Cult of Pedagogy's Book Club

Exciting news!

One of our favourite teacher leaders, Jen, who blogs at Cult of Pedagogy, has launched her summer 2017 online book club and we are so excited to be participating this year! We decided to divide and conquer this online book club because even though we will be on our summer break soon, we still have a Masters happening (Meaghan) and a toddler to chase (Karley). We love how Jen chose the books for this summer's study via Facebook voting and we are intrigued by the relaxed approach this study will take. 

The first book up on the reading list is "The Hate U Give" by Angie Thomas.  Karley will read this one and partake in the online discussion because she has had her eye on it for a few weeks already.  Read the book and be ready to join the discussion, which starts June 14th! Click HERE and head on over to Cult of Pedagogy for more information on this summer's book club.

Happy reading everyone!


Lion King Jr. Musical

Hi everyone (specifically those of you in SD61),

This is a promotional post for my school's Jr. Musical, The Lion King.  I just got home from opening night and felt I should share on the blog about the show.  First of all, I got teary eyed several times.  Yep - seriously.  There is nothing like seeing "your kids" shine up on stage and truly own their role.  Because I teach the entire student population I got the "extra" gift of knowing every single student in the show! It was so neat to see each performer come to life in a way I sometimes don't necessarily get to see in the day to day life at school.  The performing arts are such a unique and important part of a school culture because students get the opportunity to become part of a tightly knit school community in a way they may not have experienced before.  Every single student I saw perform tonight put hours and hours into the preparation of this show and, as one of their teachers, it is so gratifying to see their hard work pay off in such an enjoyable and authentic manner.

Of course the staff and parents involved in the show's creation, from start to finish, also work super hard! 

Some of my favourite parts of the show include:

-the giraffe costumes (long necks and legs!)
-the background dancers/singers (such beautiful and subtle choreography and voices)
-Pumba and Timone (so well cast, these two individuals are the same characters in real life)
-the lead roles' singing! Amazing!
-the antelope (antelope?) in the stampede...incredible mask artwork and interesting stampede choreography for such a small stage space
-the hyenas (also brilliantly cast) were hilariously on point
-simple props on stage really allowed for the acting, singing and dancing to light up the theatre

I felt I should let you all know to go see The Lion King at Spectrum's theatre on Friday or Saturday evening (May 26th and 27th). Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students.  This middle school production is pretty fantastic!

Well done, Shoreline! You are all so wonderful!

The Golden Shoes

It has been a quiet four months on this blog; the unintended break was necessary, though. Since January Meaghan and I have both been working through some deeply personal "stuff".  We are willing to share some of it on the internet because our "stuff" has informed and impacted our teaching in various ways.

Early 2017 found me seeking professional counseling (for the first time) after a term of crying in my principal/vice principal's office every two weeks.  I thought I was going to counseling for birth trauma related issues and, while that is partially true, it turns out I had decades worth of other issues to work out as well. Funny how that works, hey?  After so much reflection, conversation with a trusted small circle and meditation I finally feel like I've got a slight handle on my head and my heart.

One of the reasons I haven't been blogging very much at all is because since September I've honestly felt like I don't have very much to contribute to this blog; I "just" teach dance, after all.  Self-worth and self-love were a hot topic of my counseling sessions this past winter. Also, my life is very busy; I have an active toddler, a house and a garden to keep, a husband who works full time and who just finished a 1.5 year renovation on our house, it's half marathon season again (how?!) and I work .7 FTE between two schools.  I'll be honest and say that when I do have those rare free hours of time I am actively choosing to not blog.  But then a funny thing happened to me tonight and I felt the familiar bubbling of a blog post idea surface and I quickly realized that maybe it was time to log back on to Wordpress.  So here I am and here are the Golden Shoes:

How awesome are those shoes? They belong to my sister; she wears them casually like how I wear TOMS, but her cool status is so far off the charts that she actually pulls those golden beauties off like she's Beyoncé.

Tonight my sister and I met for our weekly Monday spin at our gym and as soon as I set up my bike I realized I'd forgotten my runners in my kitchen. Since my daughter was born I engage in these "I'm getting dumber every day" moments all the time. It's a minor miracle if I know where my wallet is at any given moment and I am not even kidding. This newfound forgetfulness is frustrating for me because I never used to be this dumb.  In fact, I used to be so smart.  Part of this struggle seeps into my belief that maybe I'm just not smart enough (or good enough) to teach in a "regular" classroom or do a Masters degree.  Maybe I "just" teach dance because I'm too dumb to teach anything else right now.  I've been turning that idea over since September when I decided to go back into the school studio as a dance teacher.

