May the 4th Be with You ~ Part 2

There was great intentionality when the date for our “Pop of Spring” concert this year was determined. Historically, Education Week, the first week in May, is a time when schools open their doors to their community to showcase the amazing things that occur day in and day out. This year it just so happened that the Thursday (always a good night to have a show) was May 4th ~ which of course led itself beautifully to including the Star Wars Theme as one of the band’s selections.

As I reviewed the sheet music and started to play my rented clarinet, I was immediately transported back to my days in the Saunders Symphonic Band, under the direction of the one and only Gwen Beynon (pictured here on the far right. Sitting on the piano bench, also on the right is M.J. McIntyre ~ who I referred to in my previous post). We, too, played this selection ~ although when we were playing it, it had just been newly released, along with the first Star Wars movie. Now it is a classic! As I positioned my mouthpiece, my embouchure started to regain its correct position and those muscles were once again on high alert. As my fingertip pads found holes on the barrel, I started to recall how to play each note. Although I will admit that a quick glance or two on YouTube confirmed how to play B+. As I controlled the speed of air, the sound started to sound familiar. I took great comfort in the middle C range of the notes, the calm tempo, and the familiar melody for this first selection.

Keeping with the Pop music theme, the band also tackled and triumphed with Don’t Stop Believin,’ Counting Stars and Power Rock.  The early morning rehearsals quickly became one of the favourite parts of my day. For those 45 minutes, I was not the principal ~ I was simply another band member. All thoughts of unfilled assignments, meetings and emails were the furthest thing from my mind as I needed to concentrate on the music. My amazing team took care of the front office until I arrived at 8:50 am.

Just like everyone else, I needed to get there early, set up my stand and ensure that I was ready to go. My clarinet section was so supportive ~ they ensured that I had the correct order of the selections. They reminded me how many bars of rests we had before our part and were very complimentary when I played correctly.

I guess I should share how I came to join the band…. Last December at our Winter Wonderland concert, one of our educators, Marc Hodgkinson had joined the band as a saxophone player. We got chatting one day and it turns out that our musical paths had crossed in high school. He is a couple of years younger, but the joy of our bands at Saunders were that they included students from a variety of grade levels. Marc and I actually went on the same trip to Boston with the band ~ although we do not remember each other from those days.    As we were talking about it, Michelle made a comment about me joining the band as well. Once again, Michelle, who masterfully creates this atmosphere of acceptance and inclusivity, was providing me with a wonderful gift. When I penned my “ONEWORD” for 2023, I had selected “Time” and talked about spending intentional time with my students, staff, and community in my final 6 months ~ and here was a perfect way to do just that!

One of the unintended (yet amazing) outcomes of being a part of the band, was the opportunity to see so many of our intermediate students in a different light. I clearly recall one Monday when a student had been sent to the office for some infraction. As she was speaking with our VPs, her tone was less than respectful, and she was reluctant to take ownership for her actions. Another student had made the mistake of making some unkind, inappropriate comments on social media. When we met with her and her family, her manner was less than respectful with her family, and she was not too pleased with my insistence that the family take her phone away from her for an extended period of time.

Fast forward to band rehearsal the very next day and both of these students are absolutely shining 😊. They are respectful, working hard to master their instruments and absolutely adore Michelle. One of them even asked if we could practice our clarinet parts together ~ the same student whose family I encouraged to take her phone away.

We often talk about who is the best “gardener” for a situation. We know that some educators have special connections with certain students. They are the ones who can demonstrate support in conjunction with helping students who have made a poor choice.

I learned quickly that Michelle (even though she has only been with us for one short year) has become a very special, important gardener for so many of our students.  The community that she has built within the music program is one where students laugh, learn and do their best to impress her at all times.

I see that same connection with Marc as he chats with so many of the students in the band. His love of music is a wonderful way to make inroads with students.

Here is to those educators who take time to teach, to support, to garden and to share their love of music ~ May the Force of Music continue to light both your own path and the path of so many students! You are needed now, more than ever


Has music played a part in how you interact with your students?

Come write with me…

Day 5 ~ May the 4th Be With You Part 1

You know when you have a day that is just so jam-packed with activities that you know that it’s going to make it to the memory box?  Well today (and the events leading up today) has been one of those days.

