Thanks to the Covid 19 Pandemic, I had a moment to pause this morning in which I realized I am NOT a failure, I AM achieving my dreams!!!! The optics of my life are unconventional, but as I peel back the layers and adjust my glasses I can see that I have achieved so many things I imagined in my younger years. My former vision of success, closely resembles where I am today, but my glasses were tainted. My vision was clouded because the dream life I am enmeshed in is muddy. But as I hose off the mud, and pause, I achieved a moment of inspirational clarity and I could see my achievements, they just looked slightly different than initially imagined.
I can remember the day in high school, like it was yesterday, sitting in the cafeteria with my 122 classmates being asked fill out a form explaining what we wanted to do with the rest of our lives. I can’t remember if it was a college application or a questionnaire, but I do recall the defining moment of “oh my God, I am 17 years old and I need to decide what to do with the rest of my life.”
Upon a decisive moment of reflection, I quickly realized that everything I had ever done in my free time had been with kids. I had coached gymnastics from the the age of 8-18. I babysat from the time I was 11 until the day I went to university. I ran summer playground programs for the city and I had 6 younger siblings ranging from 8-16 years younger than me. Whether or not I liked kids was besides the point, in this moment I realized that everything I had ever done had been with children and clearly this was a calling for me. My stepdad was one of my highschool teachers and one of my biggest inspirations, to follow his lead would be sn honour! In this moment, I knew applying to the faculty of education was exactly what I needed to do.
Fast forward 20 years, and it is clear I chose the perfect career for me. I AM truely an educator to the core of my soul. I was accepted to the Faculy of Education immediately after grade 12. I convocated 4 years later with a B.Ed in Elementary Education. I had 1 job interview and was hired into a full time permanent contract teaching my favourite grade; 5. In 2005, I completed my M.Ed in Curriculum and Education and went on to do my Ph.D in Curriculum and Instruction in 2011. In 2008, I won the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and was flown to Ottawa to meet Prime Minister Stephen Harper in person. In 2009 and 2010, I co-published 2 research studies for the Dr. Stirling McDowell Foundation for Research into Teaching and had the opportunity to take two teachers to Soeul, South Korea and Winnipeg, Manitoba to disseminate our findings, alongside my two favorite professors, at prestigious International Conferences. In 2008, I was hired as Principal of the Elementary School I had poured my heart into. From, 2005-2011 I travelled internationally providing workshops and keynotes on best practice for integrating technology and learning. During this time, I also tutored elementary children in my home, and taught as a sessional lecturer at the same University that I attended as a student for all my degrees. My career was everything I had dreamed of, and more!
In 2012, I relocated and accepted a Vice Principal position in the urban community I was working on my Ph.D in. The Vice Principal role afforded me the opportunity to have less professional pressure snd responsibility in my career allowing more flexibility for my academic exploration. During my time as VP, I worked in 4 different schools over 6 years in a variety of capacities. This journey allowed me to get back into the classroom ( after a 10 year hiatus), as a grade 8 homeroom teacher, a teacher librarian and as a literacy and numeracy support teacher. Regardless of the role, I loved education. I loved the kids, the families, the teachers. Never once I have I regretted my decision to be an educator.
In 2005, and 2008 I gave birth to my son and daughter respectively. I was grateful my educational background afforded me the skills to create novel learning experiences at home and the confidence to parent. I’ve always valued the opportunity to be home with my kids during school holidays and summer vacation. Not relying on a sitter was always a moment of gratitude for me.
In the past 4 years since my divorce, I have
worked 22/ 48 months full time due to a variety of