In a Timely Manner

End of Week 20 – August 2, 2020 – A good cup of coffee

This blog post has NOTHING to do with coffee, but it’s more about the feeling you get when you have an excellent cup of coffee (especially first thing in the morning). When something happens to you at the right time… aka. in a timely manner… you have to write about it. It’s time for my weekly blog, but also I’m also practicing my WordPress skills. I’m teaching a course in the fall on reflective practice, inquiry, and e-Portfolio.

This blog post includes a few tweets from yesterday. I appreciate being tagged in a tweet, particularly by someone from my PLN (professional learning network). I was one of 10 educators identified by Tim Cavey @MisterCavey who have overcame adversity as educator in the field of education. Tim is also the creator and moderator of Teachers on Fire Podcast @TeachersOnFire and he has interviewed hundreds of educators. To be one of ten chosen for this blog post, it feels amazing to be seen.

I quote tweeted the blog post. How could I not? I was taken a back, truthfully. Being an educator is challenging to say the least. There is lots of politics, plenty of conflicting agendas, and many challenges with trust, equity, and good decision making. That said, there were many good people in the system and I appreciate those who created space for me to grow and learn. Over time, one outweighed the other.

I just happened to be scrolling through my Twitterfeed and saw a few of amazing and inspirational tweets and Tim’s tweet completed the hat trick. I read the blog post and took a moment to pause. Wow. First, he remembered my story. Second, he framed my story so beautifully. Finally, he could see my story and recognized from all of his interviews that this is more common than not. I replied back to Tim’s tweet and said…

I see a bit of my story embedded in the 9 other stories. I appreciate the theme of hope & resilience. Struggle is part of the experience. The goal is to overcome. Thank you for this inspirational blog. I hope others can see, “Anything is possible.” You just have to believe it.

It’s true. Each story was a little bit different, but I could identity with each story. I could empathize with each educator highlighted in Tim’s blog post and how they felt and what they experienced. I am not a victim, although it may have felt that way at the time. I will admit, teaching is not for the faint of heart. You need to really know your why and be driven by what’s important to you. I am focussed on student learning and well-being. My provocation: How can I improve the student learning experience?

Tim replies back to my response with a couple of other responses and shifting one’s mindset. I love these questions. (1) What can I learn from this? (2) How does this serve me and others? Although my departure has completely disrupted the trajectory of my career and it has not been an easy to transition from K-12 educator to university instructor and teacher educator, I look back at 10-years and believe that everything was meant to happen exactly the way it did. My reasons for leaving K-12 and all the events that happened before the event, during the event, and after the event were a gift. I only have gratitude. I had much to learn and I am learning. That’s the gift. TY.

#pandemicreflection #perservance #resilience #grit

Digging In Deep

End of Week 19 – July 27, 2020 – Made a decision

I have to remember to be kind to self as I take the time for INFORMATION GATHERING. It’s a period of time that I take when I am trying to make sense of something. I’m in the middle of transformation. Change. Anyone taking the time to shift one’s practice, life, or mindset, you have to take a moment to reflect on why and what’s at stake. I made a decision and now I am digging in deep. For the last 10-years, I’ve been scanning, experimenting, and exploring. I felt at one time that I was in too deep and had to get out. I spent time digging myself out, redefining self, and rediscovering my love and passion for education to re-establish MY WHY.

It was a crazy pedagogical journey. I learned a tonne, finished my dissertation, and met so many wonderful people. My eyes were open to the possibilities. I had the privilege of looking at education from the ground, at the 50,000 feet point of view, and now I stand beside K-12 education as a teacher educator. Of all the things that could have been, I did not expect to be here. Moreover, I did not anticipate a pandemic and have the great fortune to reflect on what’s important to me and why. It’s been a struggle. I had troubles of letting go of what was and too scared to JUMP IN to see what was possible. I was uncertain and uncommitted. Now, I am jumping in.

It was time to dig in deep again. As a result, I wanted to start learning more about what I am passionate about and delving deep into Indigenous Mathematics, look at content knowledge acquisition, assessment, and leadership practices. What does it mean to be an academic? This is also part of my learning journey. I am very grateful to be back in the classroom and I love the flexibility and autonomy of my work. However, digging deep often leads to messy moments. That’s why I love this image above. Seeing the light through the trees. My friend will remind me to “be brave.”

