One of Six – Collaborative

Oh boy… here it goes. My mini-blog series challenge begins with COLLABORATIVE as my first word of six to describe my professional learning for 2018/19. Thank you @RosePillay1 for the challenge and @JanetChowMSc for the nudge. Yay for #bcedchat to create THIS professional learning opportunity. What’s more challenging is the lack of technology. I’m writing this blog entry from my phone. My laptop died. My desktop is in the shop. My new laptop is mid-set up and will be heading to the shop. And well, it was between my phone or iPad. My iPad is pretending to be my pseudo laptop but my phone has my pictures. So, let’s blog from my phone. Yay!!! (Not my preference but I will overcome this first world problem.)

It is very serendipitous to be blogging from my phone because now I can scroll through my pics to select a sample of collaborations I had this year to visually describe why this school year was COLLABORATIVE with respect to my professional learning. This school year has been a year of CHANGE (professionally for me) to say the least. I got a one year contract to teach full time at UNBC in Prince George. I ended my two terms of public service as school trustee. I stopped math tutoring. I was no longer a sessional instructor at SFU or St. Mark’s College. And, I moved away from my little family to Prince George to teach at UNBC. This could have potentially been a lonely and isolating school year for me. Yay for professional learning and people.

The first photo is me with a few of the members of the #bcedchat co-moderator team. I can’t believe I joined that team 6-years ago and I’m hanging in there regardless of role changes. This is an incredible team. Collegial and essentially a group of learners. I feel very honoured to work with these K-12 BC educators to facilitate learning online with BC educators and beyond. There may be a time I might “grow out of” this group like I did with the BCAMT (BC Association of Math Teachers) Executive Committee. I loved this group of educational leaders and learners as well. But sometimes it’s OK to move on to other things and make room for others to join.

The second photo is one of many selfies with my friend and colleague Caroline. We both started teaching more than 25-years ago as secondary math teachers in the same school. Over time, we took different paths in education. I call it the “Grass-Fed Butter / Margarine Phenomena.” Regardless of route or role, we’ve manage to see eye-to-eye on education. She’s been one of my CRITICAL FRIENDS I am very grateful for and we make time to see each other when I’m back home on the Sunshine Coast to go on one of our EDU-WALKS. Love them and won’t miss them. The third photo also shows two more NEW critical friends who I met at a Open Schools BC planning session on making math videos for Grades 10-12. They took a risk with me to develop a math activity and video that focussed on Indigenous Education first then finding the “math embedded.” We put the First Peoples of Principles of Learning at the heart of what we were doing, knowing it would look different from the other 4 video/math activities that did the reverse thinking in their planning. I was so proud of this work. It was risky but we moved forward together as non-Indigenous Educators. We consulted with the UBC Museum of Anthropology and knowledge keepers in our local communities. It’s not perfect and we know that. We are not the experts. We are learning. We have formed a bond that will continue in future and at events like the 2019 BCAMT Fall Conference.

The third photo is of me, Tracy and Robyn… and the fourth photo of me, Des, and Noelle. Both photos were taken in Kelowna. I first met Tracy online via Twitter. We met in Sechelt and became friends ever since. Robyn and I follow each other on Twitter as well. Tracy worked with Robyn this year in the same school. They formed a collaborative professional learning relationship and I had the opportunity to observe their classes one day while I was in Kelowna. That was super fun. I was working in Kelowna to collaborate with Des, Noelle, and a few others on a TC2 project on how to include Indigenous Education into a science resource. That was incredible. Any time you think that you are contributing, the gift in return is learning. I loved it. Des, Noelle, and I with a few others are also working on revising the FNESC (First Nations Education Steering Committee) Math Teachers’ Resource. That is another incredible collaborative learning opportunity for me and I am humbled.

Ok. Now I’m finally caught up with the correct photo. In the fifth photo (see above), is me and my colleagues, Deb and Gretchen, from UNBC. I call us “Charlie’s Angels.” I don’t think I would have survived the school year without these two. We work together as instructors in the School of Education, we’ve been on the BEd and MEd Renewal Committees together, and we attend conferences like NOIIE 2019 (Networks of a Inquiry and Indigenous Education) together. It’s great to find people who you work with to collaborate and learn together as we collectively move towards a common goal. Humbling but also motivating, supportive, and inspiring.