The lessons learned, the laughs, the tears and the appreciation are far too many for one post.  So, in keeping with the Star Wars theme which will come into focus in future posts, this will be a four-part series.

The Choir-yotes

Who can take a group of educators, some of whom have never sang in public before and transform them into an amazing three-part harmonized, beautifully sounding choir?  The one and only Michelle Rees certainly can!    As we were preparing for our Pop of Spring Music concert, Michelle posted a message on our conference site wondering if any staff would be interested in joining a choir.  I love any idea that brings staff together!  So, I completed the Google Form, completely guessing at my range.  I knew that I wasn’t a soprano, nor a bass. So, like I do when I’m unsure, I selected the middle range (alto).  As soon as the idea of joining a choir became a reality, I had an immediate flashback to Grade 8 at Byron Southwood.  In order to join the choir, we needed to line up and sing a note, while our principal, Mr. Dickson walked past us.  In no uncertain terms he made it clear that I was not choir-worthy.  With my crushed ego, I embraced the notion that if I couldn’t sing, at least I could learn to play an instrument and fortunately, Mary Jane McIntyre welcomed me with open arms and my love of band, which lasted 7 years, began.

Fast forward 45 years and there I was sitting in the music portable with my white folder, surrounded by colleagues whom I adore, a music teacher that I didn’t want to disappoint and an ego that wasn’t ready to be shattered.  A plan needed to be hatched ~  I decided that I would  simply mouth the words (with expression, of course) and smile.

However, it quickly became crystal clear that if ever there was a time to “bless and release all fear” it was going to be in this space.  Michelle masterfully created such comfort in all of us, through her song selection, through the posting of the practice tracks and her weekly encouragement.   Week by week our voices started to harmonize and we learned when to emphasize words and when to show crescendo.

There was a time early in the process, as we were so focused on learning the lyrics and following the music (remember not all of us knew how to read music), when someone remarked, “This is how our kids feel”!    It was so true ~ the lines, the bars, the CODA, the crescendo, the repeat signs, etc.  were a different language for anyone who didn’t read music.

I live for those golden moments.  As a principal, we know the power of creating the conditions for our educators to be in the learning lane and what an amazing learning lane this was ~ but the lane was about to become a freeway the closer we got to performance day as Michelle challenged us to stand and try it without our books.  The scaffolding was being removed and it was time for us to fly.

The feeling of accomplishment was undeniable. I think we truly amazed ourselves in how well we sounded ~ and we laughed 😊

Fast forward to today.   We had done our best to keep our performance as a secret.  The only students who knew about it were our MCs.   We were all sitting in the audience, with our Choir-yotes T-shirts covered, until we were announced and made our way to the front.  The audience erupted and it was incredible!

Once the jitters faded and we were able to focus on Michelle and her conducting, we came together beautifully.

As educators, on those days when we doubt our ability to have students learn something new, we need to remember that anything is possible. And the best way to do that is to put ourselves in a position to learn something new.

No Appetite for Counting Sprinkles

Creating the conditions for authentic sharing and celebration is an art, especially in a room filled with dedicated, knowledgeable, and invested administrators. And yet each month, whether in-person or online, our Superintendent of Student Achievement, Purveen Skinner, has masterfully done just that. Our Banting/Westminster/Laurier Community of Schools includes the largest and most complex schools within our entire School Board. Our schools are located in parts of the city where neighbourhoods are expanding at an exponential rate, so overcrowding is a hot topic. Within many of our schools English as a first language spoken at home is in the minority. As a result of the sizes of our schools, we have 3-member administrator teams in some of our schools. Our community includes Government assisted housing as well as million-dollar homes and everything in between. So, to say the least, when we come together each month, we have a multitude of topics that are common to each of us and the discussion about how best to support our schools can be animated.

We have been so blessed to have Purveen as our Superintendent for the last 5 years. During our years together she has demonstrated time and time again integrity, care, compassion, and empathy for our work.  She supports and highlights each of us and the work that we are doing in our schools in such a way that we are consistently learning from each other, not competing against each other. Purveen constructs activities where collaborative conversations occur naturally. She is intentional in reminding us that there is no judgement on what/how we share which alleviates any pressure that we may be feeling. Our family of administrators range from new to the role to those of us who are in the final months of our career and yet there is no hierarchy when it comes to idea sharing, recognition or seeking clarification.