#pandemicreflections #bebrave #jumpingin

The Perfect Dismount

End of Week 18 – July 19, 2020 – Pandemic Reflections

It’s a good feeling to know that you have landed the perfect dismount. Well… not perfect en route, but landed on both feet. The angst over the last two weeks brought me to the question, what’s important to me? I had look at self in a critical way and observe past behaviour to make a decision that I would feel content and satisfied with. I stayed loyal to my manifesto and things are falling into place. If anything, I am grateful to have friends who I can confide in and who will provide unconditional support. It’s been a 10-year journey of transformation and this chapter is ending.

Although I felt a bit heavy earlier today, I had a very joyful day yesterday. I took the day off and spent the day with my daughter. During that time, I read a short book on the joy of beading, enjoyed the sun, and received a small gift from a friend. It all seemed very serendipitous. To me, this was a signal that things were going in the right direction. As much as I am very pandemic compliant, I have enjoyed this time to reflect and identify what’s important to me. My 19th wedding anniversary is coming and we are not celebrating, my 50th birthday is on the horizon, and my baby is in Grade 12. I am starting all over again. This is the end of the third chapter of my life.

What’s important to me:

  1. My kid.
  2. My health.
  3. My dog.
  4. My family.
  5. My friends.
  6. My learning.
  7. My service.
  8. My teaching.
  9. My quality of life.
  10. My career.

What do I value:

  1. Learning
  2. Reflection
  3. Lifting others
  4. Connection
  5. Community
  6. Integrity
  7. Honesty
  8. Contribution
  9. Safety
  10. Security

What I do:

  1. Math educator
  2. Teacher educator
  3. Researcher
  4. Writer/Blogger
  5. Curler

What interests me:

  1. how people acquire knowledge
  2. how people lead and systems
  3. local Indigenous peoples and perspectives
  4. small communities in Northern BC
  5. math efficacy and math pedagogy

Everyone is on a journey. Mine is not “traumatizing” by any means, but it’s my pedagogical journey and the one that I struggle with. What I know and understand is that everything must be intentional, aligned to what you value, and it provokes your passion. My lesson is, you don’t do things for others… you do it for yourself… and in return, you serve others. Do the work and you will be seen. Do what you love and take risks. Connect yourself to the right people who will help you rise as you do the same for others. I feel so inspired and grateful for those who support me and recognize my work. Be present and enjoy the gifts that are around you. As one of my friends had said to me, “I am so glad you can see the brighter side of things.”

Creatures of Habit

Huh. The morning after. I will admit, we are creatures of habit. This is truly unfortunate. I feel like… here I am again. What does it mean to negotiate and standing in your values? What’s important to me? How can I contribute to the whole as a team player? What I am learning is, it’s a fine balance between self-interest and the greater good. Some rules need to be broken. Sometimes you need to compromise. Sometimes it’s just not going to be what you’ve imagined or hoped for. This is what I have not considered in the first two scenarios where I have been here before.

I hate feeling like I am taken advantaged of or being screwed. I hate feeling like I have no power or voice. I hate comparing myself to others. I hate that when I feel like there is no transparency and I am not valued, I am like a bull in a china shop, I draw a clear line, and exit right. It’s almost heading to that scenario again. How can I make this outcome different? I can’t see the big picture, but that may be because I am trapped with what is and I cannot see what will be. I feel so angry and discouraged that all I can see is what’s in front of me. I wished that there could be more transparency but we are all human. I’d like to believe that we are trying to do the best we can.

Can we do better? As I begin to reflect, I wonder how I can do better. What can I do differently? My instincts are speaking to me right now and I’m holding myself back (for a moment) to think about engaging in the alternative. I think back at my first two scenarios and I was given an alternative route. Both times I rejected them because I was so determined by my bottom line. Is this how I make things different? Am I able to change my trajectory by changing my mindset? Of course Carol Dweck would endorse the #growthmindset mantra. I have a skill set and I have a vision.

What would work best for me and the greater good? I take a deep breath and I know what I need to do to make things better. I can make this a hat trick and just do what I have done before. I’m thinking not. It’s time to compromise, negotiate, and find a middle ground that works. Is it perfect? Nothing is perfect. Will it work? I hope so.

META-MOMENT: I love the power of reflection. Whether if you blog or journal privately, there is something magical about the writing process and blogging that helps me to figure out what’s important to me, to celebrate, and to share. TY.