Another collaborative professional learning group I joined this year was @CIRCE_SFU Academic Council let by Dr. Gillian Judson (@perfinker) as seen in photo number 6. We meet online and we come from all over the world to talk about imaginative education and research. I am amazed by this group and I always leave the meeting recharged and inspired. You can’t help but learn. In the photo below, number 7 (and the last photo for this blog) is of Nina Pak Lui (@NPakLui) from Trinity Western University. She is a bundle of energy and created a mini-Network of me, her, and Gillian to use Dr. Judy Halbert’s and Dr. Linda Kaiser’s Spiral of Inquiry in an action research project looking at Assessment for Learning in higher education in partnership with Dr. Lorna Earl and CAfLN (Canadian Assessment for Learning Network). This is the beginning of a new collaboration with Nina and I look forward to learning and working with her on a few projects.

This is only a sample of collaborations I had this school year. I had many more. I had an incredible COLLABORATIVE professional learning year. I look forward to more this coming school year. Until then, I have 5 more mini-blogs to go. Woohoo!!!

Challenge Accepted

Where has the time gone? It’s been almost 2 weeks since the last weekly #bcedchat for this school year and Rose Pillay (@RosePillay1) challenged me to do a “mini blog” series that describes my year of professional learning. This was Question 3 of #bcedchat on June 30, 2019. We celebrated #bcedchat’s 6th Birthday. The chat was moderated by Janet Chow (@JanetChowMSc). I remembered that Rose challenged me. I first attempted scrolling through my Twitter handle, then through #bcedchat’s hashtag to find my 6 words. I gave up. So, I went to @bcedchat’s website to find the chat under “Archives” and voila. The scroll was way easier and I found the tweets that document the acceptance of Rose’s mini-blog series challenge. I never done a mini-blog series and I don’t think that I have ever posted tweets as part of my blog. There are always time for firsts. Thank you #bcedchat Storify for cataloguing our edu-chats. What you will see below is the conversation between Janet, Rose, and I. There are repetitive images because one is responding to the other. Nonetheless, challenge is accepted and a mini-blog series is coming (possibly done on my I-Pad because my laptop just died).

The Question:

My Answer:

The Compliment:

The Challenge:

The Consideration:

The Follow-Up:

Challenge Accepted:

The Criteria:

The Closer:

Twenty Three Points

Well this is an eye opener. I finally have the courage to join Weight Watchers (again)… but only online via the App. I’ve joined many times and was very successful in the 90’s, just before my marriage, and just before my doctorate. So, the program works but (obviously) you have to stick with it (for the rest of your life). I’m learning that. Struggled with the thought and I could not muster the strength to go back to counting points, even though I’ve tried many times since the beginning of my doctoral studies. At the time, my priorities change… and now, my post-doctoral self is asking for some change.

CHANGE. A daunting concept. It’s happening all of the time. Ironically, it’s the constant. The difference between some changes to others is the INTENTION. During my doctorate, I was more focused on my studies, survival, and sleep. Counting 23-points was very low on my priority list… and it shows. Forget about the Freshman 15. Think about the Doctorate XX. I don’t even want to put a number to it. For me, it’s at least a double digit.

Many times, I wanted to deal with my weight and energy levels but in a passive way… like it was going to happen on it’s own. Change is happening with very little intention (and totally not working in the direction that I had wanted or hoped for). The truth is, to change what you see on the “outside,” you have to change what’s on the “inside.” What do I mean by this? I can change my surroundings, the people I hang out with, and read a few books here and there, but NOTHING has changed until I change my PERCEPTION.

What I perceive matters. I guess this goes in tune with self-efficacy, growth mindset, and deliberate practice. However, what we perceive will dictate what we will see (and experience). Here’s an example. I go to McDonald’s now and again for convenience and comfort. I go there with my kid. I go there when I’m on the run (metaphorically speaking). I just joined Weight Watchers (after seeing Oprah in Vancouver). I wanted to for some time and she gave a special offer to those who came to her event. Why not?

