Coaching and Presenting

April 9, 2024 – A Reflection of What Brings Me Joy

A slight delay of this weekly blog post. I started writing it last week on Friday, but now we are well into the new week. There is no better time than the present. I felt like that I had completed this blog post, but my mindset and thinking were contributed to my OpenETC portfolio in “The Tables Have Turned.” Last weekend, I was in Calgary, AB at the University of Calgary at the Werklund School of Education to present and attend the REVITALIZATION of WestCAST (Western Canadian Association for Student Teaching). I had a very good time attending and learning at the conference, presenting the work of “Climate Education in Teacher Education in Northern British Columbia,” and working with four teacher candidates (TCs) from the UNBC Teacher Education Program with their presentation, etc. The teacher candidates presented on “Grounded Connections” which focused on wellness, learning on and with the land, and BC’s Curriculum. The TCs were phenomenal and I am super proud of them.

The TCs were well prepared. The presentation was inspired from coursework but they created something that was really important to them. My role: the Curling Coach. I suggested what resources to consider, how ideas could flow together, and provided ongoing formative feedback. They had a hypothesis about wellbeing and being on the land, and I suggested that they test this hypothesis during their first teaching practicum. They engaged in a LESSON STUDY and each TC was able to incorporate the lesson into their practicum with the students they were working with. They pretty much engaged almost every grade level from K-7 (with exception to Grade 4) based on their practicum placements and situations. One TC facilitated the lesson as closely to the intended lesson, another TC implemented the lesson with buddies, whereas another TC had to adapt the lesson and kept it oral, and the fourth TC managed to fit the lesson with time permitting. What a beautiful demonstration of being adaptive and reflexive with one’s practice. I loved coaching this curling team and they killed it.

Another thing I have realized from this conference is the joy I find from presenting and networking. I think that is the life of an extrovert. I spent some time to prep the presentation and I had to read some key texts early in the presentation, but I was so wowed by the teacher candidate from another university who presented before me. They presented on Climate Action. It was an inquiry project. They interviewed teachers and looked at the literature. As a result, they created a set of lesson plans from BC’s Curriculum that focused on Climate Action. She had research experience and I was so awestruck by their work because it was representative of what the climate education research project I’m working on with my colleagues are looking for. It was a beautiful and serendipitous connection. As a result, I could not help myself but to keep referring to that TC’s work. Because the first presenter was a “no show,” we had some extra time to present and receive questions. I really enjoyed the conversation and I made new connections with those present in the room.

In hindsight, I think the strongest part of my dissertation was my oral defence. This is not to say I am an expert presenter, but what I am saying is, I really enjoy presenting and making connections with others. I loved working with the teacher candidates (aka. the curling team) and appreciated how our conversations was an ongoing dialogue and negotiation of how the presentation would go. I can only dream of that kind of relationship. It was respectful, relational, and reciprocated. Feeling grateful.