So, I left my runners at home, but my sister had the Golden Shoes in her bag.  She offered me her sweet golden kicks and at first I thought, "No way! I can't spin in these!", but my other option was to spin in eight year old Birkenstocks so I tried the Golden Shoes on.  They fit, kind of. I decided to stick it out for as long as I could because I love my Monday spin class and I was already at the gym. After thirty minutes of spinning in golden high tops my feet started to blister and I decided to ditch the class early because, as I mentioned above, it's early in half marathon training season and I didn't want to waste my feet that much. I left my spin class early (I quit!), but I did my best with what I had for as long as I could. I quit.  Am I a quitter? I totally could have pushed harder. If only I wasn't so dumb then maybe I'd get a real workout in.  Was this spin class even worth it? Does the fact that I "just" teach dance mean that I'm a quitter in my career, too? What if I quit on my big dreams for my dance program? Can I do this alone?

Next year some big changes are happening at my middle school and I'm not sure yet if I'll be teaching at the high school again.  It's May, which interestingly is a season of major (impending) transition in BC schools. The unknown is both heart breaking and terrifying for me; I'll be the first to admit, I do not like change from what is already "a good thing".  I feel like doing my best with what I have for as long as I can is slowly becoming my teaching mantra.  I am so lucky to have this random skill set that allows me to teach school dance, which is something I truly love. I really do work hard at my job, despite the fact that it is, dare I say, easy for me.  And my dance teaching job is a real job, despite what many people might think.  One day the time will come to quit the studio and go back into the classroom, just like how I quit the classroom to go in to the studio. I'm learning that life's seasons will wisely guide me if I just slow down and lean in to the guidance. Thank you, counseling sessions and meditation.

Thanks to my sister's Golden Shoes for serving as an inspiration to me tonight.  It looks like I'm back on the blog!

Life Lately...

Can you hear my sigh of relief? I feel like I have come out of my tunnel at the end of a long couple of months. There has been a lot going on in my life, some to share publicly and some to keep safe.

To really get the picture I need to return all the way to January 7th. I had just returned from the first weekend of the second course of my Masters. Within minutes of arriving home, I fell to my knees in the corner of my bedroom in uncontrollable tears. I felt as if I was watching my life crumble. This seems a bit dramatic looking back but at the time life felt so out of control I felt like I was collapsing under it's weight.

On December 30th my husband awoke having what we now know was a panic attack, at the time we thought it was heart related. He went to the hospital in an ambulance and I followed shortly after. That day we were given very few answers but over the next weeks things started to become more clear as the panic continued. This is his story to share so I will not go into further detail, just know that if you haven't dealt with panic or anxiety attacks it is a very real and scary thing.

The next week was spent trying to figure out what care and treatment was needed. On Friday January 6th I headed up to Nanaimo for my Masters course. I was in a bit of a daze, not knowing how to leave my husband when he needed my support but needing to be there for the course I had committed to. That was also the weekend I was introduced to every single assignment and paper I would need to be working on for that term. On a good day, the work load would have seemed overwhelming.

On January 7th, after the tears, I stood up and made the choice that I needed to reach out to anyone who could support us through this time. I needed to figure out how to be a supportive wife, a dedicated teacher, and a Masters student. This I could not have done without help.

Since that week I feel like I've lived a year... I have written what will become the first three chapters of my Masters thesis. I have learned more than I ever thought I would about what it means to be a loving partner.I have dealt with being evicted in a city with a 0.5% vacancy rate. I have chosen to dedicate my days at school to my students with my whole heart, while being able to leave at the end of the day and return to the other parts of my life. I have been a volleyball and track coach. I have given presentations. I have written report cards. I have been a mentor teacher to two practicum students.

I have survived and laughed and cried and loved.

When I say this has been one of the toughest periods of my life it is not without hesitation and thought. I know that many people struggle with things that seem far more enormous than my daily struggles lately. However other people's mountains don't diminish my own.

Today I feel strong and proud. There are many things that I let slip over the past few months but I held on to the things that matter.

As we head into these last two months of the school year I am confident that I have put as much into my classroom as was possible. I have no regrets about the things that matter. Yes, I hope to start working out and eating healthier again but there is a season for all things in this life. Yes, I am still on the hunt for a new home but whatever happens will be okay since we are lucky enough to be surrounded by family. Yes, there are uncertainties and struggles that lie ahead but there is strength and beauty there too.

Thank you for reading.
Our blog continues to hold a special place in my heart and I have many things that I want to continue to share.

A Little Break

Hello online community,

We are here! It has been several months since we've logged in to this blog.  This long pause in blogging was not intentional and we didn't even discuss taking a break...we just did.  Life has thrown us all kinds of curve balls in the last 3.5 months and this blog became less and less of a priority over that span of time.  The best part about this unintentional break is that we both didn't really worry about it at all, which, if you know either of us well, says a lot about how much personal work and development we've been doing recently.

The blog has been sleeping, but we have been busy working behind the scenes of the internet world and not sharing out as much as we usually do.  We do have several draft post ideas half written and we are still doing hard and rewarding work in our respective classrooms; hopefully we will find the space and time to share out more as the school year's end draws nearer.

That's all for tonight! We just thought we should check in and say "HI" because our moms have been noticing our lack of posts lately.  Stay tuned for some more updates coming (hopefully) soon!