Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Keep calm...life changes rapidly...and mine is definitely doing that right away!

As I head off on Maternity Leave on Friday, I am reminded that life is definitely something that needs to be treasured. As busy and hectic as this week is and will continue to be as I prepare for my replacement, get report cards completed, finish up my extra-curricular commitments and basically just try to find some time to enjoy my students, I know how much I will miss this school while I am absent.

People make a big impact on you whether you want to admit it or not. You can fight against the bad people impacting you, and sometimes it is those who we are frustrated with that take the most time from us, but in their impact you can find something positive to take away. Even if that is just to not be that way to others. It is those positive people you encounter in your day that deserve more attention. They make an effort, a choice, to be positive and/or happy and that is something we should all strive for. It is a reminder that life has its ups and downs and you need to ride them as it comes. For example, I have been taking time away from blogging (I'm sure only some of you actually noticed), but I didn't feel like I had something of interest to write about! That may or may not have actually been true in the end because as I tell my students all the time "You always have something interesting to write about, you just need to choose a direction and go. Someone will connect to it!" I should listen to my own advice sometimes, haha!

Well here I am, writing to you on the Tuesday before I take a hiatus from teaching to have my second child. We are so very excited to meet this little one and start this next adventure in our lives. I've heard it many times that "life is a gift". But it isn't until you're faced with a huge challenge, huge change, or huge joy, that you actually believe or understand that statement. Well mine is coming up soon, and I am ready for it! After my mother passed away, I was apprehensive of going through this process without her. She was a big presence around us after our son was born in 2012, and I still can't imagine what this is going to be like without here physically present with us. I know she's around me, around us, but that pain is still acute when I miss her. I am not sure that will ever go away really, and in some ways I don't exactly want it to. She is going to be super excited when this baby is born and I can see her crying with joy once we get to meet him or her.

I guess the point I am trying to make is that life is short, life is precious and you need to take time from being busy to make sure you enjoy all the little moments that make up your life before it changes or ends. I'm filled with so many emotions this week that I can hardly express to anyone what I am feeling. I guess that is okay. If you know me, then you know it's normal, my being full of all kinds of emotion haha!
Cheers to life - here's to looking forward to new adventures! Chat with you soon!

Monday, January 05, 2015

On loss, grief, moving forward, and balance...

Sometimes it can be hard to find focus on a writing topic. I have struggled with what to write about lately on my blog. What do you want to hear? What do I want or need to say?
Many times I am left floundering with half-written posts that never get published or simply keep myself busy with the million other tasks a teacher does in a day. But fresh off of a 2 week vacation, I feel like I need to write about something that has been effecting my life for a while now.

I have had a difficult year. 2014 was hard in many ways for me but the one thing that has kept me going is my students, colleagues, and my family. I lost my mother to cancer in December 2013, four days before Christmas. My mother and I were very close, she was my best friend. It was devastating to lose her after only finding out in September that she had developed lung cancer and had found tumours that had spread all throughout her body and bones from a very aggressive form of the disease. Those last 3 months with Mom really put my life in perspective. I dropped everything and was at her side as much as possible. I had to come back to work from my maternity leave in November 2013 and luckily Mom was able to come home for a week or so during my son's first birthday. Many people wondered why I didn't try to extend my leave to spend more time with my Mom, but I felt as though I needed some distraction. My job focused my day and got me out of bed and stopped me from crying every moment of the day. I was probably not the best teacher during the last 2 months (or more) from that year, but I found myself able to move forward (the way Mom would want me to). It is all about balance, and trying to find that during a traumatic time can be very challenging. My Mom was very strong-willed and was "keeping her head up and pushing forward" throughout the whole ordeal.

No one wants to feel days closing in but it happens for some people. A person's outlook on life can make a huge difference in how the situation affects those around you during that time. My mom had sad days for sure (who wouldn't), but made the choice to remain as solid as possible for me and my sisters. A commitment to living your life the best way you can is really the only solution to being happy. There is no day that goes by that Mom doesn't come into my mind, and make my heart hurt. Not many days have gone by that I haven't cried. Having my little guy William is the one thing that pushes me to smile every day. Mom told me to take him outside as much as I can, don't let him just play video games when he's older, and hug and kiss him everyday - so that is what I do. In 2014, I found out I was expecting, in April 2015. Again, I cried that the one person (besides my husband) that I wanted to tell first, was not there anymore. But I am reminding myself that she already knows, and that she is super excited for us and is telling me not to be upset but be very happy and look forward to the new bundle of joy coming to join our family.

