Pursuing Your Jam

Here is something that I thought I would never do. I got a tattoo. This is my first and thus my tattoo-virginity is now gone. I got this tattoo with my daughter last week. She got a picture of orchids on the side of her arm. We got these tattoos as a tribute to my mom. I loved when I showed my tattoo to my friend today… she said, “it’s like it was always there.” Like it was meant to be… Thank you. Yes. My mom has always been with me. I love looking at my arm and seeing her name VIVIEN. She named herself after the actress Vivien Leigh when she moved to Canada. I love how her name is spelled… with an “e” instead of an “a.” It’s so unique and special to me. I love how my friend said that she can see the word “vie” in the name, which means “life” in French. Even better!!!

I’ve just finished my mini-blog series about my year of professional learning in 2018/19 and what I have learned from reflecting on my learning experiences is… you have to be PURSUING YOUR JAM. Am I pursing my jam? When you are pursuing “your jam”… you are doing what you love to do, you know who are are, and you understand your “why.” This is one of my most favourite things to do… chatting with people who have found their jam. I love going to Circle Craft in Vancouver because I love chatting with people about why they do what they do. Some of these people create jewelry, others make clothing while others make food. Why are you doing what you are doing? What motivates you?

If I am really listening… to myself and others… I have constructed my edu-trajectory from the beginning I was about 16-years old, the same age as my daughter, and I used to write on a piece of paper “Dr. Christine Ho, BSc, MSc, PhD.” I guess this was a form of visioning, but I would do that often when I was in high school. My dad reminded me of this story at the end of my doctoral oral defence. What the? Not only do you tell this story to my examination panel but I learned that you used to sneak into my bedroom and looked at my stuff. What a strange way to find out. Anyway, this caught my attention in addition to another event. At a BCSTA/CSBA conference in Whistler, I was the emcee. I was a trustee and debated whether to apply for a job with BCSTA or continue on with being a school trustee. I was chatting with the two educators who helped organize this conference and I learned that they both had their PhD. One said to me, “I’m not like you. You do research.” She was an educational leader from the Vancouver School District.

I went to Oprah’s event in Vancouver on June 24th about “The Path Made Clear – Discovering your Life’s Direction and Purpose” and what she had to say at the end of her presentation is, “you’ve always known.” You know what your life path is going to be. I was a bit stunned about what she had said and yet, she is right. I have always known and sometimes I had BETRAYED myself many times on this journey. The story about my dad and educational leader from Vancouver were only two examples of many that reminds me that I have always known. In my last blog entry “Six of Six – Transformative,” I wondered how teaching mathematics had anything to do with educational research. Now, I understand. I think about one of my edu-heroes, Nel Nodding. I saw her spoke almost 10-years ago at SFU. She is a former secondary mathematics teacher who now known as a scholar who researches about the ethics of care. Teaching mathematics and serving a school trustee, for example, are only steps on our path. Oprah speaks about this as well.

I am filled with fear. I will not be shy about that. It’s challenging to think about being a “writer” or “researcher.” It seems like a lofty goal or dream (for me) but it seems that this is my life’s direction or purpose. I never thought I would be writing on a blog and enjoy writing. I never thought during my dissertation that I would enjoy data analysis. I do. I have to remember that everything I am doing (whether perceived right or wrong) contributes to my life’s path. I feel myself holding myself back because I am “scared” or “fearful” of what could be and where it will take me. What I am realizing is, I need to pursue my jam. My jam is my curiosity about leadership, teaching, and learning in the K-12 context. I am interested in systems, assessment, and professional learning.

What I need to do is WRITE… my #OneWord2019… and READ (more)… to deepen my understandings and propel myself towards RESEARCH… which will help me to investigate and learn more about what I am curious about in education. Although this is a “required process” to survive (and get promoted) in higher education in addition to teaching (my source of joy), my motivation is to fuel my passion, be vulnerable, and pursue my jam.

What are you passionate about? What’s your jam? What are you doing about it?

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