Teacher Traits to Bust

Lately we've been doing some reflection on the typical traits that come along with being fully immersed in the role of "teacher".  We are very aware that the world of working professionals (all professionals, not just educators) tends to glorify the concept of being busy constantly.  As go-getter educators we fall victim, to this trap as we both tend to pack our schedules full to the brim.  During the work week we both lead lunch time clubs and teams at our respective schools, we both either stay late at work, or bring work home to finish, and we both attend more professional development sessions in a school year than we are required to do.  We love our vocation; yet, we both often crave personal downtime and struggle to schedule that in.  I (Karley) can honestly admit that I sometimes feel a twinge of pride when I send off an email to a colleague at 10:45pm, thinking, "Ha - I did it.  I worked all day and I am still working!"

But what the heck!? Why do we do this to ourselves?

This year we vow to start chipping away at busting some of these typical teacher traits, such as glorifying the martyrs of education.  Here is what we have in mind:


This year I plan to start shedding the label of "teacher".  As a young athlete I found my identity in rhythmic gymnastics and very quickly became known as "the gymnast" in my extended family, peer group and hometown.  I held on to this label for way too many years; in fact, when I was a B. Ed university student I still identified with the gymnastics label even though I had retired from the sport five years earlier.  I remember consciously deciding in my mid 20s that it was time to let go of "being the gymnast".  It was hard for me to shed that label, which ultimately led me down a path of struggle and healing.  If I wasn't "the gymnast" anymore, what was I?  After University I quickly picked up a new label: "the teacher".  I wore this fresh new label so proudly, brandishing my teacher card at any store clerk who would provide the "teacher discount" for me.  As a new teacher I quite literally worked non-stop (and loved almost every single moment of it).  In fact, there are many posts in this blog's early archives where you can read my super keen, brand new teacher writing - hilarious! At this point in my life I wear many hats.  I am a wife, a mama, an educator, a friend, etc., but often the label I immediately attach to is still "the teacher".  I think it's time to work on dropping the label again and I'm curious about what might happen if I start to release my grip on this title I worked so hard for.  I'll keep you posted on my progress!


Oh all the things we need to change... I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Why is the overworked teacher a point of pride? Why do we constantly do more and more without getting rid of other things? It's not just about burnout, it's about choosing to have a balanced life. This past year I have been consumed by all things education with my Masters and teaching full time, and in many ways I've loved it! I love being more knowledgeable about current educational research and I love being connected with so many people in this profession. But I'm learning that you can keep all the great, fun parts of the job and find ways to do less work. Set times to go home and stick to them. Don't take work home on holidays and weekends, even if it means staying a little later on other days. There will always be times when we are extra busy - report cards being one of them. But why do we feel the need to overload ourselves during the rest of the year. A lot of this is not being done to us, whether we want to admit it or not it is often our choice to take on extra work. One of the things I want to start changing are leaving huge sub notes when I'm away. These often take me hours to write and prep just perfectly when really this is a qualified teacher who is capable of handling my classroom for a day. A note for math like "We are reviewing multiplication and division, do you have a game or activity?" has often led to creative new games and activities that I can add to my own repertoire. They are teachers and I need to start treating them like a professional, give them the notes about students (the ones that could probably be reused each time for most of the year) and the shape of the day.

When someone asks me how I am doing, I am no longer going to respond with "Busy." Busy is not a way of life that I want to embody anymore. I'm done with busy.


Soft Starts

Soft starts are a way of easing into the day (or week/term) at school. We had a soft start on our first day back. In our class that meant reading good books, practicing mindfulness, reconnecting with each other through circle, and having some fun. I believe in soft starts because that's what I need, a slow ease back into this whole school thing. Reflecting on my Monday, I realized how I was starting to apply the soft start to the rest of my life...

Our 2018 mindfulness journey started with this great book and Calm.com, followed by some new book sharing inspired by a Cult of Pedagogy post.