Over the last few years, we have learned so much about how to maintain educational integrity and a focus on student learning through a pandemic, job action and the simple passage of time. I genuinely believe that our Community of School has been able to thrive through these challenges as a result of Purveen’s leadership.

Over the years Purveen has ensured that each of us are sprinkled with support, love and acceptance and provided with a sense of confidence in our work as we enjoy our ice cream cones!


Passing the Torch

Exactly one week ago, I was anxiously awaiting the post in-camera Board meeting email from our Superintendent, wherein she was going to share the name of the incoming Principal.  During the weeks leading up to the announcement of administrative assignments for the upcoming school year (not unlike every year at this time) there was lots of speculation and conversation about which of our colleagues would be embracing new assignments and which of our colleagues would be embracing retirement.  I’ve often remarked how interesting it would be to be a “fly on the wall” as those conversations occur.  I can’t help but hear the soundtrack from Hamilton ~ “The Room Where It Happened ~ No one really knows how the game is played. The art of the trade”

I have no doubt that the decisions are difficult, and the conversations are endless as our Senior Team does their very best to create the conditions for positive succession planning in each of our schools.  In my mind it’s a huge chess board where one move may impact many other moves.

With all chess moves solidified and shared with the Board of Trustees, shortly after 6pm, the email arrived and suddenly weeks of anticipation dissolved.  We learned that Caroline Woodburn would be the incoming Principal and suddenly reality sank in ~ I had to wrap my head around passing the torch.

In my career, I’ve had this opportunity two other times, but this time feels very different.  This torch is one that I did not inherit from another administrator. This torch is one that our school community created, ignited, and continues to use to light our way as we learn together, laugh together, and love each other.  We have been very intentional in many of our decisions about how to cultivate a unique school culture.  We have had a guiding light that has allowed us to stay the course ~ regardless of any obstacles.

Torches not only light the way, but they also have the ability to set something on fire and for those of you who are Survivor fans, you’ll be familiar with the phrase, “Light your torches because in this game, fire represents life”.

On many a day at Sir Arthur Currie, at any given time, both our staff and students are figuratively “on fire” with their passion for learning.  You sense the excitement throughout the building and like the explosive nature of fire, it becomes a chain reaction.

As I ponder the next several weeks, it will be the image, symbolism and importance of our Sir Arthur Currie torch that will light the conversations that I have with Caroline.


Would love to hear your stories about either passing the torch or being on the receiving end of a special torch.


Come write with me….

Appraisals ~ Then and Now

One of my favourite tasks as an administrator is crafting Teacher Performance Appraisals for staff members.  It creates the conditions for intentional conversations about their practice, their students, and their future plans.  I love those conversations where staff are not only open to feedback, but actively seek it which in turn leads to more informal visits as staff explore and experiment with new strategies. They are always so excited when a new strategy works!

These feedback or more appropriately, feed forward discussions have focused on a variety of topics ~ differentiation, formative assessment, how to effectively include evidence informed guided instruction, mental wellbeing, and leadership opportunities, to list but a few.

Thinking about my time as an administrator and how the format of the Ministry Appraisal has evolved and changed to reflect new initiatives and more advanced methods of supporting educators, led me down memory lane….

Last week, as I was on a bit of a scavenger hunt to find my marriage certificate (which I needed to upload for my impending pension) after looking in what I had anticipated would be a logical location, I landed upon a file which I had started in 1985 ~ the year that I graduated Teachers’ College and started teaching.  The file held both my probationary and permanent contracts.  The faded green paper was officially embossed with the School Board seal and the dotted line blanks for name, date and location had been populated with a typewriter.   As I flipped through the file, I landed on my very first performance appraisals from my first practicums as a Teacher Candidate.  Most of them were handwritten (in beautiful penmanship or eloquent primary printing).  The domains included: Academic Background, Objectives, Presentation, Questioning Ability and Personal Qualities. The reports also included Basic Strengths and Constructive suggestions for Improvement. As I read through the comments, the core/heart pieces of what it means to be a good educator and meet the needs of all students were just as important and included in appraisals 35 years ago as they are today.  The phrases may have evolved ~ differentiation which now rolls off our tongue easily is the same as “objectives were tailored to the individual abilities of the students”.

