My Story, My Journey, in Lifelong Learning

It’s been 3 years; I have been looking at this blog and thinking at some point I would write again. Here we are – the time has come!

Part of my hesitation to move forward was finding the direction for this blog and what I really wanted to say to my readers. Perhaps some of it was thinking that I had to get it right the first time. Now I know. This my story, my learning journey, and however it proceeds is the right way. Far to often we reflect by ourselves and never share our story especially as we move through the challenges of day to day. I am reminded by this statement, to think like a child and live like a child. My 3 year old has no hesitation to share her learning and be excited about it!

For a moment, think back to your early schooling experiences, did you ever have the thought “I’m going to finish high school, do some secondary schooling, get a job and that’s it”. Although I have often claimed to be “a lifelong learner” I don’t think this mindset was one I carried with me into my teenage years. This is by no fault of the people around me – they were inspiring and led me to where I am today! Maybe I just missed that or maybe as a society we need to reframe our thinking and conversations around building lifelong learners rather than framing education as a means to get a good paying job/career.

What if we thought of education/schooling as an experience that helped us become the best people we can be? To think we are lifelong learners, to acquire and practice skills that help us navigate life, to learn to be kind and help others, to enjoy each moment we are given and to believe we can! Would that thinking shape a child differently? Would that change what we believe is possible?

As a Mom and Educator, I know I have some work to do to ensure my children and the children I teach know that their learning experiences start well before school and don’t end when school ends. I challenge you to do the same; encourage children to reach for the stars and to develop an understanding that schooling is another experience that will impact their learning journey – the journey of life!

Take it or leave it. This is my story. It will be spoken from the heart, it will be real, it will be raw, but it will be my truth in learning about the world! I look forward to sharing and learning with you. What a ride this will be!

Feel free to leave a comment, share a story, or a thought. We learn best together!

It’s ALL about the PEOPLE!

It has been over 2 years since my last post – this was a writing piece that was drafted in July 2019 but never posted. It’s time to share it and many more insights in my journey as a mom, wife, educator and learner! Stay tuned. For the record I’m now on my 13th year of teaching in Prince Albert and I still feel the same!

Back to 2019……

After some time away it is time to get back to writing and reflecting. Through the last couple of weeks, I have been thinking about my journey in starting my teaching career in Prince Albert and why I’m still in Prince Albert teaching.

Let’s go back a few years. As some of you may know, I grew up on a farm west of Marcelin and completed my K-12 schooling in Blaine Lake. I was fortunate to ride the school bus everyday with my Auntie driving the bus – she would say “Morning Jake” as I walked onto the bus. What a great childhood memory to carry with me. I loved school – making friends, playing sports, and learning about the world around me. My role models, aside from my family, were my teachers. They constantly showed they cared about me and wanted to help me be the best learner I could be. They inspired me to be a teacher so that I could help others in their early learning journey. By the time I graduated high school, I knew math and physics were areas that I excelled in and really had a passion for; so I decided to become a math and physics teacher.

Ten years ago, I finished my Bachelor of Education at the University of Saskatchewan and started the task of finding a place to start my career. When I was given the opportunity to teach at Carlton Comprehensive High school (Carlton), I really had to think about it. I had grown up going to a school of approximately 125 students in a small community. I had always envisioned teaching in a small town just like Blaine Lake. Carlton was big and it was in a city. I was uncomfortable with the idea but I decided to take the risk and try it out – worst case I didn’t like it and could look for another job elsewhere. Well, here I am, 10 years later and still teaching in Prince Albert.

I never imagined that I would stay in Prince Albert, but I did and I love where I teach! When I reflect on why I stayed it was the people! I am a better teacher and a better person because I have been surrounded by great people who have challenged me and helped me grow!

As I think about going to a new school this fall, King George Public School, I am reminded that I am responsible for making my workplace great! My goal will be to build positive relationships with others and make where I work a great place for others and myself.