Soft Start

At this point in my Masters/teaching/life journey I really just needed a soft start into 2018. I had a wonderful, quiet post-New Years week. I was able to sleep in, read, relax, exercise, and spend time with important people. Along with that I also got a good amount done on my thesis and did some food prep for the term.

More importantly than the things I did, however were the things I did not do.

  • I did not wake up early for a spin class
  • I did not go into school to prep and clean up
  • I did not spend hours planning lessons
  • I did not bounce around trying to see all of my friends at least 3 times
  • I did not force myself to run long distances
  • I did not worry about the time I went to bed
  • I did not clean every corner of my home

All of those things are things I normally would do on my time off. Most of those things aren't bad things to do, but my soft start this year involved a lot of just letting it go.

So I have had two long days at school this week doing the things I could have done over break. But so what? I feel more relaxed and happy at school and home then I have in a long time.


Along with my soft start to the new year I'm being gentle with myself and my intentions. My word for the year is "Fun" because I realized that the lack of fun in my life was becoming an issue. I needed to let myself let go more often.

Fun - Laugh more. Play more.

Along with this intention I have some other things that I would like to do this year as well, but in keeping with my soft start these are intentions and not goals.

I have made the choice to take an education leave one day per week until Spring Break to help with my work life balance. We could really use that extra day of pay right now but I need a soft start into this thesis writing and teaching term. Money can't buy that peace of mind.

This past year has really taken a toll on my physical health and I want to get back on top of my health and fitness. But instead of going about this in the "go hard at the gym every day and cut out all treats from my diet" approach I'm often inclined to take; I've set the intention to eat healthier and work out three times a week. Three times a week seems like a small goal for the typical me but this year I need this soft start. I need to welcome health and fitness back into my life in a gentle way.

We worked hard to get a lot of our boxes unpacked from moving in the fall, but there are still 3 or 4 sitting in the corner, as well as many pictures we want to hang. But I am loving my home and we will get to those when we feel like it. I want to come home from work, eat a good dinner, and spend time together instead. I want to get our place sorted out this year, but it doesn't need to be now. Soft start.

Those are just a few of the ways I've been giving myself a soft start to 2018, most importantly I'm just being more gentle with myself. I have accomplished so much in the past year but so much of it has been deep heart work that is only visible to me. That means I need to be gentle and caring with this heart of mine. It has been working and loving hard.

Soft starts mean that I need to continue to be gentle with myself.
And it means I need to allow myself to have more fun!

What are your intentions for 2018?

Have you had a soft start to your year?

A.W.E. - Awaken Wellbeing of Educators Retreat

Hello everyone!

We are breaking the summer silence on the blog to share an incredible upcoming event with you.

Are you an educator who recognizes the value of self-care?  Do you work tirelessly to create a positive classroom learning environment?  Yet do you often feel exhausted at the end of the day/week/month? 

Now more than ever, our world needs educators who model compassion, mindfulness, and self-care for the health of our children.  

This is an invitation to all educators to attend a purposeful day of nourishment and stillness.  The one-day retreat will help you find ways to place wellbeing at the forefront of your life.

What: AWEsome Wellbeing Retreat for Educators.

When: Saturday, September 30th 2017, 9.30am-4pm.

Where: Roundhouse Farm in Victoria, BC.

Who:  Anyone who identifies as an educator in any field.

About Lisa: Lisa Baylis is a well respected high school counselor and educator in our district here in Victoria.  Lisa's passion lies in cultivating wellness and teaching wellbeing practices to both educators and students.  The AWEsome Wellbeing Retreat for Educators has been a work in progress for many months and we are very excited to share a day of stillness and wellness with educators this fall. Stay tuned for more details coming soon!

Check out Lisa's website HERE.

GAFE Summit Victoria - Review

Most important things need to go first. Some of our most vulnerable community members lost everything in a fire early Friday morning. This is a community my husband and I have been actively involved in for over 6 years now and there are past students of both Karley and I who have been affected. Please help in any way that you can: Go Fund Me for financial support and Quadra Village Community Centre for donations and in person contributions. We thank you for supporting these precious, resilient, young hearts that need us right now.