I had to giggle when I reviewed the Constructive Suggestions for Improvement where I was encouraged to, “work on the size of letter formations in printing and writing (neatness is fine)” and couldn’t help but wonder how in some ways times have indeed changed. In my 19 years as an administrator, I’ve never once commented on someone’s penmanship.  On that same note of comments that made me smile, “a variety of presentation aids were used ~ overhead, filmstrip, tape and VCR” revealed my love of technology from the start of my career.

I wonder if in 30 years from now, any of my current staff will stumble upon the performance appraisals that I wrote for them and find components to giggle about!

And…. by the way ~ it was in that very folder that I finally found my marriage certificate.  Which makes sense considering I was married two weeks prior to starting Teachers’ College.

What do you have from the start of your teaching career that has significantly evolved over the years?

Come write with me….

Like Sands Through the Hourglass

Well faithful readers, there hasn’t been much content from me lately, but I’m going to do my best to commit to reprise my Post a Day for the Month of May, as I make my way through the final two months of this school year which also happens to be my last two months before retiring after 35 years in education.

As a child of the 70s, I recall daily soap operas as a staple in most homes. Both my mother and my grandmother faithfully watched these afternoon dramas and could recount the detailed storylines, even though many of them seem far fetched.  Years later, when I became a mom and found myself at home in the afternoons, I became hooked on Days of Our Lives as it coincided with nap time for my kids.  The countless tales of the Hortons and the Bradys and of course the town villain, Victor Kiriakis, which first aired November 8, 1965, are still going strong today.  Although it’s been years since I watched an episode, every once in awhile I catch a glimpse of an article on social media about the show and reminisce.

For any Days fans, you’ll know that each episode opens with Macdonald Carey saying, “Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of lives”.   Life passes quickly, just as the grains of sand slip from the top of the hourglass to the bottom.  It certainly seems like the last 35 years of my career have slipped by.

This past weekend, we came together with our 2023 Teacher Mentors Abroad team and as always, our esteemed, cherished President, Nancy Lorraine set the tone for our day with words of inspiration.  She spoke about the inception of the organization and the extreme importance of our work.  It never ceases to impress me that, regardless of the local political landscape, the appetite for global educational partnerships or even a worldwide pandemic, our work in supporting Dominical Republic educators over the past 18 years has never faltered ~ in fact, we are stronger and expanding at a greater pace than ever before.

I always find myself transfixed when Nancy speaks. She is a gifted speaker whether in her native language of Spanish or in English.

As Nancy finished, she left us with one final thought.  She shared that each of us (and the work that we were about to embark upon) was like a grain of sand ~ which is a fitting analogy when talking about supporting education in a country that has some of the most incredibly, beautiful beaches.

Over the years each individual’s involvement (which may, in isolation, have seemed small and insignificant) is like a single grain of sand and when combined with the actions/passions of others has led to the success of our work in the DR. She also reminded us that we are Agents of Change.


Grains of sand falling through an hourglass may seem small and insignificant, but as they gather at the bottom, they represent more than the passing of time, they represent memories, experiences, and hopefully impactful change.

When you think about the sand falling through your hourglass, what do the individual grains of sand mean to you?

Come write with me….

One Word 2023

As I look towards the 365 unwritten pages of 2023, I’m filled with a sense of new beginnings, heartbreaking endings, and limitless new possibilities.  As many know, I’m anticipating that in June I’ll be passing the torch of my beloved Sir Arthur Currie PS onto the next most fortunate leader as I step away from my role as principal.  My heart begins to beat faster even as I type those words, as putting my plans in print make them that much more real.  Being granted the opportunity to open a new school and support it’s phenomenal first six years has been an amazing journey.  I can’t even begin to imagine what my last day will look like.

