and regular sleep habits is no longer a thing.

Apologies on photos of self in my blogs. It’s either that or food pics. I’m limited to where I am and what photos I take lately. I also made another rule, which I am now currently breaking. I mentioned in my last 2-blogs that I would commit to a weekly blog. Meh. Here I am two days later blogging because I have something on my mind and when that happens, nothing gets done. So here I am… brain dumping into my blog. I also need to spend time working on my other e-Portfolio that I started for EDUC 431 (EdTech) but I get bogged down with “clumps” of things to do. That’s how I operate. I AM NOT A MULTITASKER. I am a unitasker… and I’m OK with that. One thing at a time is my modality. As a result, everything that needs to get done for ONE THING gets done while everything else is on hold. Last night I started marking for EDUC 370 (Numeracy Across the Curriculum) and finished yesterday morning. Yes, I did an all nighter. That’s another thing about me as well. When I’m in… I’m all in. I used to do all nighters at university and things have not changed since. Anyway, I was so wowed by what my students submitted.

I continue to play around with the ideals of BC’s Curriculum in my university courses. I did that when I was a sessional instructor and continue to do as an Assistant Professor / Teacher Educator. To finish off my courses during the COVID-19 pandemic, I decided to teach asynchronous online. I wanted to honour my students’ time to adjust to the pandemic, honour my time to adjust, but also provide to to complete the learning intentions on their own time and pace… with a given deadline. I put EDUC 370 and EDUC 491 (practicum and seminar) online. Do you know what wowed me? Everyone completed the tasks on-time and online. What also impressed me was the level of personalization and diversity in the assignments, reflections, and e-Portfolios they sent in. I set the criteria and expectations and in return, students submitted what was true to them. Not one assignment was the same, yet they all handed in something for that assignment.

I really understood the idea of personalizing learning for students. I remember early in BC’s Curriculum’s implementation that personalizing was interpreted as individualizing. YEESH. That would be a tonne of work. But when we can set the criteria, name the specific competencies to be achieved, and provide an entry point for content… LOOK OUT… You will get a hugely DIVERSE collection of outcomes. That was my aha. It’s almost like they did individualized their learning but really, they personalized it. In the end, this honours the student’s learning experience but also provides them with enormous agency and autonomy. Furthermore, they are more creative and innovative. Students have CHOICE and VOICE. In my EDUC 370 course, some could choose to collaborate in pairs or work individually. They were required to work within a framework but choose anything they want within the framework. This was true throughout their course. What I got back in return exceeded my expectations. What was submitted was absolutely amazing!!!

Now it’s 5am and I think I’ve recovered from my all nighter last night such that I think it’s time to plow through my EDUC 491 marking of e-Portfolios, #oneword2020 reflections, and Triad Presentations. I am so sad that we were unable to celebrate their learning and the end of practicum on April 9th before Easter weekend. That said, I am so happy that all were successful in their long practicum and I am super stoked to read their journals and presentations and look through their e-portfolios to see how they perceived their practicum experience and learning experience in Teacher Education. I’m super stoked.

Finding Self

As we approach the end of the term and the end of the week, it’s now time to blog. I promised last week that I would return to weekly blogging habits. I made a commitment and here I am. I was hoping to blog every Friday, but as you can see… it’s Saturday. The COVID-19 pandemic as thrown off my biorhythms, or aligned them, because now I sleep from 4am to noon. There is no question that we are living in an unprecedented time. It’s Easter long weekend and this would have been a time when I would go back to the Sunshine Coast to be with my daughter or be frantically marking papers so that I can end the term ASAP then return back to the Sunshine Coast ASAP, the other half of my life. I am still marking papers… not as frantically… I am still in Prince George, but I submitted ALL of the paperwork for practicum. That was a feat in itself. I am so happy that it is the long weekend to slow down and take a moment to reflect, be grateful, and wonder.