#pandemicreflections #lifeisajourney #lessonstobelearned

Been Here Before

End of Week 17 – #COVID19BC – July 11, 2020

Oh my goodness… first of all, this is the second stock photo in a row that I’ve used as part of my blog reflections. And secondly, this looks like a photo taken in the fall and well… the weather that we’ve been having on the coast has been very fall like. So, this photo is pretty accurate in terms of how I am feeling and what I will be writing about.

Very much like deja vu… I have been here before. UGH. It’s not a good feeling. I feel like god is testing me. I’ve been here twice before. If I really think about it, I’ve probably been here many times before but I can recall two situations much like what I am experiencing now. It’s not a good feeling and there is something here I have to learn.

Sigh… I don’t want to be in this situation but I feel like I have to step up, stand up for myself, and have voice. In the two times before, I just want to look out, ask anybody on what to do, and just create an ultimatum. All I can here is the song that says, “should I stay or should I go now.” In the end, I think the decision has to be mine.

This time I want to handle the situation differently. In past, I was really frustrated and disappointed about the situation. I had no hope and felt like if things did not go my way, I had to step away. But if I was truthful, I did not have my voice either that stated my point of view, hopes, and dreams. I did not stand up for what was important to me. I always took the approach that things were happening to me. It felt powerless.

I guess that’s how I got my power back… by walking away. The machine just carries on and I walk away still feeling frustrated and disappointed… but also angry too. Who does that serve? I’m blogging to make sense of this behaviour and taking a moment to reflect and unpack my thinking, the situation, and what I want to do about it.

Right now, I hold the cards. I don’t want to live inauthentically. I want to be a team player and be accommodating, but to what end? I know that my end point is the moment where I would be losing myself, my integrity, and my identity. Why am I back here again? Gah… it’s because I haven’t learned what I am suppose to learn.

I hate being here. Some would say it’s about “being selfish” while others said it’s about “standing in your values and beliefs.” I keep looking out with hopes of finding the answer but what I am learning is, the answer comes from within. This is the painful part. What do I value? What do I believe in? What do I want? And, why?

I think this is the struggle. THIS is why I am back here. What is important to me and why? Am I willing to stand up? Am I willing to accept the feedback and the potential backlash that comes as a consequence of my actions? It’s so easy to stand up for others and big picture principles, but can I do it for myself? I guess I’ll soon find out.

#pandemicreflections #icandothis #lookwithin

My Manifesto

Mid-Week #pandemicreflection – July 7, 2020

I’ve been working on this for a few days… my manifesto. Was it coincidental or full intention? Things seemed to come together today. From conversations to emails, I managed to create my manifesto. As mentioned in my last blog entry, my friend and I decided to make a manifesto for the upcoming year. I realized that I needed a new vision. I needed something to work towards that is driven by my why. I reflected on what was important to me. My mission and purpose have not changed. I’ve been here before. Where I am going has changed. It was a serendipitous day with ups and downs but I am happy with what I have developed. I hope this resonates with you.

I love…

  • teaching and learning
  • people
  • connectedness

I believe…

  • that anything is possible
  • in relationships
  • in trust and respect

I value…

  • competence
  • community
  • collaboration

I am committed to….

  • enhancing student learning experiences
  • asking questions and taking risks to lift people
  • reading, writing, and research… keep learning!!!

My focus is on learning… for self and others. I will do whatever it takes to develop a sense of belonging, place of learning, and collective efficacy where we can aspire, imagine, and achieve our fullest potential with joy, kindness, and compassion.

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

Time Does Not Wait

End of Week 15 – #COVID19BC – June 29, 2020

Oh my gosh… we are at the end of another month and we are heading toward Phase 3 in BC. My kid and I went back to Prince George for a few days last week to say hello to friends, be situated in place during virtual convocation at UNBC, and checking in on my place to see how things are going. Of course, it was also an opportunity to be with my kid over a period of time, for my kid to drive on the highway, and for my kid to check out where I live and work. I had a wonderful trip. From Tuesday to Saturday, it was a mom and kid immersion. I loved it. It was a great way to spend quality time with her.

Now we are back on the Sunshine Coast. We bookended our time and she wanted to be back by Sunday. Life did not stop when I headed back to Prince George. I continued to work and learn… virtually, of course. We spent some time checking out Prince George and shopping. My kid had “the best” shopping experience at Walmart. She got the PS4 and panini press she wanted for quite some time. She also got a pink electric toothbrush and some socks. For me, I jumped in and got a 3-quart Instapot for my apartment and some socks too. It was fun integrating work with play and parenthood. I attended a few virtual meetings in addition to some webinars. I watched one last week from BC Campus.