Knowing that I have only 6 more months with this incredibly special school community has inspired me to select TIME as my #oneword for 2023.  I want to ensure that I’m dedicating as much time as possible to those components of my profession that bring me joy:

Time with our staff ~ celebrating successes (both personal and professional), challenging theories, and connecting in constructive conversations

Time with our students ~ watching them learn, wondering what their future holds and wishing them success and a sense of accomplishment.

Time with my colleagues ~ learning from them, listening to their narratives and laughing with them (lots of laughter)

Time with our school community ~ expressing my appreciation for their years of support, embracing their diversity and all that they have taught me over the years and encouraging them to open their hearts and minds to the incoming principal

As I look to my world post June 30th, I’m excited (and to be honest nervous and unsure) about how I’ll fill my days.  I have no doubt it will include more intentional time for family, friends, and festivities.

Would love to know your #oneword for 2023.

Come write with me….

Mentorship ~ TMA Reflections 2022

As I was clearing my desk in an effort to display some resemblance of an organized home office, prior to leaving for the Dominican Republic, I landed upon an unopened letter from Western University. It was a generous gift card from Mary Ott and Kathy Hibbert along with a note of appreciation for our work with the Master Teachers Mentor program this past year. The note included the following quote from Simon Sinek.

As happens more often than not, the timing and sentiment of that letter coincided perfectly with our upcoming trip to the Dominican Republic as a part of our work with Teacher Mentors Abroad. This organization has been partnering with DR educators since 2005 and over the past 17 years has supported the work of thousands of DR educators in various districts. This year we celebrated another expansion as our work took us to two new sites ~ La Vega and Consuela.

Historically teams of Canadian educators (most predominantly from Ontario) have partnered with DR mentors ~ individuals who have attended past workshops and taken on leadership roles within their schools/districts and together we have offered 4-day conferences. Although the structure of the workshops has evolved and transformed over the years, the heart of the work has been consistent. We know the power of creating student centered learning environments where augmenting student voice and student choice positively impacts student achievement and hence that criteria has been the heart of our work.

TMA is very committed to supporting and strengthening the pedagogical and facilitation skills our DR mentors and over the past few years, when COVID impacted our ability to travel and provide in-person conferences, we shifted our focus to working more intensely with our DR mentors. Up until March 2020 we had always talked about the power of staying connected between our July conference visits, but never quite found a meaningful virtual way to do so. One of the many positives of the pandemic is that when the conditions are created for you to embrace change, you stop and wonder why it took so long to do so. Hence, between online sessions with our Mentors, the ability for our Program Committee to virtually join the Executive and participate in the strategic planning sessions, and our DR Directors Jose and Juan Pablo visions of expansion, our work this summer was going to look very different and very exciting.

Imperative to our work, is the incomparable passion of our President, Nancy Threan Lorraine, who tirelessly works to ensure that connections are created with the Ministry, private and public organizations so that the foundational pieces are put in place for us to do what we love and what we know is important. Air travel, accommodations, food and on the ground travel are all taken care of for us. I often think what it would look like if an organization from another country connected with our Director and asked if they could come and offer a 4-day conference to 100s of Thames Valley educators. Oh… the questions, the hoops, the red tape that would have to be navigated. With Nancy at the helm and Juan Pablo and Jose on board, we determined that this year, we would be supporting our DR mentors in both Santiago and Santo Domingo, not by co-presenting with them at a conference for their peers, but by intentionally working alongside them as they prepared to facilitate their first conference at new sites.   They were going to be our ambassadors as we took our message of student-centered learning to 2 new districts ~ La Vega and Consuela.

No longer did we need to bring large teams of 8-10 Canadian mentors, nor were we packing materials for a 4-day conference for 100s of participants (Oh, the Post-it notes, markers and chart paper that we once packed, hoping to stay under the 50 lb. limit…lol) or lugging hundreds of copies of the Tribes book through the airport, with the anticipation of having to explain their significance to the Customs officers.  Instead, we needed to pack our backpacks with the mindset of mentorship.

Our work was going to entail three intense days with our DR Mentors which included co-constructing a day long workshop agenda focusing on four topics (that were meaningful and responsive to our La Vega participants) practicing engaging facilitation strategies, developing effective reflection/feedback techniques, and of course building in time for laughter, not to mention translation.