I started blogging almost 10-years ago. That’s when I left teaching in K-12 schools and started rediscovering and redefining my identity. I also wanted to practice how to write. My blogs are a lot longer now and I people compliment my work. Mission accomplished. Currently, I am in the middle of reading Parker Palmer’s book – The Courage to Teach – the 20th Anniversary Edition (because I can’t sleep) and I feel like he is telling me my story. I cannot put the book down. I give a version of the first chapter of this book to my Teacher Candidates to read. It is powerful work and my practice today is guided by his work. I am looking at this book through a new lens and I can see that I have been developing my “inner landscape” for the last 10-years. I get this now. Many of my past blog entries speak about my PEDAGOGICAL JOURNEY and how I was navigating through it. I had no idea then. I have to experience it, experiment, and be patient. Whatever I want for my students, I have to want for myself because “you teach who you are.”

When I left teaching, I felt broken. I was misaligned to the system, who I was, and who I wanted to be. I struggled for many years in my teaching career. The first 5-years was spent rationalizing my decision of becoming a teacher (because my dad said that women would not make good engineers). I spent the next 5-years completing my masters degree, getting married, and calibrating my career trajectory towards administration. Then, I spent the last 5-years changing my job several times, facing constant fear to advocate for students and student learning, and dashing my dreams of administration and leaving the practice all together. I was so disheartened. Yet, I do believe that everything happens for a reason and I needed this disruption to open my eyes to life and education.

From self-employment to school trustee to sessional instructor to assistant professor… and completing my dissertation and doctorate degree somewhere en route were all part of my pedagogical journey. These were not easy times. During this entire time, I wondered… What is this all about? Who am I? Am I good enough? Yes, you can say my pedagogical journey for the last 10-years was in essence “my midlife crisis” but this is something that I think that we all meant to do to reach a place of self-actualization, authenticity, and wholeheartedness. Details of my personal life, the passing of my mom, and being away from my daughter also added to the mix of living in a new city, meeting new friends, and figuring out my new job… while I wondered about what I wanted to do when I grew up.

The pandemic has been a blessing in many ways. I find with all of the chaos and uncertainty, I have arrived to a place of calmness, peace, and certainty. I don’t know how I exactly got here. Parker Palmer’s book is articulating how this has come to be… serendipitously. Is life perfect? No. When will it ever? Not sure. What I do know for sure is, I was meant to be here. What I have learned from my Teacher Candidates over the last two years, I feel, has been integral to my healing, my pedagogical journey, and my deepened understanding of self. I am not pretending anymore. I don’t think I have been over the last 2-years because I had the grace of my students to teach and learn with about the subject matter, this new reality, and my identity and integrity. The disconnection I witnessed with Teacher Candidates during practicum only served as a mirror to me and the disconnection I felt many years ago. From that disconnection, I could only be fearful.

I don’t feel fear the same way anymore. I am more open to what is and I can only continue learning about my identity and integrity from experimenting with life, listening, experiencing, and being patient. I can appreciate the little things and know I am able accomplish anything if I continue to focus on what I value, what I am feeling, and what feels right. My doctoral supervisor said to me (and I am paraphrasing), “you would not have entered the doctorate program if you did not expect to be transformed.” I remember that day so clearly. I was in his office and I achieved a TSN Turning Point in my doctoral research. Everything started to make sense. I am feeling that right now. I am more present. I am more aware. I am more accepting of what is and what will be. I am happy. I can only control me and how I think and feel. That’s it. I am whole. I have no regrets.

The 2019/2020 school year has been exceptional and extraordinary. I wrote about it a few months ago in the new year, but now with the pandemic… that blog entry might have to be revised… or a new one is coming. I’m sure that it will be the latter. This sacred time of #socialisolation and #stayingathome has given me time to consider who I am and so what. I have a lot to be grateful for, but I will end this week’s blog with a photo below of 5-dozen Oatmeal Raisin Cookies… the BEST comfort cookies EVER!!! I never thought I would bake (and enjoy it). I never thought that I would appreciate the silence and living alone. I never thought I would be a Teacher Educator. Look at me!!! There is still much uncertainty on the horizon, but I will take it one day at a time and honour who I am.