I know that grief and loss is not something you get over, but something you live around and adapt to. You grow around it, you become someone maybe a little different than you were before. This is all coming to be a strong realisation for me as I just passed the one year anniversary of my Mother's death, and as I spent my first real holiday season without her. I kiss my family and hug them all the time. I love deeply and put more effort into things I feel are important, including a lot of things that I deemed to be "little things" before but are now finding to be the "big things". I shrug off the things  I can not control and do not let them get the best of me, because if you can't control it then it isn't worth the worry - what will happen will happen and what will be will be. This can be a challenging outlook when life gives you lemons, but remember that there are always people who love you, and you just need to take time for re-balance yourself. You never know how much time you have for yourself or anyone you care for in your life, so be present. Live the moment as positively as you can, because it can all be gone in the next. Whether work gets you down, you're fighting with your best friend, partner or spouse, your child is throwing a tantrum, your car breaks down...whatever it is...it can always be worse so stay positive and look forward with your head up because good stuff is coming to you eventually. Hug your family, show them you care the best way you can and life will be full for you; I know I will. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

School Year Start Up: How to Get Through It

School Year Start Up: How to Get Through Why does the beginning of the year fly by? I wouldn't always say it is because we are having fun...yet I wouldn't always say it is because we aren't having fun either. Oh "school year start up", how we dread you as you approach, how we don't sleep well the night before, and how we feel so exhausted after you happen. Some things never seem to change. I can be over-prepared to the point of having the first month completely planned, or wing it for the first two weeks, it doesn't matter. I seem to hit a wall at some point anyway. Here is the wall: exhaustion! 

Exhaustion not from the students themselves, they are usually still pretty happy to be at school and are not complaining too much at this point, but exhaustion from being torn in fifty directions. I live in a rural community and my family is involved in agriculture. As you can imagine, life in my house from the months of August-November are just insanely busy. My husband is extremely busy and I end up running my household as almost a single parent during these months. I'm sure you can imagine (if you don't have children) just how fun and simple that would be (those of you who do can likely relate well). But looking back I do recall school start up to be a thorn in my side from teaching year one. As I am entering my 8th year of teaching I hate to admit out loud but it isn't getting any easier (sorry new teachers, it's the truth). 
The question then becomes how the heck can we fix this? How can we manage work, kids (if applicable), house, lawn, personal maintenance, exercise and general health? Oh the answer is easy, quit! Ok, just kidding (sort of). A person needs to really get a handle on the things that matter the most. Does tomorrow's laundry need to be done? Yes. Does getting a turkey for thanksgiving need to be done in September? No. Do you need to feed yourself (and family or kids) a healthy meal every single day? It would be nice to be healthy every day but the reality is "lets just eat food" most days.
To summarize, pick you battles. Choose where you attention really needs to be that day and what matters the most right now. The rest will fall into place. Let's face it, we can all multi-task when we need to and as we need to, the things on our list will get done. Put your feet up tonight because school start up days are winding down and it is time to settle in for the long haul. Enjoy your night 

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

My life has changed....Google Docs are GENIUS

I have been using Google Docs for years...I obviously have not been using them to their full potential! Wow. It is funny how you can miss things that are right under your nose. 

Google Docs 
You can research the words you write by clicking on the tools menu and choosing research. You can then cite your source! And choose the format for citing. OH MY GOSH!  GENIUS! My students will LOVE me again! 

This begs a bigger question....what ELSE do I not know about Google Docs? 

SHARE IT WITH ME by Commenting on this post!! 

Technology and Revival iTSummit14 -Keynote Day2

Technology and Revival 

R.Hurley iT Summit - Keynote Day 2 - May 6/14

What really matters is the nature of conversations. What types of conversations are you having in your staff room? People need to focus on positive things, and find common ground. That is how revival will happen.

Find the fun.
If you didn't think you need fun, then you definitely NEED fun!
Use your imagination. We always remember the teachers from our own years in school, who had fun. We need to inspire kids with our joy.

If school is predictable, then it CAN be boring. If we change things, it CAN be different. It can be better and more inspiring.

Neat Video
LEARN by Rick Mereki on Vimeo 
Learning comes from risk taking
You don't need to be in a school to learn
Powerful learning can be from doing something physical
Self-direction and authenticity

GENIUS - Google Search
filetype: ppt 
All results will be a powerpoint
filetype: pdf
All results will be a pdf


If you think about the moments of learning you remember. What was happening? Change the way you are teaching. Instead of 'more time', we need more 'good' time.

Caine's Arcade 
A cardboard arcade made by a 9 year old boy.
Try the cool ideas. Get in the space and try it!

Every teacher should do one good PR assignment for your school each year. When kids have an audience for their work, they do better. Have them get into their community and make a difference, and reach their potential.

Will Richardson - Book:Why School?

My Name is Michael - Video about a child with Autism - from his perspective. Inspiring, touching.