One of the many aspects of working with our DR educators that I love is how they embrace any opportunity to connect. As the “back to school” rhetoric on social media begins, it’s hard to go a day without a North American educator posting their thoughts about “ice breakers” and the comments are usually less than positive. And yet when working with our DR educators, they truly embrace opportunities to get up, move around, act out a scene, draw a picture or sing a song. So, as we came together on that first day, the room was filled with laughter in tandem with authentic learning. We were creating community, which happened to be one of the workshop topics. Our newest Canadian team member was truly amazed and impressed with how our partners embraced these activities.

The three days flew by and by the end of day three, with minimal time to practice, our DR team was excited, ready, and little nervous. As we modeled the power of reflection based on our three days of work, Dani shared the following sentiments:

Regardless of how the conference went in La Vega, we had met our goal of empowering our DR mentors.

Needless to say, the day in La Vega was a huge success. Our mentors worked in pairs and together they provided workshops to groups of twenty-five, four times in a row. We took the opportunity to debrief after each session and by the end of the day they had embraced the feedback and streamlined their presentations. They received praise and encouragement from their participants, including kind words and reassurance from a former Director of Education who joined a group and took part in all four workshops. The feedback was unanimous ~ the participants were thankful for the appetizer (4 mini sessions) but next year they want the full course ~ a full four-day conference.


It has been almost a month since we traveled to the DR and once again my home office desk is piling up with “must read” novels, Post-it notes with ideas for next year, new unopened letters and remnants of a craft project that I started with my granddaughter. And yet, as I start to tidy it up and pack away my passport, I start to wonder:




~ which educators who attended the day in La Vega were so excited about the workshops that they are wondering how to get involved?

~ now that we have mastered the art of virtual connections with our DR mentors, what will our work look like throughout the fall, winter, and spring in anticipation of summer 2023?

~  what other sites besides La Vega are ready and willing to welcome TMA?

~ how can we evolve and strengthen our mentorship skills?

As the list of wonderings continue to flood my mind, I take a moment and give thanks for the incredible gift of this organization and the countless number of individuals who share this insatiable passion for global education and partnerships.

The One

Into the life of every educator there comes those extra special students.  The ones who teach us what it means to be a true educator.  The ones who push us to be our very best. The ones who force us to learn more effective ways to support them. The ones who break our hearts when they struggle. The ones for whom we have shed tears ~ tears of frustration, tears of pain and tears of joy. The ones who we spend lots of time with.  The ones who we think about first thing in the morning and last thing before we turn off the lights at night. The ones we think about as we are out shopping, as we come across stickers or books that will make them smile. The ones that we wish we were better for, because they need us to be better for them. The ones who strengthen our resolve to be patient, to be humble, to be calm and to be creative. The ones for whom we cheer as they conquer their fears and accomplish goals that seemed insurmountable. The ones for whom we keep an extra eye on when they are on the yard. The ones who have enriched our lives and for whom we will forever be grateful.

On the first day of school in 2017, when we opened our doors to our first families, I roamed the playground, not knowing a soul.  I came upon 2 brothers and their grandmother.  They excitedly posed in our First Day picture frame.  Their smiling faces beaming.  Little did I know that one of those brothers would become my “one”.  The one who was about to teach me more than I could ever anticipate. For the next 3 years, we spent lots of time together.  On those days when the yard was a challenging place to be, he would help with odd jobs, like unpacking Chromebooks and iPads.  On those days when being in the classroom was a challenge, he would come to the office.  On good days, it was for a chat and a reset and then back to class.  On the more difficult days, my office became a place of refuge. Yes, there were tough times when his body and mind were dysregulated and unkind, hurtful words were hurled my way.   But, by the end of the day, he always made his way back to apologize. There were times, following a physical outburst, that he would reach his hands out for a squeeze, which seemed to help calm his body. I was, but one of the many staff members who supported him. I learned so much from them. They were masterful at helping him maintain positivity.

In the spring of 2020, he was offered a placement in a specialized classroom, where they were better equipped to support him.  On his last day (in the middle of COVID, during a drive by pick up of belongings) he asked if I would come and visit him at his new school.  Of course I promised I would come to see him and had every intention of following through on my promise.