Exceeding Expectations

STAYING AT HOME AND SOCIAL ISOLATION

It’s the end of Week 3 and I’m happily engaged in staying at home social isolation. From what I understand, I’ll be here for a few more months. Well, as mentioned in previous blog entries, I’m still working, teaching online, and getting the work done to get this term done remotely. Although I am incredibly surprised how fast things are moving in terms of everything that we need to do to flatten the curve, I am slowly but surely adapting to this life within my apartment in Prince George (away from my kid and my super cute dog). So, it’s been an interesting journey so far living alone and being isolated from others for the past 3-weeks but I am never alone. I get check ins from friends and family every day. My daily connections are never the same. I am also connected on social media. I do see many tweets and posts about being kind to the extroverts that you know. I really think that my 8-year dissertation journey also taught me to appreciate introverted qualities. You have to be. I think I may have overcompensated with social media to stay connected, but how I am feeling now and for the last few weeks, it seems very familiar. I can do this.

CREATING DAILY AND WEEKLY ROUTINES

I’ve decided to return back to my weekly blog. I tried the “daily blog” approach like my friend Ian Landy (@technolandy), who was inspired by George Couros (@gcouros). I could not do it. What I realized is, I need time to reflect and think about what’s important and why. I would only blog when I was inspired. I liked that idea, but blogging was intermittent and I needed good habits to write. Writing is a COMMITMENT. I need to do that. I was a bit overwhelmed with practicum and observing students. It consumed my time, energy, and emotional creativity. No blogging happened for many weeks during practicum and I intended to work on my e-Portfolio too. Again, contributing to my e-Portfolio, blogging, and reflection takes time, practice, and routines. What a better time (during a global pandemic) to make daily and weekly routines. Along with showering and brushing my teeth daily, I am returning back to a weekly blog. This is a good time to make this commitment along with my writing, in general, to make a commitment to what’s important to me and develop my skills. Some of my blogs I will post. Some I won’t. Doesn’t matter. I will also commit to writing my book about my mom, my life-long inquiry about math education and “math stories,” and academic pieces I’ve been putting on hold.

FORMAL TRIAD MEETINGS AND CLOSURE

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday this week, I had my formal triad meetings with my Teacher Candidates and their Coaching Teachers to conclude EDUC 491 practicum. We have 45 Teacher Candidates in our program in Year 2 of our 2-year program. I am responsible for 10 of them as a Faculty/Practicum Mentor, where two are secondary candidates and eight are elementary candidates. I’ve learned a lot about being a Practicum Mentor and I learned a lot from my Teacher Candidates about teaching and learning. I was so proud of them wanting to extend themselves to teach and be observed in lessons that “step out of the box” and I was impressed with their openness to formative feedback. We planned to have these meetings well before spring break. My intention for these meetings was to connect face-to-face, discuss how the practicum went for the Teacher Candidate and Coaching Teacher, and sign forms. With the pandemic, the face-to-face meeting was impossible, but we collectively forged forward to meeting VIRTUALLY on BlueJeans to discuss practicum and figure out a way to digitally sign forms and reports. The meetings went without a hitch (except for a few office procedures). Now you can see in the photo above, beyond my coffee cup, a poster full of Teacher Candidate names and forms I need to collect back from them via email to conclude EDUC 491 practicum. I feel incredibly fortunate to have been their Practicum Mentor. Truly honoured to be a part of your teaching and learning journey. You’ve been a huge part of mine.

Two Weeks In Isolation

It’s March 29th and it’s officially 2-weeks since I have self-isolated myself from THE WORLD. Seems dramatic and it is. I was spooked 2-weeks ago and it’s so weird to think about the last time I was “at work.” It was Friday the 13th, had a meeting, met up with friends, food shopped, and that’s it. Things started to escalate then… I can’t even mention how things have changed since. I am totally convinced by #socialdistancing, #physicaldistancing, and #stayathome. Got it. We need to #flattenthecurve and protect ourselves and others. Here we are in a state of global crisis and all I can feel is gratitude. Even typing that out seemed kind of dark, but what I can say is, I recognize my privilege.

My conferences are cancelled, I’m spending my time trying to get refunds, and I have reports to write (that I am heavily procrastinating). Soon, I will have papers to mark and marks to submit. Am I complaining? No way. I have a warm place to stay, I am in social isolation, and I am safe. Thank goodness for electricity and technology, otherwise I think this pandemic experience would have been dramatically different. Of course, I would love to be with my daughter and be with friends, but the most important thing right now is being safe from the virus and move forward with life, but in a different way. I am also grateful to have a job, food to eat, and some financial security. Right now, things are going well. Moreover, friends and family check in with me to see how I am doing.