The GAFE (Google Apps for Education) Summit Victoria was this weekend...


Wow! What can I say? I went into this weekend expecting to be inspired and ready to have more tools to bring into my classroom to increase student engagement. This happened, but something else happened too...

Heart. Karley and I say this all the time but this is heart work. The centre of everything we do, in our classrooms/studios and here on the blog, is our hearts. This weekend was so full of heart. Connections with friends and people I met for the first time. Relationships with students remaining the centre of everything we do. Technology supports our practice: it increases engagement, accessibility, and output.

But it is our heart that will always be the most important part of what we do.

It is really hard to sum up this weekend in words so I thought I would give you the key things that stood our to me from some of the sessions and keynotes. I'm happy to give more details about anything (ask in the comments).

Rushton Hurley
Keynote: Singing Songs to Success

  • What if that limitation is a source of strength for that student?
  • Favourite new word: Omoluabi (The omoluabi concept signifies courage, hard work, humility and respect)
  • If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong - today we are going to try something new!

Brad Cunningham
Session: GAFE and Indigenous Ways of Knowing

  • We have only been learning in schools for 200 years, how were people learning before this?
  • We need to acknowledge these other ways of learning.
  • We need to make explicit connections between what we are doing and how it connects to Indigenous Ways of Knowing
  • Decolonize assessment: start with where a student wants to get to and coach them along the way to get there

Read&Write for Google Chrome
Session from Will Lewis at TextHelp

  • Capabilities: Speech to text, text to speech, picture dictionary, word prediction, simplifying text, highlighting while it reads, and the list goes on!
  • If you aren't familiar with Read&Write this is one you need to get ready to use - It will change things for your students

Mike Jackson
Session: Using Peardeck as a Student Response

  • This Chrome Add-on allows for instant feedback with a question and response system
  • You can using drawing, written, true/false, continuum, number line, etc.

Trevor MacKenzie
Session: Dive into Inquiry

  • The four stages of inquiry: Structured, Controlled, Guided and Free
  • Teach the students the skills and build up to the free inquiry
  • Start with a question and structured inquiry can happen all the time
  • Honouring questions in students: as simple as having a question jar and then work together to help students find ways to answer questions
  • If you aren't familiar with Trevor's work you need to read his book!
    (We will do a book review here soon)

Holly Clark
Sessions: The Right Question and Digging Deeper into The Right Question

  • Based on: "A More Beautiful Question" and "Make Just One Change"
  • Getting students to generate a list of questions based on a question focus that inspires students
  • Question focus needs to be: it has a clear focus, it isn't a question, it provokes and stimulates new lines of thinking, doesn't reveal teacher preference or bias
  • Students write down as many questions as they can without stopping to answer or judge questions
  • Discuss open/close questions and then work to change questions from open to closed, or closed to open
  • Resource: The Right Question Institute

Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt
Session: Setting Learning Intentions Based on the Spirit of Alliances
*You may remember this amazing teacher and friend of mine from this guest post

  • Rebecca uses the Spirit of Alliances (from our district's Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement) to have her kindergarten class set learning intentions each day
  • This practice truly imbeds Aboriginal education and First Nations culture into the everyday classroom in a remarkable way
  • I am so inspired to try this in middle school (another blog post will be coming soon!)

Donnie Piercey
Session: Google Classroom: An Advanced Guide

  • How to use Google Classroom to support what you are already doing in the classroom with questions, discussions, and assignments
  • Rubrics attached to assignments (I don't know about you but this is what I've been waiting for ever since I started with Google Classroom!)

Tracy Poelzer
Closing Keynote: Overcoming the Imposter

  • This is the session that everyone needs to hear at the end of all amazing learning
  • Don't compare yourself to others, don't let your brain tell you that you aren't good enough, and spread joy and kindess
  • Tell yourself "I AM a teacher, I AM enough, and I am a really BIG DEAL!"

