Unpacking Goodbye

I was talking to one of my friends the other day on FaceTime and she said during our call, “You don’t want to come back to K-12, do you?” I love and hate those moments that provoke you in a visceral way that you cannot help but to reflect, self-assess, and ask yourself the same question. I have only been provoked like this a few times in my adult life and each time I had to critically look at myself to understand what and why. This is not a great place to be because when you start looking within, change will happen and so will your trajectory. I guess on one level, it’s about letting go, but on another level it’s about being curious about my perceived need to go back. Mulling this idea for the last two-days (and beyond), I realized that I have learned so much about BC Education in terms of teaching, learning, and leading… and having extraordinary opportunities to contribute to BC Education with curriculum, policy, and research… makes me want to go back to K-12 and TRY AGAIN. I was an OK teacher. Nothing exceptional, but I loved what I taught and I loved my students. When I left, I did not realize how much I could learn, did learn, and continue to learn about. I just love it. There are so many possibilities and to be part of the Math K-9 Curriculum Development Team and now being in Teacher Education, I get soooooo EXCITED about what teaching and learning can look like in BC Education. Are we experiencing growing pains in the system implementing the curriculum? Yes we are. But, is this an exciting time for education? Yes it is. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. I would love to go back into a secondary math classroom and teach math all over again. Now we have curriculum as policy that supports formative assessment, interdisciplinary learning, and embedding implicitly and explicitly Indigenous Education throughout curriculum. It’s INCREDIBLE. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this? This is what I pine for. CHANGE.

Everything that is happening now in BC Education is something that I had always wanted. Is it perfect? No. Is is damn good? Yes it is. I would have loved the opportunity to teach in this new curriculum as a secondary mathematics teacher and have the opportunity to co-teach, co-plan, and collaborate with colleagues in a cross-curricular way that would highlight out strengths but also create an extraordinary learning experience for students that would be meaningful, purposeful, and engaging. How can we assess students that focus on student learning and determines if students met the co-constructed criteria in a competent way. Learning should be FUN. Teaching should be FUN. The BC Curriculum is an INVITATION to learning experiences that all stakeholders can contribute to and gain from. Leadership can be expressed by different stakeholders. Leadership is distributed. OMG. Communities. Relationships. Connections. AHHHHHH… Can you see why I am having troubles letting go of K-12? I’m beginning to. If I returned back to K-12, it would be like starting all over again… but I would invite that. I am not the same teacher as I was when I left teaching or when I started teaching. Am I still learning? Yes I am. I spent the last 10-years reigniting my love for education and I am a different educator.

So yes… this may be the LONGEST GOODBYE. I said goodbye to school trusteeship in 2018… no problem. I said goodbye to self-employment as an educational consultant this year and did not renew my business licence… I’m good. Saying goodbye to K-12 has been super difficult. I guess I can say GOODBYE to what was. I never want to go back to that again. I loved my students. I loved teaching mathematics. I loved my colleagues. Anyway, this is to say that I did love many parts of my teaching career when I was in K-12, but for many other reasons… I had to leave. Do I get to share my excitement for BC Education in Teacher Education and Graduate Studies? Yes I do. Always. Did I learn more about myself during my time away from K-12? Yes I have… more than I can mention here, but have mentioned in previous blogs. But I’ve learned that I REALLY ENJOY data analysis, academic writing, and policy development. Who would have thought? And, I’ve met so many wonderful people in my PEDAGOGICAL JOURNEY. I remember writing a speech for a graduation ceremony in 2018 about Saying Goodbye and quoted Paulo Coehlo:

If you’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello.

My other friend says, for her… every time she closes a door, another door opens. I can see that. The way that I am perceiving and understanding my situation is that I am holding onto something and it’s holding me back from something else. I can let go of what was. I never want to go back to that. I have moved on, but what I have learned during my 16-years in K-12 as made me into the person, educator, and researcher that I am today. It’s time to shift and my EXCITEMENT for K-12 does not have to end. I can express and experience that excitement in my teaching in higher education, in my writing, and in my relationships with those in the field. <<deep breath>> I am so glad I did this.

#pandemicreflection #stayhome #socialdistancing

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