Of course, I joined… downloaded the App… and did not count any points for at least a week. I was driving my kid to rugby, I was going out of time, and who had the time? Am I right? I’m just back in my “way of doing things.” I did not change my perception. When all was said and done, I look at some articles on the WW App and how this program works via the App. The program has changed over time and I tried using the App before… but failed (well, I never used it). I looked at the ZERO POINT food items. That has changed too. Once you start tracking and use the App, you realize that CARBS, etc. are “point heavy” thus motivates you to really consider the Zero Point foods and how to use them.

Early in my attempts to use the WW App, I was at rugby with my kid, staying over at my brother’s out of town, and needed to get something quick to eat (that I love). Of course, I got a McDonald’s Breakfast Meal #2 – Sausage and Egg McMuffin, hashbrown, and small orange juice. I really enjoy this meal and ALLOWED to eat this meal while on Weight Watchers, but I have to stay within my points. I’m allotted 23-points. To humour myself, I calculated the points of my favourite breakfast… and yes, it was also 23-POINTS!!!

This was an eye-opener. One meal equals my daily allowance!!! Yikes. My mind was tapped. I really had to think about this for a few days and really consider what’s important to me and why. Now I am on my “official” first week of WW… meaning, I’m tracking. I am focussed on Zero Point foods and I am really enjoying it. I’m enjoying the challenge of making foods with Zero Point ingredients and I made a wicked wonton with ground turkey breast meat, mushrooms, egg, green onions, and prawns. The only thing that counted for points were the wonton wrappers. Tastes great!!! WINNING!!!

I do return back to some of my “comfort foods” but I am rudely awakened by how much these foods don’t feel or taste good. My perception has shifted. It was a quick turnaround but I am really enjoying my non-fat yogurt and berries, boiled eggs, and coffee with soy milk. Who would have thought? Not me. So what’s the formula for change? A will. A want. A goal. A framework. An awakening. That’s the catalyst for change and now it’s about continuing with this new perception. I think this could work with almost anything, but it requires time, patience, and a willingness to try… with a WHY. My next step is walking.

Happy Birthday Mom

Today is a personal blog entry. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!! She would have been 82 years old today. I miss her greatly. I cannot believe that this photo (aka. Instagram memory) was taken 2-years ago. She looked great. She looked completely different when she passed away on February 27, 2018. She died from cancer in the liver and opted for Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID). Although it’s been only 16-months ago when we last spoke, I feel that she is with me everyday. I see her at everyday on my phone (see below) and I take screenshots of her when it’s 1:11 or 11:11. I feel like she’s saying “hi” to me.

I have a zillion of tasks to do but I find that “I’m on hold” when I feel the urge to blog. So, until I blog… NOTHING GETS DONE. Aside from seeing my mom everyday on my phone, I think about her all of the time. Just the other day at my twin brother’s new condo (with air conditioning), I said, “Mom would love this!!!” She would have. She loves AC. She would also love my brother’s condo. So new. So nice. Near her condo. Perfect location. Today I also thought of her because it rained. She would have appreciated a cooler day, so it rains on her birthday. CLASSIC. So I had to take a picture (see below).

I thought about blogging about my mom and deliberated if it would be appropriate to blog about her on my blog. Well, here I am. I’ve been wanting to write about my mom since she passed away. I tried many times last year, but I got overwhelmed. I could not do it. So, I parked that project, titled “20 days.” Even thinking about writing this blog entry brought up some emotions. I am grateful everyday that she was teaching and guiding me until her very last moments with me (and my family). She may have hated school, but she was the greatest TEACHER. Much of who I am and much of what I know are because of her. I still wonder, how she do it? She kept all 5 of us together. She was the nucleus of our family… and now we’re floating electrons.

Thank you mom for being you. Thank you for your strength. Thank you for your thoughtfulness, kindness, and love. You are so right… I can’t call you anymore. But I will stick to my commitment and write about you and your last 20 days. I only have gratitude. Love you always.

Evolution of My PLN

Tracy in the middle and Robyn on the right.

I am super excited to blog without feeling tethered to blogging daily or weekly. On the one hand, it’s a form of accountability. On the other hand, it did not lend to blogging at moments of inspiration. Oh yes, the allowing for the whimsy of writing. I miss that. You don’t know what you miss until you return back to it. I am very happy to do so.