The session is one in a series of Indigenous speakers. I love serendipity because I really felt that I was meant to watch and listen to this webinar. I watched one the week before about a beader who beads as a form of healing and self-understanding. Her story was beautiful and I loved how she was finding her way back to her ancestors. Her earrings were gorgeous and I appreciated how each creation was an original because she would bead with passion and purpose. She beaded from a place of inspiration and storytelling. She always wanted to bead from a good place. Last week’s webinar was about Indigenous spirituality and mental health. This speaker spoke about his story and connecting with an elder in his community, learning more about smudging, and being authentic to self. I loved his story of transformation and his determination to return back to school.

What resonated with me in his talk was the idea that “time does not wait.” Him saying that about himself and his journey tapped my shoulder. He wanted to learn more about his heritage and culture from this elder. Smudging played an important role for him personally and spiritually as he wrestled with his mental health. He was such a happy guy on the webinar. It was proof that what he was doing was aligned to his purpose and being. He wanted to “acquire knowledge” and was driven to learn more. That resonated with me as well. You have to find what you are passionate about and understand why it’s important to you. When you do, then you will be inherently motivated to learn more and delve deep. His alignment to his purpose was so clear… and time will not wait.

There was a commitment to ACTION. I liked that. He was so determined with his mission and vision that nothing would get in his way. I loved that he wanted to learn more from the elder and how smudging impacted his life. It’s these critical moments when one is woke to do something different or take a new trajectory because it’s the right thing to do. It does not have to be something that everyone else is doing. It seems like he was listening to his heart and following the beat to his own drum. I love that conviction. He demonstrated his agency and embraced it. “Time stops for no one.” This is so true. Yet, I feel that I have been burning time as I wait or hope for this woke-moment. I guess I could say that watching this webinar was a moment. It served as a time for reflection.

The pandemic experience had lent itself to major reflection, personally and professionally. Much like blogging, I have to come to a place of inspiration so that I can share my thinking and my story. In some ways, blogging helps me to sort out my thoughts and make them visible. In other ways, I hope that others will ready my blog and share similar experiences to realize that they are not alone in their journey. Blogging is one way that supports my mental health and I am grateful to have this platform to share some of my thoughts and experiences to shed some light but also document my pedagogical journey. I also do this on Twitter and other social media feeds. Expressing myself digitally brings me some solace as an extrovert leading an introverted life as a scholar wannabe.

I am building the plane in the air. My kid has also taught me some lessons during our trip to Prince George. I realized that passion comes from a place of purpose and sometimes your best work comes from that drive. Being provoked is not a bad outcome. In fact, it wakes you up and tampers with what you truly believe in. The fire is stoked and you are tested on what’s important to you and why. If you can’t answer these right away, it’s time to self-assess and reflect once again to get that clarity and make a new plan… a new strategy… to get where you need to be. That’s what I learn from the BC Campus speakers and my kid. I am being sent these messages for a reason. It’s happening. What’s important to me and why? My fire is being stoked and good things are about to happen.

#pandemicreflections #findingmyway #alignment

Cognitive Space

End of Week 14 – June 20, 2020

It’s official. I have completed 8 weeks of my #daily5kchallenge. I am pretty sure that it’s a habit. I miss a day and I’m pining to get back on the pavement to walk. It’s been nice to walk during the day with friends and in the evening with my dog, Sally. I also appreciate the time I have to myself to walk and THINK. I love the idea that I am in a job where I am paid to think and be innovative. I have agency and autonomy. I am back to teaching and I love working collaboratively with like-minded people and students. I have it pretty good. I love being home with my kid, but I am realizing that she is growing up and she too likes her independence. She will be in grade 12 in the fall and she really wished that she had the chance to do her N-drivers licence test. That would be pure freedom for her. Thank you COVID-19. I have a bit of time left with her as mom.

The end of Week 14 of #COVID19BC. The numbers are low in our province, but the fear and the probability of catching the virus are still present until there is a vaccine or effective treatment. It freaks me out to think about the possibility of catching the virus. I was much more vigilant when I was living alone in my apartment in Prince George. Admittedly, I was getting a bit crazy living alone without human contact. I felt lucky to have friends who would call and check in with me daily. My #mentalhealth was a priority for me. I spent 8 weeks in isolation before I decided to return back to the Sunshine Coast to reunite with my daughter. By doing so, my probability of catching the virus increased exponentially. I know that I am in a small community, but Sechelt is adjacent to the Lower Mainland and there are more people in this house than living alone in my apartment.

