Guest Blogger – October 2020 Reflection
Gretchen Vogelsang – Lecturer – UNBC School of Education
Reflecting on the first month of the Renewed B.Ed. Program.
I have learned that when, as instructor or lead learner, I purposefully examine and confront my socio-cultural values about teaching and learning, and then bring my lens back to focus on the connections to those of all others- no matter how general or broad the connection becomes- that I build understanding, create space for relationships and ultimately foster the growth of learning community. And as a result, I broaden and transform my own values! And then to create this space online? Who knew? I do, now. Humbled by my own inexperience and ignorance – my mom would say, “Oh dear, how can you know what you don’t know?” Valid, mom, valid (and loving). But I do know now, so I am intrigued how this will continue to impact my practice. Maya Angelou reminds me that now that I do know different, I need to go out in the world and DO different. Yes, ma’ams!
I have learned that when I give myself permission to target the essentials of learning and stand determined not to get trapped in rabbit holes or the minutiae, not only is my teaching and learning more resonant for me, personally, but I notice these essentials echo of joy in the learning of TC’s –Thank-you Covid for granting me this opportunity to consciously decide to choose, if only for self-preservation. Regardless, what an understanding to come to after 20 +years in the profession – but could it happen any other way? Perhaps not…
I have learned that my work at UNBC supports my work at FSJSS. That my work at FSJSS supports my work at UNBC. Lather, rinse, and repeat. Scholar-practitioner struggle is real, but the benefits are palpable. The young faces at UNBC and FSJSS radiate untapped potential and promise, the extent of which I believe I have no right to try to predict or mould – I just feel gratitude for being able to witness the possibility, today, and, use any potential impact on their tomorrow purposefully, thoughtfully, and aligned with each ones emerging sense of self. Standing in service to something so much greater than myself alone.
I have learned that as my boundaries with self and other get even more clear, that more space for working, loving and living is created. In other words, clear ‘nos’ produce more ‘yeses.’ Irony rules!! Boundaries are changing – they are alive – and as contexts change, as children grow and mature, and as I grow and mature, boundaries are becoming a reflection of self – when they were once merely a protection of self. Trying to share these awakenings with my own two children in the hopes that I can save them a few years, at least, of existential angst and pain – probably too much to ask, but I will, and am, asking…fingers crossed!
Man, how I have learned.
And it is only the beginning.