What’s Your Brand

Oh yay… my first blog entry for 2020. I’ve been resisting but really wanting to write something that’s been sitting on my mind ever since my “edu-lunch” with my friend on the Sunshine Coast during the winter break. Normally, we tend to go on “edu-walks” to solve all world’s problems (or so it seems) but it rained a lot on the coast this winter. Anyway, what I appreciate about my edu-buddy is that we are critical friends. I feel so lucky (and I’m sure my friend does too) that we each have critical friends in our personal and professional lives. It’s so important to have at least one critical friend as an educator. Someone who you can trust wholeheartedly so that we can share ideas, be vulnerable, and not be judged. During our edu-lunch, we were discussing things like #OneWord 2020, how things were going at work, and what’s next. In that conversation, my friend mentions a speaker from the BCSTA Academy 2019 who spoke about wearing clothes that represent YOUR BRAND. I was provoked. What’s my brand? She said that the conference speaker said to choose clothing that speaks to who you are as a professional and stick to that clothing. For the guest speaker, her brand was a white jacket, so she always wears a white jacket. My friend reduced her work wardrobe to 7 pairs of black pants, 2 jackets, and a variety of blouses. Is my brand Crocs, tights, and hoodies? Very professional.

What a way to start 2020… to think about MY BRAND. All of us are creating our brand whether if we are intending to or not. If anything, I’d like to think that we are creating a brand that shows WHO WE ARE… a classic bit I love from Parker Palmer because we TEACH WHO WE ARE. I am so proud of our Second Year Teacher Candidates at UNBC who are heading out to their final practicum. I’ve read their e-Portfolio submissions (so far) as their EDUC 431 EdTech Instructor and what a beautiful platform to engage in digital storytelling. It’s difficult to look at oneself, self-assess, and then compose a website that shows who we really are. I am so impressed with what the Teacher Candidates have produced so far and look forward to the final product of what they will create with their e-Portfolios at the end of their practicum and thus transition into the teaching profession. Teacher education is an incredible journey for every Teacher Candidate. Transformation DOES happen. I feel privileged to be a part of their learning journey as their professor and faculty mentor. Honoured. Your identity will change over time. Be the learner.

That’s how I feel all of the time. I AM THE LEARNER. It keeps you humble and it keeps you hungry. There is no question that the learning journey is a vulnerable process and mistakes will be mades, risks taken, and some victories to be celebrated. Even where I am in my career in education… it’s been 25 years… and I am still learning. My identity is transforming. I love how my students are my teachers. They always have been. I love what I do and I hope to explore more in this field over time. As much as I am known online for my food pics, selfies, and photos of the ferry/snow/or plane rides… a brand I am creating with my Crocs, tights, and hoodies… I am always learning more about myself, my students, and my field. OK… I’ll admit… I’ve been messing with my name over time (i.e. Chris Ho, Christine Younghusband, Christine Ho Younghusband), but that’s more of an exemplar or evidence of my transformation over time. #Hello2020 #NewDecade