My moment of inspiration comes from my short trip to Kelowna, BC. I stayed at my friends house for a few days. I met Tracy first online on Twitter via #bcedchat. She was friends with some of my friends from Langley, BC (who I’ve also met on Twitter via #bcedchat). I am very active on Twitter because I was able to find and create my PLN (Professional Learning Network). I was craving to find educators “like me.” Well, they didn’t have to be exactly like me, but folks I could have edu-chats with. I wonder if I had Twitter 10 years ago if I would have stayed in K-12 education. I established my PLN after I left public schools and joined the #bcedchat moderator team. I’ve never looked back.

I was so grateful to take the time to visit and stay with Tracy during my short visit. I was called to Kelowna for a meeting with TCsquared to brainstorm ways to indigenize some science learning resources. I could have just flown in that morning and fly out that night. I opted to make this one day meeting into a micro-professional-development-field-trip. I had a great meeting with those who participated in the TCsquared session and I enjoyed that I was somewhat embedded into Tracy’s daily family routines. The next day, I spend the day with my other friend Des who teaches at UBCO. I met Des on the Math K-9 Curriculum Development Team and I am grateful that she invites me along her edu-adventures. We spent the day at UBCO working on the FNESC Math Teacher Resource.

My last day in Kelowna, I went to Tracy’s school. I had the chance to observe her class, meet some of her colleagues, and briefly observe an SD23 Learning Community. It was all very interesting to me. I really enjoyed chatting with some of the EA’s, teachers, and administrators at her school. These are really informal conversations, but really I was more curious about what they were doing and why. My friend’s school is Lake Country… a rural area of the school district. I really enjoyed what I have learned but what struck me was meeting one of Tracy’s friends, Robyn. We “knew” each other on Twitter. She is a member of my PLN and vice versa. We meet face-to-face. It was very serendipitous.

What is more interesting to me is, I was just talking about this very phenomena… or “evolution” shall we say with social media (aka. my PLN)… with Matt, another colleague of Tracy’s. He was flipping crepes, but I was talking about how I know Tracy and how I found it weird to meet people from my PLN for the first time because you feel like you know them but you’ve never met them. That’s how Twitter has evolved for me. At first, it was about finding people who are in my tribe. Then Twitter was about sharing ideas, lifting others up, and connecting other teachers with other teachers (virtually). Now, it’s become an opportunity to make “real” connections face-to-face, sans the social formalities, and jumping right into a professional and collegial friendship. I would not have met all of the people I had today without Twitter. For that, I am super grateful.

Des on the left… and Noelle on the right (also met first on Twitter)

Collaborative Teaming

Week 38 (of 38) – June 10 to 14, 2019

This is my last weekly blog reflection for this school year. This marks the end of my teaching year at UNBC in the School of Education. It’s been an adventure to say the least. There was so much to learn professionally… pedagogically… and personally. Even though this blog entry marks “the end” of the school year, I suspect that I will continue to write (maybe not as regularly) until the fall term. The photo above marks the end of my school year. A black rectangle. This is what I would normally look at (with the student’s name in the centre of the screen) or my face when I taught my online course this spring term. Although I saw a few of my students briefly online, the cameras were off for my students throughout the course. Teaching synchronously online, teaching a course out of my subject specialty, and teaching a class I could not see were new experiences for me.

We had our last class on Wednesday where we had a role play as a collaborative summative assessment. It was AMAZING. All of our learning was leading up to this moment. Reading our textbook, having student led discussions, reading policy, and co-constructing the role play to make sense of the course content and find take-aways that were meaningful and actionable captured the essence of this course. I was so lucky to have students who were willing to play and take a risk with their learning to engage in learning experience where “there is no back row in this class.” (I love that. This was something one of my students had said.) We essentially shared our learning and engaged in sense-making together. I am very proud of what my class has accomplished.

For some reason, it was the right number of people in my class, the right amount of diversity and expertise, and the right disposition and people who were enrolled in the course to make this magic happen. I always looked forward to this class and challenged myself on how to make this a student-centred learning experience that is personalized, meaningful, and dialogical. I wanted to be the learner too… not just with what we were learning… but as an educator. I wanted to try out new ideas in terms of pedagogy and I wanted all of us to be mutually accountable for our actions and contribution. The class went very well and all of the students met expectations. Thank you for being you!!!