Okay that's all I can bring myself to put into words right now. Please ask questions in the comments and if you were at GAFE I would love to hear some reviews and key points from other sessions!


Feel Good Friday: Humans of New York

Hey everyone,

Just a quick post today about a Humans of New York (HONY) story that's been making waves this week.  HONY, created by photographer, Brandon Stanton, aims to capture the portraits and stories of the unique individuals who live and work and gallivant in New York.  This simple, yet astoundingly beautiful, act of art has generated a huge following on social media since its inception in 2010.  Earlier this week Brandon photographed a young boy who shared a story about his personal champion, his principal, Ms. Lopez.  This is what the boy said:


"Who's influenced you the most in your life?"
"My principal, Ms. Lopez."
"How has she influenced you?"
"When we get in trouble, she doesn't suspend us. She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us. And she tells us that each time somebody fails out of school, a new jail cell gets built. And one time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter." source

Naturally, as an educator who aims to be just like Ms. Lopez, I cried when I saw this HONY post.  This post had the most incredible reaction from Facebook followers and many people asked how they could help the boy's school.  Fast forward to today...

Brandon (HONY photographer) managed to track down the real Ms. Lopez and he ended up in a series of meetings with her.  In only five days Brandon, Ms. Lopez and a team of other individuals have managed to raise over $350,000 for the school, Mott Hall Bridges Academy.

Can we all just stop for a minute here and send some gratitude to the young man who was brave enough to share his story with Brandon.  Because of that boy's shared story, his school now has the ability to achieve some serious goals and create some phenomenal projects in the months to come!  I absolutely adore this story.  Three cheers for Ms. Lopez, Brandon and the students at Mott Hall Bridges Academy - way to be the change!

I bought our own versions of Humans of New York for Christmas this year.
I bought our own versions of Humans of New York for Christmas 2014.


New Year Intentions

Tale of Two Teachers is going to take an official holiday break, but before we go, here are our thoughts on New Year Intentions.  Wishing you all a happy season of joy and light and love.  See you in 2015!

Karley's Thoughts

A while back I stopped consistently using the words "goal" and "resolution" and I started replacing those words with the word "intention".  In my opinion, the word intention gives space for reshaping of the goal or resolution - it allows for a plan to be made, and have that plan change.  Fluidity and flexibility is key for me; having a newborn baby at home no longer allows for concrete plans so instead we now call our plans "ideas".  We say things like, "We have an idea to get groceries today" or,"We have an idea to attend that volleyball party".  Sometimes our ideas happen and sometimes Charlee demands we do other things instead, like sit on the couch for three hours and snuggle.  We are okay with this change of plans ideas; this is our life now!

Because I am not teaching for the rest of this year I decided that my New Year Intentions don't necessarily need to be about teaching.  That said, I have a sneaky suspicion that these non-teaching intentions might end up having a dramatic impact on my teaching practice once I return to work next school year.

Intention 1: Give presence.  You may have seen this lululemon video making its way around the internet (note: this video does have a less than desirable word in it; view with caution!)  This is my first New Year intention because since Charlee was born I have become much more conscious of how much I use my phone.  My sister told me the other day that I don't actually use my phone very much presentcompared to others, but I know I could decrease the usage.  I am aware of how babies learn by watching and I don't want my daughter to be reaching for my phone to play with when she's not even one year old.  I also intend to be more present in other areas of my life (relationships, diet, exercise).  You can count on me to keep you posted on the progress of this intention!

