Love what you do.
This may sound cliche but when you realize that your time on earth is limited, it would be in your best interest to do what you love. I had the gift of being away from my life for 20-days and experienced the JOY OF TRANSFORMATION. Admittedly, I’ve changed too. I witnessed people change before my eyes, recalibrating what was important to them and intuitively knowing why. I experienced a type of advocacy and agency that I have never seen before. Clear conviction. I feel lucky to have this opportunity and now I am taking a moment to reflect on what happened and think about what’s important to me.
Before the 20-days, I was participating in a couple of career education workshops at SFU to figure out my next trajectory in life. It’s too easy to look back and consider what I have done before. As much as I have fond memories of teaching secondary mathematics and continue to teach secondary mathematics one-on-one as part of my educational consulting business, I know that I am meant to do something else and my experiences as a math educator will inform and influence me on what I need to do next. I know that my love is in education, even though several times during the 20-days I’ve been asked if I’m in health care or in the medical field. As mentioned, I’m not that kind of doctor.
What I do know for sure is, I love teaching… I love learning… and I love leading. Hence, this is the underpinning of my business. But so what? Most people in education feel the same way. What separates me from other educators and what am I meant to do next? I do know that whatever I choose to do next, I need to be teaching, learning, and leading. I will make no compromise to that. What I also know for sure is, I love data analysis. I love making sense from numbers, I love creating a narrative. That is soooooo fun for me. I just completed the “School Trustee Study” with my research partner (and former senior supervisor) Dr. Dan Laitsch. I just loved playing around with the numbers and making meaning from what we found from the data. I loved the collaboration, critical thinking, and shared expertise. I felt like we accomplished something that is worthwhile.
At the last SFU workshop, I identified 5 core values: (1) integrity and truth; (2) self-respect and pride in my work; (3) having a positive impact on society and others; (4) using creativity, imagination, and being innovative; and (5) autonomy, independence, and freedom. There were many other items to choose from and rank, but this turned out to be my top 5. What amazes me from this list is… I AM COMPLETELY ALIGNED. These 5 core values resonate with me and aligns to what I am doing now… with my business, research, and school trusteeship. This realization is invigorating… knowing that I am doing what I want to be doing. I am on the right trajectory. So, how can I go further?
I am so stoked that I am teaching EDUC454 for a second time this summer. I love that I can take what I have learned from last summer to make this course even better. It’s a time for me to return to my love of teaching and learning, but also find innovative and creative ways to engage and empower adult learners / pre-service teachers. I am driven by my research and the power of experiential learning and reflective practice. I feel honoured to have the opportunity to work with pre-service teachers to influence and encourage them to do what’s right in the K-12 classroom and develop their pedagogy.
I am also thinking about how to expand my business. I am getting new tutoring clientele, I am engaged in research as an affiliate scholar with the Centre for the Study of Educational Leadership and Policy at SFU, and it looks like I will write a book or two as promised in my TEDxWestVancouverED talk. I definitely have one in mind… and another one… and another one. It’s a matter of getting started. I need new material to glean from. I recently guest blogged for McGraw-Hill Education on the “Art of Teaching,” to be published in April. I continue to write about my practice as a secondary mathematics teacher, just like I did for Gillian Judson’s blog ImaginED. It’s been almost 8 years since I left the K-12 classroom and it’s time to write and talk about something else.
Finally, school trusteeship is something to consider. If you look back at previous blog entries, I learned so much from my trusteeship as an educator, parent, and educational leader. Governance plays a huge role in public education and it’s the responsibility of school trustees and boards of education to understand their role, work together with senior management teams, and do what’s best for student learning. I am passionate about this role in education. What we do matters… at all levels in education. Trustees have the responsibility of representing community values, bringing expertise to the table as oversight, and politicizing in a way that leverages learning FOR ALL. This term ends October 2018 and many are deciding whether if they will run or not in the next municipal election. That decision, for me, might come up in my next blog entry. TBA.
Although the “endpoint” is not clear or precise, I am on the right path. It’s reassuring that I am heading towards a vision. I am passionate about education and “finding my place” is important to me… as it should be for all those who are involved in education. Your role matters. Your expertise matters. You competencies matter. And, the right fit matters. We are always changing, so “fit” will also change over time. Be true to yourself and do what’s best for you and the people you serve. There are many opportunities in education where you can make a difference in student learning. You have to find it, then do it well.