What I am grateful for the most was them reminding me what I do what I do. I love to teach. I love systems and processes. I love looking at the big picture and analyzing. I love co-constructing knowledge. I love it when my students have an “aha” (much like teaching high school math). I love how the course was about collaborative teams and we became a collaborative team. I love doing the meta. The last 8-weeks were difficult for me and 6 of them were with my class. They saved me. Teaching this class kept me grounded in my why. I feel stronger than ever, standing on my two feet, knowing that I had an impact on their learning and possibly their practice. Does that excite me? Yes it does!!!

Thank you spring session class. I really enjoyed teaching and learning with you. You are the last of my “new” at UNBC. I am sure there there are more “new” experiences ahead of me, but I am so thankful when I get a comment from one student that said, “I thought this course would have been dry” to another comment that said, “This is probably one of my favourite courses I’ve taken.” You have made my day!!! I’m not sure it’s because you are all educators or if you were just willing to play with me, but being together with you in this course was perfectly timed for me. All I can say is, “right back at you.”

Returning Back

Week 37 (of 38) – June 3 to 7, 2019

The week is almost over and YES… I’m writing my weekly blog of reflection one day early. Why not? Most times I’m a week late with my weekly blog of reflections. Often I need time to reflect, synthesize, and realized the so what. Much has happened already this week. I wrote an EXTRA blog entry on Convocation 2019 at UNBC and it was a beautiful ceremony, day, and experience. That made an impression on me. One more week in Prince George before returning back to the Sunshine Coast and I had the pleasure of helping out and supporting my colleague with a northern initiative.

On Monday and Tuesday the UNBC School of Education hosted the 2nd Annual Northern Small Schools Think Tank under the leadership of UNBC BEd Coordinator Deb Koehn, guidance of Dr. Susan Crichton from UBCO, and supported by Dr. Leyton Schenellert from UBC and Dr. Paige Fisher from VIU. Of course, as part of the UNBC School of Education, I will support Deb Koehn and this academic team to facilitate 2-days of learning from tech work, to fetching things, to participating in Think Tank activities and announcements.

Over 40 attendees came to the Northern Small Secondary Schools Think Tank at UNBC. It’s a spin-off from the Small Secondary Schools Think Tanks hosted in the Okanagan and Kootenays. It was so wonderful to hear “the cases.” First, we heard from Rod Allen, Interim Superintendent of SD57 (and super great guy) who FaceTimed in to talk about the OECD 2030 Education Compass and focus on 3 competencies (creating new value, reconciling tensions and dilemmas, and taking responsibility), the concept of equity and “What are we willing to give up” to get it, and the importance of small schools. We then hear from last year’s case from Fort St. James Secondary School in SD91 (Nechako Lakes) and from this year’s case, McBride Secondary School in SD57 (Prince George).

The UNBC School of Education also presented “as a small school” to talk about the BEd Renewal of the Teacher Education Program. I was so happy that it was well received and that we got plenty of feedback from the Think Tank on how it can be that much better. I really appreciated it. We also heard from Leona Prince and Manu Madhok from SD91 about their school district initiatives and from Leyton Schellert from UBC about the Small School Think Tank in the Okanagan/Kootenays. But what I am still reflecting on is the whole design thinking process facilitated during the 2-days by Susan Crichton.

We started with “the case.” This year we focussed on McBride Secondary School. We listened to their story. We did some origami work with this piece of paper (as seen below) and used both sides as a tool to work and listen to our team. We went through the DESIGN THINKING process of (1) empathize, (2) define, (3) ideate, (4) prototype, and (5) test. What you see below is my ideation process. We listened to each other, in partners, as we talked about “the potential and promise” of McBride Secondary (empathizing). We wrote about the potential and promise of McBride Secondary (defining). We were then asked to design 4 metaphors of what we heard (ideating). From this, we switched partners and shared our ideas. From that, the two sets of pairs shared their best idea… and built a METAPHOR… we went from divergent to convergent.