Intention 2: Work (out) hard.  Two days before I found out I was pregnant I ran my longest distance (14km) in a pretty good time.  I was ten weeks into training for my first half marathon and I was in the best shape of my adult life.  I decided to stop running because the week after I discovered I was pregnant I had a hemorrhage.  That hemorrhage scared me enough to cease all intense physical activity.  I told myself that I would start running again in February 2015 once the baby was born and I was healed.  This is still my plan and I can't wait to start running again - this time I am training for the lululemon half marathon in August.  Until then, I intend to slowly rebuild my strength and conditioning.  I have a long and difficult history with body image struggles, most of which has been dealt with, but there's something about gaining 35 pounds in eight months that makes a person a wee bit crazy.  I intend to be gentle with myself, but I am also determined to be an incredible role model for my baby daughter.  I never want her to hear me put myself down because of how I look/don't look; therefore, I intend to work (out) very hard this year.

Intention 3: Finish what I start.  I'm a fantastic starter and a terrible finisher.  If you don't believe me, come and see the plethora of half completed Pinterest projects I have strewn about my house!  This year I intend to finish what I start.  I know I'm going to have to start small because this quality does not come naturally to me.  For example, I really need to put my clothes away after I do laundry.  I also really need to put my dirty dishes in the dishwasher instead of on the kitchen counter.  These things sound lame, I know, but I'm confident once I practice enough and get good at them then the whole "finishing Pinterest projects" will actually happen!

Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year!
Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year!

Meaghan's Thoughts

Last year I chose one word for my New Year's resolutions and it was "intentional." I wanted to try to make sure (almost) everything I was saying and doing was in line with my core values, beliefs, and life goals. I became much more focused on what I wanted and put a lot of effort into working toward some big goals/plans... I worked hard. I trained and ran a marathon. I traveled to a new country. All in all it was productive, amazing, and honestly - tiring! This year my focus is going to be on balance.

#1 - Balance with work:

I am going to keep work at school and not bring too much home with me - I have been practicing this method for a while and it has worked well. I am also going to be very specific with the areas of teaching I am going to change and work on so that I don't overwhelm myself trying to do everything at once. Also, I am going to continue to ask for help from amazing friends and colleagues so that I remain inspired and feel supported.

#2 - Balance with fitness:

I am very proud of myself for running my full marathon last year - Very proud! It was an amazing experience and I learned so much about myself in the process. But it was absolutely exhausting! I ended up taking about three months off of running afterwards just to mentally recuperate and I am still dealing with some of the physical healing six months later. This year I am going to get back into training at a reasonable level (although I might choose to do another marathon, I will not be doing the bulk of the training during the busiest time of year). I am also going to balance my running with strength training, yoga, pilates, and massage/physical therapy so that I continue to take good care of my body.

#3 - Balance with my time/priorities:

I am busy - always have been, probably always will be. I really like being busy for the most part and I've enjoyed the process of combining important aspects of my life in order to fit different things in. I've been making more of an effort to run with friends so I can combine my social time with my fitness. This year I am still taking online courses, teaching full time now, and I will be training for a half marathon. I love all of that (well... maybe I don't LOVE the courses haha) but I need to make sure that I am feeling balanced with my time alone and social time too! If this means skipping a workout or not staying late at school, then that's what I need to do! I am determined this year to be more balanced with my priorities so that I can be happier and healthier!

What are some of your New Year Intentions? Share with us!


The Student-Mama

I know.  Equal parts ridiculous and adorable.
I know. Equal parts ridiculous and adorable.

As a new mama I've been placed back in to the role as a learner.  I am a "student-mama", if you will, and nothing made this more glaringly apparent than the eleven days Joel and I spent learning from and about Charlee while she was in the special care nursery at the hospital in Vancouver.

First things first, the nurses in the special care nursery are a seriously incredible type of nurse.  During my recent hospitalizations I've come to learn more about the nursing profession; don't get me wrong, all nurses are amazing, but special care/NICU nurses are just that extra touch of exceptional.  We saw a large turnover of nurses during our eleven days, and of course we had our "favourites", but each and every single nurse taught us something new about taking care of our premature baby and we couldn't be more grateful for the knowledge they imparted on us.

