pandemic reflections

Getting Things Done

Slowly but surely I am getting things done. What an incredible feeling. For awhile I was feeling bogged down. Just take a moment to read my “One Month Check In” post and you’ll get a sense of how I was feeling yesterday. A quick summary would be… it could have been better and the glass is half full. If anything, the last few days have been a wake-up call to change my habits and define what’s really important to me.

Thank goodness for critical friends to slap us in the face and wake you up. I am so fortunate to have a few critical friends. I value their friendship and feedback. It’s so easy to focus on the little things that make us mad or angry. But, you can also focus on the little things that make you happy. I needed to so that today. The past few days have been a wake up call and I need to answer. I need to take care of myself.

I cleaned up my office, my desktop, and my dishes… and life got a little bit better. I am able to get the little things off the side of my desk so that I can make room to focus on the bigger things. I needed to shift my gears even more today by making myself go out for a walk tonight. With each step of action and kindness, I am moving in the right direction. I cannot believe how good it feels to get something done. It feels great!!!

This is a gratitude blog. I needed to do it. I’m feeling good. I’m ready for what’s next.

#pandemicreflections #selfcare #mentalhealth

One Month Check In

Week 31 – October 19, 2020 – Still Overdue

What can I say? I’m catching up. It’s neither here nor there. As long as the work gets done by the end of the term, I am ok with that expectation. I spent so much time in August preparing for September to make sure that the program had a strong start with orientation, I am finding that I have been catching up ever since. I am online for a long time everyday during the week that by Saturday I’m pooped. My brain is unwilling to look at the big screen to work, to read, or blog. I can’t do it. By Sunday, I’ve gathered some sense of self such that I might tinker with some work, but would likely engage in “real human activities” like grocery shopping, dishes, and laundry.

I will admit, teaching online from home is a blessing but it’s also a marathon. My life at home is blended with my professional life. I thought the two were overlapping quite a bit when I used to go to work and bring work home, but now there is very little differentiating between the two worlds. As a result, I am mentally trapped in a vortex online with teaching classes, learning activities, and meetings. I’ve picked up my old normal habits into my new normal (i.e. not eating lunch, ignoring my family, and putting myself second or third in my list of priorities). I really need to find a balance of what is to make this online teaching experience during COVID-19 sustainable.

Furthermore, I’m learning how to teach online and figuring out how to honour “People, Place, and Land” on a digital platform. Teaching and learning are incredible acts of VULNERABILITY. I am learning how to park my ego and lean into the discomfort. I am learning how not to be too hard on myself and be reasonable with my expectations. I am not going to pretend. I am not the expert. I am doing my best. I have to be satisfied with that and keep my mind open to new possibilities. I am the learner. I have to remember that. It’s more than just “being seen,” but it’s about taking risks, being vulnerable, and delving in deep into what you are passionate about.

Two weeks ago, I asked the teacher candidates of our renewed program 3 questions:

  1. What is your biggest learning so far about teaching and learning in your first month of the B.Ed. program experience?
  2. What is the expected learning so far?
  3. What have you learned about yourself?

BTW: Question 2 should have said, “What is the UNEXPECTED learning so far?”


The instructors asked our teacher candidates these 3 questions (and I will revise for the next iteration to the correct question), but we are also asking ourselves the same questions. What is my biggest learning so far? I AM HUMAN. I make mistakes. Lots of them. My job is to learn from them, help others, and do better next time. That’s all I can do. What is my UNEXPECTED learning so far? A LEARNING COMMUNITY CAN BE CREATED ONLINE. We imagined going outside and gathering as a circle to start and end our B.Ed. program. Due to the pandemic, plans changed dramatically and we started “Our Learning Community” online with 4-days of orientation. Although we started the program not as planned being situated on the land in place, the renewed program is exceeding my expectations so far. What have I learned about myself? BE HUMBLE. I have to be kind to self and take care of myself. Self-care is key. Sitting in front of the screen as long as I do is not good. I need to connect with people, place, and land from where I am while I build my community online. Focus on gratitude.

Thankful in 2020

Week 30 – October 12, 2020 – Canadian Thanksgiving

We had our special dinner yesterday. It was unusual for different reasons. One, the stores were sold out of turkey. My kid was willing to step away from sticking to her vegetarian diet to have turkey, but no worries. There were not to be had. Second, I was prepared to make veggie pot pie as the main course, but there was no pastry left in stores either. What?!? This is karma. Shopping and problem solving in the grocery store, I decided that we would have sockeye salmon (and prawns). My kid loves salmon and is willing to eat seafood from time to time. My sister informs me that she is flexitarian. Oy. All that I knew was, I wanted to make Thanksgiving dinner. In the end, it was delicious nonetheless. Lots of food. Lots of veggies (salmon and prawns).