This is our team’s (yellow happy face) maker space beauty… OUR METAPHOR for McBride Secondary School. There were 10 teams. Each team is given a “maker bag.” You have to use everything at least once in our metaphor. For example, if there are tongue depressors, you have to use at least one. There was a hot glue gun, glue stick, and scissors to help construct this beautiful beast. The staff of McBride Secondary School presented their CASE to the Think Tank delegates. It’s a small school with 56 students, an incredible outdoor space, and a community that supports. Our metaphor tried to capture these ideas… the heart on the land (love where you are)… mountains, lakes, and rivers (the environment as teacher)… student centred learning surrounded by community and staff (interconnected and held together by the fluidity and interwoven structures of policy and practice)… we are situated outside (learning doesn’t just happen in the school)… and the underpinning of this school is the community (aka. the clothespin).

We accomplished all this after the first day of two of the Northern Small School Think Tank. Admittedly. I was left hanging. I loved that we were able to bring our ideas together to harvest the BEST IDEAS in this co-creation… but now what? That was Day 2… the follow up. We had the night to digest and think about our learning experience and how we can help McBride Secondary take their next steps in their journey with their small secondary school. In the background, there is Susan (on both days) and Leyton (on day one) working behind the scenes gathering evidence from participants and identifying emerging themes and direction. By the end of the 2-days, the McBride Secondary School walked away with a MOUNTAIN OF GIFTS ranging from the design thinking papers (as seen above), poster papers, and index cards that carry pieces of information to help guide and support this school. Before the 2-days have ended, 3 more small schools have put their name forward to be THE NEXT CASE. That in itself was excellent feedback on the value of design thinking, collaboration, and the Northern Small School Think Tank.

Convocation 2019

Blog EXTRA – May 31, 2019 – UNBC Convocation

I’ve been to several convocations… 4 in fact… two at UBC and two at SFU. This is my first convocation ceremony at UNBC, my first convocation as faculty (not student), and my first time wearing my SFU EdD gown (in public… lol). The ceremony was absolutely incredible. I loved the induction of our new Chancellor Dr. Joseph Arthur Gosnell Sr. and presenting an LLD honorary degree to Dr. Jo-Ann Archibald. I wanted to hug Dr. Gosnell after he spoke at convocation but I had the opportunity to say hello to and shake hands with Dr. Archibald the day before at the Aboriginal Graduation Ceremony. SHE KNOW ME… from my involvement with the UBC Math K-12 Aboriginal Math Symposium. Wow!!! The little things that make my day. Did it help when I said that “I am fan”? Maybe. 🙂

I feel very lucky to have been part of the university and part of the learning experience of our students from the UNBC School of Education – Teacher Education Program. They were noticeably the most enthusiastic crew when we were “doing the wave” around the circle before we entered the UNBC Northern Sports Centre. I was inspired by the process, rituals and tradition. Every university has its signature. I was proud to see my colleague Dr. John Sherry from the Counselling Department be honoured for EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING. He’s an excellent person and deserving candidate. In the end, the 2.5 hour ceremony went by very quickly and I appreciated having the opportunity to greet our BEd graduates after they crossed the stage being acknowledged for their accomplishments and success. It was a gorgeous day, as you can see. Reconnecting with former teacher candidates (aka. new teachers) was heartwarming and validating. TRANSFORMATION is not an easy process and it’s not suppose to be. Congratulations #UNBCgrad2019!!!

At The Beginning

Week 36 (of 38) – May 27 to 31, 2019

My kid turned 16 this week. It’s official… she’s on the road. I had the privilege to drive with her as a passenger in the backseat. This was her third time behind the wheel… and she got her first HONK from the driver behind her. For her Sweet 16, it was a pretty low key birthday and I am grateful. I am so proud of her for getting 98% on the exam, but I was also reminded that she is a beginner driver. YIKES! She was holding that steering wheel pretty tightly at 10 and 2. I think the only one not nervous in the car was the dog.

As much as I appreciated the family walk on the waterfront on my kid’s 16th birthday, I was reminded of “traditional expertise.” She is a beginner driver. A novice. She was nervous driving for the first time on the highway (with her parents in the car). There was a lot of information to consider and you had to perform LIVE. Consequences are REAL. And, quality of her performance was evident. I remember a course I took during my doctorate program and the visiting professor, Dr. David Berliner, said that he would never put his children into a novice teacher’s classroom versus and expert. I can see why.

