Keep Growing

This is one of my favourite images… a tree growing from another tree. A friendly reminder that we have to keep growing and growth can come from anything and anywhere. Growth is not always a straight line. Yesterday, I spent time updating my LinkedIN page and resume. I attended a few alumni workshops held at SFU and wanted to apply what I had learned. Updating took some time and it’s still in progress. My friend took a look at what I had written and said…

“Your path is so untraditional, for someone like me and yet we have so much in common.”

I take this as a compliment. I am thankful that my friend could see this. Sometimes it’s not all about going the traditional route from A to B. I could have “climbed the ladder” to move through or up the system, but opted to take my own route… a personalized route that filled my heart and mind. I left teaching to pursue doctoral studies. In the meantime, I started a business as sole proprietor and called myself an educational consultant. Is this how it works? I was soon find out. At the time, I didn’t know what I wanted but I loved the freedom and flexibility to create and learn. I had to go beyond the status quo.

Much like my dissertation, I want to get under the problem. Sometimes “problems” in education seem cyclic thus difficult to see its starting point. To make a long story short, I had to take a different route to see what I wanted to and needed to see. Leaving K-12 helped me to complete my dissertation and make the recommendations to practice and research I did, so that we could create system change in the context of professional learning and subject matter acquisition. I know that I would not have accomplished this had I stayed in the system as a teacher. I was able to see and understand the system, as a whole, in a deeper and broader way as a school trustee. For this, I am grateful.

The other part of my friend’s comment… “yet we have so much in common”… raises my spirit. On the one hand, it surprises me and on the other hand, it pleases me. I am surprised because I did not move up the rungs of the education system to understand what my friend understands about the system… what’s working… what’s not working… and what needs improvement. I will say that I have not done some of the super awesome things my friend has done or the super awful things my friend had to do… vice versa in terms of research and politics… but happy to know that the BIG IDEAS are the same.

It’s time for new growth. I love being the learner. My goal is to follow the path of learning. I think about returning back to the system often. I love teaching at the university and I would love to teach high school mathematics again… particularly in BC’s New Curriculum. But I wonder about the kind of freedom that exists in the system. I also wonder about what I have to contribute. I think that I have a lot to contribute but it has to be aligned to the direction of the school district. I would love to see some of my recommendations from my dissertation to come to practice, but I am also excited about doing more research to bring meaningful information back to practice. Right now, I am writing a book. It’s fun.

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