I mentioned in our family blog how amazing Joel has been since Charlee was born (the man has always been amazing, but he's taken it to the next level in the last few weeks!)  Because of my c-section and high blood pressure I was somewhat out of commission for a few days, so Joel learned all that he could right away from the nurses and then passed those new skills on to me as soon as I was able to move around post-op.  I thought that I'd have a decent understanding of how to feed a baby her bottle because, you know, I grew up playing with dolls!  Turns out, dolls don't move around and squirm quite as much a real, live baby.  Dolls also don't spit up or choke on their milk (at least the toy dolls of my generation didn't...)  Needless to say, a session of serious hands on training was in dire need.

Here's a check list of a few essential things we learned during Charlee's stay in special care:

-how to feed her (both breastfeeding and bottle feeding)
-how to burp her
-how to change diapers/deal with crazy diaper rash
-how to swaddle her
-how to bathe her (not an easy task!)

Baby boot camp is paying off in spades and we've only been released for five days!  Here is Charlee and me, doing some 3.30am hot laps around the kitchen/living room while stopping to refuel along the way.
Baby boot camp is paying off in spades and we've only been released for two weeks! Here is Charlee and me, doing some 3.30am hot laps around the kitchen/living room while stopping at the fridge to refuel along the way.

We practiced these few things continually while the nurses were constantly by our side making suggestions, adjustments and assessments to and of our practice.  Keep in mind, these nurses were also tending to five other babies and their parents as well.  I must admit that I cried a decent amount of tears during this rigorous baby boot camp (if any of my students from last year are reading this, I KNOW...the crying).   I recall thinking this THIS must be what it's like to be the new and quiet student in the rambunctious, fully functioning classroom - all things running smoothly around you while you silently melt down and curse the fact that you're so out of the loop.

Being a student-mama in the special care nursery is very much comparable to being a student-teacher in a classroom.  The student-mama is guided and taught by skilled professionals, like the student-teacher.  The student-mama is given a whole whack of strategies, tools and opinions to "help cope", like the student-teacher.  The student-mama is completely, 100% overwhelmed from the start, like the student-teacher.  All I can say for sure is that I am entirely grateful for my practicum experiences AND my yoga practice because both those trainings kept me (mostly) calm and focused while chaos in the form of screaming babies and wailing heart monitors swirled around us.  The student-mama (and papa) is also given gradual release of responsibility when it comes to care for their baby, like the student-teacher, except the "baby" becomes the students in this case.  Every day in special care Joel and I took an increasing amount of ownership over Charlee's care.  For example, we were merely an audience for her first bath, but the second and third baths we did on our own.

Our baby girl is over one month old now; therefore, I have had ample time to think about how this little human has taken full charge of becoming my teacher in a mere matter of weeks. Charlee has reset the scale on what it looks, feels and sounds like when maintaining one's patience.  I thought my class from last year had taught me enough about patience, but it turns out I was wrong!  Nothing requires more patience than dealing with a screaming, hungry baby at 3am who will not eat despite the fact that she's ravenous.  When these situations occur I notice my jaw gets really tense and I clench my teeth, my shoulders rise and my back starts to hurt and I get really snippy and rude.  It's in those moments that (most times) I'm learning to take a deep breath and change my actions and attitude toward the screaming hungry monster.

This is her best hungry monster face.  I'm so glad we caught it on camera!
This is her best hungry monster face. I'm so glad we caught it on camera!

Charlee has also taught me how to slow down and appreciate the tiniest of accomplishments.  I'm noticing that while I adore being at home, I tend to go a little crazy if I don't make it outside at least once a day.  Charlee and I have started to venture out a little bit in the form of attending doctor's appointments,  Christmas shopping and forest walks behind our house.  The other day I finished off "thank you" cards for people who generously gave us gifts, did some laundry AND made the bed.  One month ago those tasks would have taken about twenty minutes to complete, but now they take me all day to attend to.  These days I definitely celebrate the fact that I get some little things done.  Charlee constantly reminds me that it is all about perspective.