I am so happy to have today off. My brain shutdown for the weekend. Even if I wanted to, and I did, I will not sit in front of the screen. I get so overwhelmed with big screen time for teaching and learning that I I couldn’t even blog until today. This is my fourth blog of the day and now I’m caught up. Woohoo. Feels great. Yes, blogging is my choice and my work, but I love to blog and write about what is. It’s comforting and fulfilling. What am I really thankful for? I am so thankful to be on the Sunshine Coast with my daughter. It’s been strange coming back to the Sunshine Coast this summer (during the pandemic) because everyone knows I’m working in Prince George and expected me to be back in the fall. I’m still here during my kid’s graduating year. Only the pandemic allowed me to stay on the coast, be with my kid, and continue to work full time, online remotely. HUGE GRATITUDE. She even wanted Crocs, just like me.

Don’t Look at the Prize Table

End of Week 21 and 22 – August 15, 2020

Wow. You know when you are in the “new normal” when time is just flying by. I cannot believe that I missed my weekly blog entry last week and I cannot believe that it’s mid-August. Here is a photo from the archives. Seriously. This snapshot was taken from when I played competitive curling in high school. The title reads “Knocks Fryer Out.” Brilliant. I skipped this high school team from Prince Rupert and we won this provincial playdown and came runner up in another tournament. It was a great season to end my high school experience, but what I did not realize was how much I would learn from this sport that would extend beyond the sport itself.

“Learning takes patience and time.”

I love this First Peoples Principles of Learning, “Learning takes patience and time.” You are always learning and you don’t know when you are going to use that information and why. My attention in recent weeks brought me back to what I know and understand from curling. I need to imagine that I am skipping a team in a bonspiel with huge hopes of winning. I am reminded of the big idea of “Don’t look at the prize table.” What am I focused on? ” I’m led back to Alasdair McIntyre’s “goods internal to the practice” and Carol Dweck’s “growth mindset.” We can do this and I need to stay focused on the game. Shake off the missed shots. Utilize people’s strengths.

Don’t focus too much on the prize. That is the goods external. It’s a balance between the details and the big picture. Ultimately, we want to place well, learn from our mistakes, and work together as a team. We each have a role and we each have strengths to bring to the table. In this case, I have to take the lead even though I do not have a formal leadership role. This is my strength: leading. There are some pretty incredible projects we are working on and my team is making it happen. When I can look at my work like a curling game, I have faith that we will be at the prize table.

#pandemicreflection #leadership #teamwork

Creating a Manifesto

End of Week 16 – #COVID19BC – July 5, 2020

Wow. Four months living the “new normal” of #socialdistancing and we are heading into Week 17. I can see how one would start losing count. I have also started my second personal pandemic challenge… #trackingmyfood. My first challenge to self was #daily5kchallenge and I am managing to keep that up, so now it’s time to start another one. It’s half-way through my non-teaching term at the university and I have been enjoying my time on the Sunshine Coast to be with my kid and be in my house.

As we move from Phase 1 to 2 and Phase 2 to three, I love connecting with a few friends to go on walks, I love taking my dog out for walks, and I love driving through Starbucks to get a refreshing drink. I am spending more money right now and I feel like I am almost back to “regular life” with exception to high-five’ing, hugging, and eating in restaurants. I do miss those latter activities. I like being with people. I love teaching face-to-face. I guess I won’t be doing that this fall. Classes will be online.

I am having a meta-moment… I am so fascinated by the idea of how I get inspired to write and create. I started writing this blog entry a few days ago and I am ignoring a good chunk of what I wrote to write THIS. Hmm… I definitely have to be in the right frame of mind to blog on my reflections. I found out my job assignment last week and I’ve been delving right into some online asynchronous courses and books to LEARN and start preparing for my courses. I am super stoked with what I will be teaching.

Although, I spent the last two months I spent mulling over research and figuring out what’s important to me and why, I am so grateful to have this time to reflect and CREATE A MANIFESTO so that I can jump into the next chapter of my life. I had a vision that I had for quite some time… and well, I realized that vision a couple of years ago. So what’s next for me? I realized that’s what’s been missing and it’s time to create a new vision. I’ve been grappling with what I love, what I believe in, and what I will commit to. I am happy that I am back teaching and visualizing what’s next for me.

I’ve been learning about design thinking, e-portfolios, and inquiry. I have much more I would like to read, but that’s a skill that I am continuing to develop. I need to connect my next actions on my why and I love what I have learned so far… be a maker or creator… and share your stuff. Make sure that your audience is authentic and that whatever you research, it has to be something that you care deeply about. This all may seem obvious so some, but for me, my next steps are about developing my self-efficacy, creating a new sense of self, and remaining intrinsically motivated.

My friend and I have committed to writing a MANIFESTO for the upcoming year. We chat a lot about selves, education, and what’s next. Our conversations often entails a lot of sense-making opportunities, micro-venting, and active listening. It’s super nice to have someone in my professional and personal world who is a critical friend. I will take the approach that entails design thinking and inquiry for this manifesto. I cannot wait for what I will imagine and what will manifest. It’s time for the next chapter.

#pandemicreflections #lookingintothefuture #cantwait