To anyone starting a new job, or going to a different workplace remember it’s the people not the place that makes you want to go back. Take time to be your very best – those that are impacted daily by you will appreciate it and want to come back each day!

What is your impact?

This week I’m inspired to write about your impact on family, friends, your community and beyond. As some of you may have noticed my long time fiddle instructor Everett Larson passed away this past week. Here is the link to his obituary:

For about 8 years my parents drove from our family farm by Marcelin, SK to Saskatoon, SK (about an hour drive) so that I could take fiddle lessons from Mr. Everett Larson. Mr. Larson was a kind, patient teacher who was passionate about music, particularly the accordion and fiddle. He always focused on being precise – every bow stroke and finger pattern mattered! What I admired most about Mr. Larson was his dedication to teaching youth. He was gentle in his approach but yet set high expectations for his students to do well! From a teaching perspective, this simple approach may just be the recipe for high quality teaching. As a result, Mr. Larson’s legacy and impact on the fiddling world is far greater than he would likely ever imagine.

This reflection makes me think about my role as a teacher and what responsibility I have for having an impact on others. Although I have not had much contact with Mr. Larson for the past 15 years, his teachings, his way of life, remains with me.

To my teaching friends, think about what you want your impact to be! Don’t be afraid to ask your students what your impact is – you can only change it if you know what it is.

Lastly, my challenge to all is this – let others know what impact they have on you and thank those that influence you in positive ways! You will strengthen your relationships and walk around “feeling good” that you told them!

Scheduling Time for Yourself and Your Family

Here we go with my second blog post. It is hard to believe a week has already passed since my last post.

This week – this year – I have been thinking about my journey as a teacher through the past 10 years and my journey as a Mom through the past 10 months.

In my teaching career, I have always believed you give it your all! This likely stems from growing up with two parents who do just that in every task they do. I still believe this! Kids deserve your very best each and every day and this often means long hours spent planning lessons that are engaging and authentic, listening to students and supporting colleagues. These long hours sometimes mean that I have not spent as much time at home as I likely should. I have often filled my days and evenings with work related pieces – don’t get me wrong I love my profession and the impact I can have every day at work – but sometimes we do need to turn that off.

Through the last 10 months as a Mom, although difficult at times and a learning journey, I have taken short stints of time for me – driven out of necessity to just have a break. My short breaks usually meant going to a fitness class, going to a meeting, or going to get groceries. Although not often, these breaks were so important for my own well being. I was a better Mom when I returned from these short breaks and they enabled my daughter to have one on one time with her Dad.

Moving forward as I return to teaching this fall I am going to schedule short breaks for me and for my family. My calendar will now have a slot for “me” time and “family” time. I will schedule these just as I do meetings and appointments. I will continue to be a better Mom and a better teacher and leader as a result!

To me this post is timely for my teacher colleagues who are in need of some “me” time and “family” time. Place it in your schedule for the summer and find a place for it when you begin the 2019-2020 school year.

For everyone else – whatever your passion may be – take time for you and for your family so that you can be your very best. Although we often say we do not have time – remember you are the one scheduling your time!

Taking Risks

About 3 years ago I started thinking about the idea of blogging. I actually wrote a post and then deleted it because I didn’t think it was good enough – whatever that meant. Then, nearly 2 years ago I was serious about trying blogging again. I bought this domain and put together this web page so that I could create my own professional/personal blog. I didn’t know what I wanted to write about but knew I wanted to share something about learning, teaching and leading change.

Here I am 2 years later and still thinking about creating a blog. For the past 6 months I have been reflecting and asking myself “Why have I not written a blog post yet?”. The answer to that has always been simple – I don’t know what theme I want my blog to take. Over and over I have asked myself the same question “What do I really want to share with the world?”. Recently the idea came to me – maybe I just write and the themes of my blog will unfold on their own. Interesting how I have let the worry of perfection stop me from starting.

This post is all about taking risks and conquering our own fears. Today I did that. I have finally shared the beginning of my blogging story. I have realized there is no right or wrong way to share my story – after all it is my journey!