One of Six – Collaborative

Oh boy… here it goes. My mini-blog series challenge begins with COLLABORATIVE as my first word of six to describe my professional learning for 2018/19. Thank you @RosePillay1 for the challenge and @JanetChowMSc for the nudge. Yay for #bcedchat to create THIS professional learning opportunity. What’s more challenging is the lack of technology. I’m writing this blog entry from my phone. My laptop died. My desktop is in the shop. My new laptop is mid-set up and will be heading to the shop. And well, it was between my phone or iPad. My iPad is pretending to be my pseudo laptop but my phone has my pictures. So, let’s blog from my phone. Yay!!! (Not my preference but I will overcome this first world problem.)

It is very serendipitous to be blogging from my phone because now I can scroll through my pics to select a sample of collaborations I had this year to visually describe why this school year was COLLABORATIVE with respect to my professional learning. This school year has been a year of CHANGE (professionally for me) to say the least. I got a one year contract to teach full time at UNBC in Prince George. I ended my two terms of public service as school trustee. I stopped math tutoring. I was no longer a sessional instructor at SFU or St. Mark’s College. And, I moved away from my little family to Prince George to teach at UNBC. This could have potentially been a lonely and isolating school year for me. Yay for professional learning and people.

The first photo is me with a few of the members of the #bcedchat co-moderator team. I can’t believe I joined that team 6-years ago and I’m hanging in there regardless of role changes. This is an incredible team. Collegial and essentially a group of learners. I feel very honoured to work with these K-12 BC educators to facilitate learning online with BC educators and beyond. There may be a time I might “grow out of” this group like I did with the BCAMT (BC Association of Math Teachers) Executive Committee. I loved this group of educational leaders and learners as well. But sometimes it’s OK to move on to other things and make room for others to join.

The second photo is one of many selfies with my friend and colleague Caroline. We both started teaching more than 25-years ago as secondary math teachers in the same school. Over time, we took different paths in education. I call it the “Grass-Fed Butter / Margarine Phenomena.” Regardless of route or role, we’ve manage to see eye-to-eye on education. She’s been one of my CRITICAL FRIENDS I am very grateful for and we make time to see each other when I’m back home on the Sunshine Coast to go on one of our EDU-WALKS. Love them and won’t miss them. The third photo also shows two more NEW critical friends who I met at a Open Schools BC planning session on making math videos for Grades 10-12. They took a risk with me to develop a math activity and video that focussed on Indigenous Education first then finding the “math embedded.” We put the First Peoples of Principles of Learning at the heart of what we were doing, knowing it would look different from the other 4 video/math activities that did the reverse thinking in their planning. I was so proud of this work. It was risky but we moved forward together as non-Indigenous Educators. We consulted with the UBC Museum of Anthropology and knowledge keepers in our local communities. It’s not perfect and we know that. We are not the experts. We are learning. We have formed a bond that will continue in future and at events like the 2019 BCAMT Fall Conference.

The third photo is of me, Tracy and Robyn… and the fourth photo of me, Des, and Noelle. Both photos were taken in Kelowna. I first met Tracy online via Twitter. We met in Sechelt and became friends ever since. Robyn and I follow each other on Twitter as well. Tracy worked with Robyn this year in the same school. They formed a collaborative professional learning relationship and I had the opportunity to observe their classes one day while I was in Kelowna. That was super fun. I was working in Kelowna to collaborate with Des, Noelle, and a few others on a TC2 project on how to include Indigenous Education into a science resource. That was incredible. Any time you think that you are contributing, the gift in return is learning. I loved it. Des, Noelle, and I with a few others are also working on revising the FNESC (First Nations Education Steering Committee) Math Teachers’ Resource. That is another incredible collaborative learning opportunity for me and I am humbled.

Ok. Now I’m finally caught up with the correct photo. In the fifth photo (see above), is me and my colleagues, Deb and Gretchen, from UNBC. I call us “Charlie’s Angels.” I don’t think I would have survived the school year without these two. We work together as instructors in the School of Education, we’ve been on the BEd and MEd Renewal Committees together, and we attend conferences like NOIIE 2019 (Networks of a Inquiry and Indigenous Education) together. It’s great to find people who you work with to collaborate and learn together as we collectively move towards a common goal. Humbling but also motivating, supportive, and inspiring.

Another collaborative professional learning group I joined this year was @CIRCE_SFU Academic Council let by Dr. Gillian Judson (@perfinker) as seen in photo number 6. We meet online and we come from all over the world to talk about imaginative education and research. I am amazed by this group and I always leave the meeting recharged and inspired. You can’t help but learn. In the photo below, number 7 (and the last photo for this blog) is of Nina Pak Lui (@NPakLui) from Trinity Western University. She is a bundle of energy and created a mini-Network of me, her, and Gillian to use Dr. Judy Halbert’s and Dr. Linda Kaiser’s Spiral of Inquiry in an action research project looking at Assessment for Learning in higher education in partnership with Dr. Lorna Earl and CAfLN (Canadian Assessment for Learning Network). This is the beginning of a new collaboration with Nina and I look forward to learning and working with her on a few projects.

This is only a sample of collaborations I had this school year. I had many more. I had an incredible COLLABORATIVE professional learning year. I look forward to more this coming school year. Until then, I have 5 more mini-blogs to go. Woohoo!!!

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