One of my struggles so far has been trying to stick to a routine. You hear it on the news. It’s good for you and your mental health. Ack. I could not do it. I think if I was living with my daughter or a roommate, maybe I would have routines and self-imposed expectations to get up, make breakfast, and “go to work” in my dining room/office. Living alone gives me full freedom. I had no routine to stick to, just deadlines and meeting times. That’s it. I tried for 2-weeks to get up at 8am and go to bed at 11pm. I had troubles going to bed and troubles getting up. Surprise… like most people during a pandemic. The news was heavy and we are embarking on a “new lifestyle” and way of being. My moment of celebration was getting a couple of things done last night, going to bed when I was tired, and waking up when I was ready. I feel great. I’ve decided to not judge my actions against a clock. I work way better in afternoon, evenings, and late at night (like this).

What I’ve learned is, be kind to others and be kind to yourself. We are heading into a few more weeks of isolation, if not longer. I’m a little too spooked to travel to see my kid, but we are connected online and I see her everyday. I am getting work done, but as per usual, I can always be a bit more productive. I do need to wean myself from the news and just listen to it at the start and end of my day. I am an extrovert learning how to lead a life of being alone (writing my dissertation helped). I think that’s why the TV is always on. I like a little company. But, I am connected online, I have work to do, and I am learning how to live in isolation. This is my small contribution to #flatteningthecurve.

#physicalisolation #stayhome #flattenthecurve

The New Norm

The Toronto Symphony – March 24, 2020

Hmm… I don’t know what to say… except for “stay home and stay safe.” Save yourself and save others. Seems reasonable. What have I learned so far about #COVID19, #selfisolation, and #socialdistancing. People are amazing creatures. Look at this photo that I took of the Toronto Symphony. They are playing together… online… in isolation. AMAZING. I was impressed, but maybe I’m easily impressed. I love the “good feel” stories that shared on the news and I am grateful for the daily check-ins from my friends and kid. It’s taken me about a week to adjust to this “new lifestyle” and I am very grateful that I get to continue my work online with my students. I opted to teach asynchronous online and it seems to be working. I am also grateful that I am self-isolating because I have to be #physicaldistancing. I’m a hugger, friendly puncher, and high-fiver. I can’t help myself. Another thing I can’t help is touching my face!?! Alarming. I can’t be around others.

I cannot believe how this month transformed so dramatically. March 2020 stared with me presenting at UFV at the Mathematics Education Sq’ep, continuing on with my practicum observations of Year 2 Teacher Candidates, and being interviewed by 2 graduate students on CFUR. Approaching mid-March entailed meetings finalizing our work on the BEd and MEd Program Redesign Committees. That Friday… Friday the 13th BTW… the day ended with a committee meeting, a McGyver experience to the airport, lunch out with my buddy on campus, deep-fried pickles with a colleague, losing and finding my car keys, and returning back to my apartment. It was a cray-cray day. Before heading back to my place, I went food shopping. There was no toilet paper on the shelved, I hugged a colleague in the produce section, and I purchased my last dozen eggs (but did not know it). By Sunday, March 15th, I conceded and brought my office plant home. Spring break begins.

I was very happy to finish my formal observations of Teacher Candidates and bought toilet paper a few weeks ago. I’m OK. I immediately went online with my courses and hunkered down in my apartment, making some effort to go outside. In just a week, we moved from #washyourhands to #stayhome. I am happy to be at home. I am comforted to know that my kid is safe. I am still working (for now) and I have my health. Now, we are adapting. What was faee-to-face is now online. I had a program meeting online and another provincial meeting via BlueJeans, a special edition #bcedchat online with the co-moderators collaborating behind the scenes via Google Hangout, and taught one of my classes via Collaborate Ultra. I chat with my kid and friends on FaceTime, text, or phone. I am establishing a NEW NORM… getting organized, cancelling plans, and cooking at home.

