Now What

There is nothing I like more than pulling from my stock photos from the past. This is a good one and I have no idea who took it. It must have been a former student of mine from the golden days of teaching secondary mathematics. As you can see, this photo depicts deep thoughts. So, now what?

I am driven to answer this question. When you step away from something you love to complete a HUGE task (i.e. my dissertation), you have to answer what’s next. In the short term, my goal is complete my dissertation and defend successfully. Right now I’m still in the middle of the editing process, but hope that ends soon so that I can get my paper to my external examiner and get the ball moving towards the oral defence.

I am also watching. What do I mean by that? I am looking around and listening to see where my next step lies. I know that I am in the field of education… possibly teaching… learning and leading, for sure. I love being in the classroom but I also love presenting too. I am drawn to working with people and provoking people to think. I am also curious about other people and how we are all interconnected.

I am reminded by one of my professor’s THREE AXIOMS in education: (1) the money is the money, (2) be careful for what you wish for, and (3) do not underestimate the power of self-interest. Over time, these axioms make a lot of sense to me. I am sometimes bewildered by what I see and I have to always keep my ego in check. This can be challenging when you perceive yourself to be in a position of power or influence. These axioms also inform my next steps. My THREE AXIOMS are (a) you only know what you know, (2) you can’t go back in time, and (3) you don’t really know someone’s story. I am motivated to learn more about what I don’t know.

In the long term, who knows. I have started a 10-year goal setting process. I tried to start doing one several times in the past and could not do it. I could never see past my nose. I definitely don’t want to define every step along the way because there was no time in my early days that I had a desire for school trusteeship. However, I had always wanted my hands on the big picture and looking at system change. I know that I am a change agent in many ways with my many hats in education, but I have always wanted to steer the big wheel. My dad says you can’t… or at least do it alone. I totally agree with that. However, I do believe we can make system change.

I think about my colleague and friend Dr. Peter Liljedahl from SFU who just won the $100,000 Cmolik prize for Big Thinking Classrooms. I remember chatting with him a few years ago. He spoke about how he taught secondary mathematics and he had no tables or chairs. His students learned mathematics with non-permanent vertical surfaces (aka. white wash boards). The learning was collaborative, dialogical, and problem solving oriented. When he became a professor, his Master of Education students would also do projects related to this practice. The current BCAMT President just finished his MSc in mathematics education studying student movement using non-permanent vertical surfaces. Sooooo crazy!!! Peter travels around the world with this concept. Slowly but surely Peter is putting his PASSION into PRACTICE.

This is what I want to do. I am passionate about student voice, professional learning, and leadership. How do these fit together? This is for me to find out. I feel that I am on my way. I am so grateful for being a mathematics educator. Teaching mathematics helped me to understand more about teaching and learning but also lend itself as a vehicle to my research and dissertation. I look forward to what’s next. Every step has been exciting so far and I am open to the opportunities that are set before me.

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