I'm thinking this year of maternity leave with Charlee will become a fantastic learning experience for me.  I am confident I will head back in to the classroom next fall with a whole new view on this teaching profession and I have my tiny, five week old daughter to thank for it.

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Book Tale: The Lost Girls

We've been experiencing some classic "Island Autumn Weather" here in Victoria lately; the wind and rainstorms have been quite impressive!  This time of year always finds me digging through my bookshelves in search of my favourites and "The Lost Girls" usually makes the cut for which books I reread.  I'm currently on my third read through "The Lost Girls" and I am loving it as much as the first and second reads.lostgirls2

"The Lost Girls" is true travel story written journal-style by three female friends nearing their thirtieth birthdays.  All three women worked in publishing/television in NYC during the time this book was written (2010) and they were all essentially slaves to their jobs, pulling insanely long hours at their desks and gaining extra, unnecessary weight on account of how much take out food they consumed on a weekly basis (sound familiar teachers?)  A series of events finds these three over-worked, stressed out friends ditching their jobs, relationships and connections in The Big Apple for the simpler lifestyle of backpackers.  Holly, Amanda and Jen find themselves shedding their NYC selves while spending one whole year conquering their biggest fears all over the globe, making new friends and discovering new passions as only authentic, true backpacker-style traveling will allow.

My kitty, Franklin, trying to model this book for you all.
My kitty, Franklin, trying to model this book for you all.

I love this book so much because it reminds me of my own four month backpacking experience through South East Asia.  I also love that these women were brave enough to escape the monotony of the daily (extremely unhealthy and overworked) grind and seek adventure to help them discover their true selves.  If you need some inspiration from people who take action to make positive change in their lives, this book is for you!

Find "The Lost Girls" website and blog HERE.

A Cause for Celebration

This post has absolutely nothing to do with teaching and everything to do with my incredible husband and chosen life partner, Joel.  Actually, maybe the one tiny role teaching does play in this post is that Joel is largely the reason why I am sane enough to teach and teach well.  Joel followed me to Victoria eight years ago to help me chase my dream of attending UVic to become a teacher.  He's made me dinner and fed it to me on numerous occasions so I can keep marking/planning/prepping without interruption.  He's held me close when I've cried endless tears over the students I've had the pleasure to work with over the last few years.  He always listens to my teaching stories...the good, the bad and the absolutely crazy.  He doesn't bat an eye when I spend our own money on teaching supplies for my classroom(s) or food for my students who have nothing.  Joel deserves an award for marrying me, truly.  I am not an easy person to be in a relationship with and the fact that I chose teaching as my lifelong vocation, well, that adds a whole new level of crazy to my life!

Cheers to all you life partners of teachers; you are incredible and strong and probably more needed than you know.  We teachers tend to give all of ourselves to our work and our students and come home at the end of the school day with very little left to share.  Thank you, Babe, for being the pillar of support I've constantly needed while navigating my way through this career so far.  I couldn't have done it without you.


Ten years ago today this cute and awkward nineteen year old boy asked an even more awkward (I won't say I was cuter) seventeen year old girl to be his girlfriend and the rest is history.  We dated for six years before getting engaged, seven before getting married, and then we decided to get married on our "dating anniversary" because we'd already spent so many years celebrating October 22nd as our anniversary that we couldn't imagine ditching that date for a new anniversary date.