Did we die in the car? Nope. I’m here writing my weekly blog of reflection. So, we’re good. Was my daughter fluent in her driving skills? Nope. It was somewhat mechanical and robotic. Was it terrible? Nope. Was it great? Nope. Does she have a lot to learn? Yup. Will deliberate practice help? Absolutely. Keep trying. Learn from your mistakes. Listen to experts. Try again. You will get better. She did amazing on the Learner’s Test and I know that she learned the content (in her own way) and practiced demonstrating her knowledge online such that she successfully walked away with her learner’s license.

Thank goodness for my kid. I say that everyday. She makes me a better person, a better teacher, and a better learner. My dissertation talked about “traditional expertise” and how do non-math specialist teachers learn the subject matter of math to teach math. For these out-of-field teachers, when they teach secondary mathematics, there is a high level of vulnerability, a high level of stress, and low to moderate performance. Over time, they can build their expertise and content knowledge with deliberate practice. You have to invest the time and effort to reflect, learn, and get better. Be patient and be kind (to yourself).

It was in my research. It’s the advice I would give my daughter. It’s the advice and words of wisdom I need to give myself. I started thinking about SELF-EFFICACY (one’s belief in one’s ability to produce a desired or intended result). Last week, I realized that I am a doctor!!! I know… I earned my credentials almost 2 years ago and I just believe it… now. Sounds strange, I know. It’s all over my social media feed that I’m “Dr. Christine Younghusband” but I never really internalized that about myself. This was my first year teaching full-time at a university and the first time away from my family. Although I do come to this position with an expertise in teaching secondary mathematics and developing expertise in research, I am new to teaching and leading in higher education.

I am at the beginning. I am grateful for the opportunities I have been afforded at the university. I am happy to have people in my circle who I connect with and can learn from. I love the class I’m teaching online this spring (and it’s my first time teaching this graduate course and teaching online). I love learning with them and extending our expertise with practicing teachers engaged in higher education. It’s been really fun. I am so glad to have this spring session course. My students are awesome. But what I have learned in the last year is know my limitations, my abilities, and my capacity. As my friend would say, I always want to go from novice to expert in one step. Be patient. Be kind.

Rebuilding Comfort

Week 35 (of 38) – May 20 to 24, 2019

It’s been a month. It has taken time to restore who I am. Ever since returning home and staying here for longer than two days created a disruption. I was compelled to re-evaluate of who I am and who I want to be. As much as I enjoyed my pedagogical journey during the last school year, there was much uncertainty, muddiness, and negativity. It was tough to overcome, but would guess that it got the best of me. Returning home and being with my family brings me some comfort that cannot be replaced. I was forced to self-evaluate. I wanted CERTAINTY. I wanted some predictability, structure, and routine. For those who know me, this is not like me. I do appreciate frameworks and a clear direction, but would rather freedom, autonomy, and voice. I have that at home and work, but in two places.

Being in two places is something I need to wrestle with. If my intention is to pursue a career in higher education, then there is no university where I live except for a satellite location where postings for faculty are rare and specific. I just looked. One position is for a part-time Adult Basic Education Instructor in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics OR a lead administrative position as Regional Director working with the local First Nation. Neither are aligned to where I want to be. Moreover, I need time to build my experience and expertise as an academic. On the other hand, I could be located in a different province or different country. In many ways, I am glad to still be in BC, but I have to have another residence. A 4-hour commute to Vancouver or seaplane flight to Vancouver Island are not any better. In all circumstances, I am in two places. This is the Sunshine Coast dilemma.

To rebuild my comfort, I had many bowls of pho and meals at the Village Restaurant (as seen in the photo above) with my family. I have also enjoyed teaching my online course. This is the first time I have taught an asynchronous course. I am also happy that much of what my students wonder about are LEADERSHIP questions. We are half way through the course and I look forward to how this course will end. Ironically, having this course has kept me on track to refocus on what’s important to me. I am passionate about leadership in education and how leadership can enhance the teaching and learning experience. It’s been a slow climb back. I needed this time to reflect. I am lucky to have colleagues, friends, and family who inspire and support me where I am. Today, the story changed.