My mental health is 100% better and balanced by having face-to-face contact on the Sunshine Coast and by being in Stage 2 of the pandemic, I have connections with friends in my community. We go for walks and I get outside more often and having great edu-conversations with others as we walk along the oceanside. I can’t complain. What I did not realize was my cognitive-paralysis. I guess i did, but did not attribute this phenomena to the pandemic. I think that there might be a correlation though. I sat through a couple of meetings last week and there were several mentions of some of my colleagues “struggling” with research due to increased service time, learning how to teach remotely online, and having to work and stay at home (which may include teaching your own children at home, minimal wifi connection, or lack of tech capacity or capabilities).

For me, I spent the first 8-weeks in isolation and in fear. Missing my teacher candidates and their final year with us in the program, yet had to create asynchronous learning opportunities to complete the term… for self… but also I hope that helped for some of my students as we transitioned into the “new norm.” Coming back to the Sunshine Coast has been great for my spirit as a mom, but also for my sleep habits. It might be the ocean air, but I’m sleeping from midnight to 8am versus 4am to noon. This is a good thing. As I am learning how to be “at home” on the Coast and working remotely, my COGNITIVE SPACE has finally cleared up. My direction and purpose are clear and I am ready to get to work. That said, I am a million miles behind. I say that, but it’s all relative. I hate the idea of catching up, but I managed with my #daily5kchallenge… I can do the same for my work. My mind is free and settled with the new norm. I feel good. It’s time to write. I’m ready.

#pandemicreflections #noticethedetails #bekindtoself

Situating Self

End of Week 13 – Stuck in Transition

Oh my geebs… It’s June 15th. MID-JUNE?!? Time is really flying by. I need to get out of the “new norm” and create a new, NEW NORM (for me). Yikes. I must be enjoying my time too much on the Sunshine Coast. We have ended Week 13 of #COVID19 in BC and well into Week 14. I’m behind on my weekly blog, but realized that much relies on inspiration. I have to listen sometimes. My inspiration came to me on Saturday… “Situating Self”… and life has iterated evidence for that theme over and over again for me over the past few days. Where am I? Where am I going to be? Where am I going?

So here I am… on Monday… writing Friday’s blog. I am definitely in a state of transition. I’ve been here for quite some time and finding the space to move forward, create self, and re-situating myself in what is. We are back here again. I cannot believe it. Actually, my mode of being or “plan of attack” is to GO WITH THE FLOW. But what I am realizing as I am moving along the current is, I have to paddle too and provide some direction to where I am going. This will require some visioning, imagination, and commitment.

Seriously… I am in transition… which contributes to my state of paralysis and productivity. I had the pleasure of watching a tenure track presentation on teaching and research. I love serendipity as this presentation dealt with identity and research. This presentation tapped my shoulder in terms of figuring out who I am, what is worth researching, and situating self in research. This is what I am faced with, which I’m sure that every researcher is faced with to some extent. I love being here on the Sunshine Coast with my kid and dog; and being situated in place and community. I being close to the ocean and listening to the waves. The coastal air is clean and refreshing. I love where I live.

My work is somewhere else. I love the people in this community and the work I engaged in. I am learning and wish to continue challenging myself in ways that are interesting, intriguing, and provocative in the realm of BC education. I feel lucky to have had a career in K-12 teaching secondary math, multiple terms of service as school trustee, and now I am at the university involved in teacher education and graduate studies. I had an incredible opportunity in the last 2-years contributing to educational change and redesign at the school of education and I feel that I am part of this community. I appreciate being back in Northern British Columbia. This is where I was born and raised. I can see the potential of what can be, but I have to understand self more to venture forward.

Are things perfect? No. Are things in my control? Yes and no. Am I certain about the future? Absolutely not. Do I have good people in my life? Yes I do. Everyday is a learning day and I often get stalled or hesitate as I embark on something new. I know that I am OK and I can ride the wave, a bit. I also have to steer the ship sometimes to to ensure that I am making some progress that is of my doing and choice. That said, I will not force anything to happen. That never works. I just need to listen, be kind to self, and take a step forward here and there to understand my place to situate self. I am in two places. My life is in two places. My work is currently undefined and thus, that’s my work to define it, imagine it, and provide direction for it. How will I situate myself in my research?

#pandemicreflections #research #identity #clarity