I'll do my best to walk you through a decade's worth of photos of us:


Just babies! Note: worst haircut I've ever had?
2005: Just babies! Note: worst haircut I've ever had?
Grouse Grind: the first and last time I've ever done it.  Joel has a recording of me hiking and swearing off junk food for the rest of my life, hence the reason why we haven't done the Grind since?
2006: Grouse Grind - the first and last time I've ever done it. Joel has a recording of me hiking and swearing off junk food for the rest of my life, hence the reason why we haven't done the Grind since?
2007: We spent four months in South East Asia.  This photo was taken in Koh Chang, one of our favourite places on earth.
2007: We spent four months in South East Asia. This photo was taken in Koh Chang, one of our favourite places on earth.
2008: The end to our first year in Victoria.  I got a harsh case of strep throat approximately 20 minutes after this photo was taken.
2008: The end to our first year in Victoria. I got a harsh case of strep throat approximately 20 minutes after this photo was taken.
2009: Horne Lake Caves.  We stayed at the Tree Spheres just outside of Qualicum.  For this anniversary we had the same events planned on different weekends.  We ended up figuring out that we had planned the same anniversary adventures (who does that!?)
2009: Horne Lake Caves. We stayed at the Tree Spheres just outside of Qualicum. For this anniversary we had the same events planned on different weekends. We ended up figuring out that we had planned the same anniversary adventures (who does that!?) and obviously we cancelled one of the weekends.
Engaged! We actually got engaged four days before our anniversary because an anniversary engagement would have been way too obvious.
2010: Engaged! We actually got engaged four days before our anniversary because an anniversary engagement would have been way too obvious.
2011: Married! This photo was snapped moments before we legally tied the knot down on Dallas Road in Victoria.
2011: Married! This photo was snapped moments before we legally tied the knot down on Dallas Road in Victoria.
2012: Starting the annual tradition of the wedding clothes! We got dressed up in our fancy clothes and since it was pouring with rain we posed on our condo's balcony with the camera's self timer as our witness.
2012: Starting the annual tradition of the wedding clothes! We got dressed up in our fancy clothes and since it was pouring with rain we posed on our condo's balcony with the camera's self timer as our witness.
2013: Year 2 of Marriage, wedding clothes on.  This one was a race against the fog up on Rainbow Hill in Victoria.  Again, self time as the witness.
2013: Year 2 of Marriage, wedding clothes on. This one was a race against the fog up on Rainbow Hill in Victoria. Again, self timer as the witness.
2014: Here we are as tiny specs on a beach in San Francisco in March.  Yes, this is the most recent photo of us.  Unfortunately today's torrential downpour deterred our wedding-clothes-wearing outdoor photo shoot today (that, and it's dark by 5pm now?!) Yay 10 years!
2014: Here we are as tiny specs on a beach in San Francisco in March. Yes, this is the most recent photo of us that I could find. Unfortunately today's torrential downpour deterred our post-work-wedding-clothes-wearing outdoor photo shoot (that, and it's dark by 5pm now?!) We might need to cheat a bit and do that photo shoot on a less soggy day.  Yay 10 years!


Teach it Tuesday: Get Candy, Get Candy, Get Candy

I think I may have mentioned this story on our blog before, but it's so good and funny that I decided to dig it out again for this year's Hallowe'en Teach it Tuesday.


I grew up traveling to gymnastics competitions in overstuffed minivans with volunteer parent drivers.  These were the days of cassette tapes in the minivan's sound system - we didn't have iPods, heck, we didn't even have our own walkmans, so basically anything we listened to was heard by everyone in the vehicle.  We (driver included) had to find something to listen to that we could all enjoy.  Enter Jerry Seinfeld's stand up comedy.

I was raised on Seinfeld's stand up comedy.  If you think this indicates that I was raised in an overstuffed minivan driving to Vancouver or Seattle every other weekend to compete, you are absolutely correct.  I know Seinfeld's "I'm Telling You for the Last Time" word for word and to this day I can still pick it up from anywhere in the show.  Yes, I still think it's hilarious.

Imagine my excitement last year when I found Seinfeld's Hallowe'en skit put into a children's book! Oh glory! I bought two copies and showed it to my class immediately and they loved it.  Keep in mind, last year I taught grade 8 so they kind of got the sense of humour Seinfeld is going for in this skit.  Give it a listen and see if it would work for your class:

Another re-share from last year: Meaghan's Hallowe'en math lesson on percentages.  You can find it for free on our Teachers Pay Teachers site HERE.