#stayhome #plankthecurve #selfisolate #staysafe

Missed Opportunities

Life in social isolation. I am not sure how I am doing. I needed a little break from work, but now I’m finding myself in complete paralysis. I don’t think this is a bad thing but it’s not business as usual. I am teaching my courses asynchronously and synchronously online. I have a tonne of practicum reports to write and will have a tonne of marking to do before the end of term. I have enough food for a couple of weeks and I am deeply connected to my devices for social interaction. As much as I am a homebody, I am also an extrovert. Social connection is critical to my sanity and survival. I am grateful to be connecting with “the outside world” via video conferencing, Twitter, phone, Facebook Messenger, SnapChat, Twitter DM, and text. I am not alone. Thank goodness. Admittedly, I am an early adopter to self isolation and social distancing. I am teaching a course on numeracy across the curriculum and watching the numbers on the news is startling.

Pandemic-Math. It’s an excellent “real-life” model of exponential growth. There are plenty of news articles and videos of pandemic-math and I’m watching some math educators on Twitter projecting, predicting, and modelling the pandemic. Wow. The Curricular Competencies of math LIVE on Twitter… and excellent math modelling by our math teachers in the field. I wonder if our K-12 students are watching them. I hope to share some of these resources with my students in my course. I hope that we can seize this opportunity of current events and transforming them into learning opportunities that are relevant, meaningful, and timely. I cannot tell you the number of plans I had for this class. They were off on their 3-week practicum in the middle of our course. Everything changed during this time. I thought about going to Exploration Place and engage in weaving. One of my students got our class tickets to the World Women’s Curling Championships to a game during our class time. No can do. Now we are going to complete some of our work from before practicum and delve into pandemic-math.

I guess these are missed opportunities, but “when one door closes, another one opens.” I do appreciate that I have a housing, wifi, and cable so that I am able to self-isolate and control what I can control. I am grateful to have my health and that I am able to work from home. I do miss my daughter. I would love to go back to my second home to be with her, but as things are unfolding rapidly in BC and Canada it is safer for both of us to stay put. I am managing to “mom her” from a distance. None of this is easy. Even with K-12 schools closing indefinitely until further notice tells me that we need to really focus on our health and safety. Everything else is secondary. I need to put things into perspective and enjoy how people are making the best of a difficult situation. This morning I had the pleasure of watching Trevor Noah on Facebook host the “Daily Social Distancing Show” from his home with the collaboration from his staff who are home. I also watched another video a family produced about the difficulties of extroverts staying home. This afternoon, I participated in a video conference meeting with my department. And tonight, I was invited on Twitter to engage in TP hacky-sac soccer as a #stayathomechallenge.

Gosh. I’m so enamoured by the writing process. This blog went nowhere from where intended and I also feel a lot better. I was to going to talk about “missed opportunities.” For example, yesterday I blogged about this Exceptional School Year. During the strike, I missed out on presenting at the FNESC Fall Conference, having a hotel weekend with my daughter, and presenting at my first ICSEI Conference in Morocco. Now with the pandemic and gaining momentum in BC and Canada, my ticket package to the Women’s World Curling is refunded, my family is not going to visit me in Prince George, and my kid will not fly up to visit me during spring break. The world is shutting down. My classes are online, Year 2 Teacher Candidates are likely not going to return back to practicum, and I don’t get to say goodbye to my students face-to-face at the end of the term. Moreover, my trip to CAfLN in Edmonton has been postponed (aka. cancelled) and it looks like my trip to London, Ontario will be no longer with recent decisions on CSSE 2020 held at Western University and thus my presentation at OTESSA 2020 is unlikely to happen.

Although these are missed opportunities and it has not been a great school year to build my CV via conferencing, I am content. These are first world problems. I have my health. I have my family. I have my kid. My friends are incredible and I get check-ins everyday and my PLN and colleagues are exceptional. I’m not lonely, but I do need to #getoutside. Mental health will be something that we all need to be mindful of and some things are out of our control. Everyone is trying their best. STAY HOME. Stay safe. Wash your hands.

EMBRACE SOCIAL DISTANCING. #FLATTENTHECURVE

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