Unfortunately, with the COVID restrictions and school closures, opportunities for that visit diminished significantly.  But today, the stars were aligned, and I was able to drop into his school for a surprise visit.

I’m thankful for his current principal, who allowed me this gift.  As I walked into classroom, he was working away on a cake for their upcoming cake raffle. Within seconds he realized that it was really me and our conversation commenced ~ like two old friends catching up over a coffee.

He was quick to share all of his accomplishments (making the volleyball and basketball team and playing the clarinet in music class) and introduce me to his classmates and teachers.  We talked about his favourite hockey team and he quickly retrieved his independent reading book and together we flipped through the pages.  I learned about his graduation suit and sparkly tie. Throughout the conversation, he continued to say, “This is the best day ever.  I’m crying happy tears.  This is the like an early birthday present”.  Little did he know that I was holding back tears too.  Tears of pride in this young man and his accomplishments.  He proudly shared his plans for secondary school ~ along with an invitation to come and see him there.  I shared pictures of my granddaughter and the cake that I had made for our cake raffle.  I could have sat there and chatted all day.  We took a journey down memory lane, with him sharing his best memories of being at our school.

I’m so grateful to the team at his current school. They have enveloped him with love, compassion and care. He is ready to take the next step of independence and enter the world of secondary school.

As it came time to leave, we captured a picture of us together and he recorded a message for me to share with staff at our school.  I hugged a few colleagues good-bye and without missing a beat, he said, “Can I have one of those, it’s been a long time?”

As I drove back to the school, I couldn’t help but give thanks.  I will forever be thankful that this special student came into my life and taught me to be a better educator, leader, and person.

Would love to hear your stories about the “one” who impacted your practice.

Come write with me…

From Mad Hatters to the Metaverse

Today, during a text message exchange with a friend I replied, “I’ve got you on speed dial”. Later it occurred to me that I can add that expression to the ever-growing list of outdated sayings which shine a harsh light on my, shall we say, maturity/experience.   Today’s youth has never had to dial a phone number. Usually when they want to use their device to have an actual conversation (which seems more and more rare given their appeal to texting), it’s a touch on the screen of the intended recipient’s name. No longer is memorization of phone numbers even required.  A few days ago, I entered into a impromptu memorization competition with a colleague wherein we took turns reciting those details which are etched in our brains. I could easily recall our first phone number ~ 471-8710.  Back in the day, we did not need to include our area code.  I also recalled my OHIP number and my Social Insurance Number.  Again, back in the day, when I first started teaching, our S.I.N. was our employee number and we had to record it when we signed it each day as a guest educator.

The list of outdated phrases continues to increase, probably at the same rate that new phrases/concepts/words are introduced into popular culture.

As bandwagons no longer travel on our roadways, the phrase “jumping on the bandwagon” holds little connection to today’s generation. I found it interesting that in the mid 1800’s politicians rented space on bandwagons to get time with an audience, which led to the saying “not jumping on the bandwagon of their opponent”.  Today it refers to not mindlessly following anything flashy or popular.

Two months ago, we celebrated my granddaughter’s first birthday with an Alice in Wonderland themed party ~  Ellie in “Onederland”.  Little did I know that the phrase, “As mad as a hatter” referred to the 17th and 18th century hat makers, who, as a result of mercury poisoning (a side effect of manufacturing felt hats) often struggled with cognitive issues.

We often refer to important deadlines being met as happening in, “the nick of time”.  Back in the 18th century, businessmen carved notches on a tally stick. The goal was to arrive before the next nick on the tally stick was carved.

On the other side of the coin (I wonder when coins will become obsolete, and that phrase will be added to the outdated inventory?) new phrases and vernacular are making their way into our conversations.  My kids were sharing “woke”, which is an awareness of injustices in society, especially racism. That was a new one for me.

As educators, we know the importance of words and we know the importance of staying contemporary. We need to give credence to the history of language and the inception of words and phrases.

Which of these are you familiar with?

Gender Fluid

As I look to my granddaughter’s future, I wonder which of our current phrases/words will last the test of time and which ones will become obsolete?