I can’t imagine working as anything other than an educator. After 21 years of teaching, I still love working with kids and continue to push my practice to improve and stay current. I recently began a whole new adventure in life and in teaching. After living in the interior of BC for over twenty years, my family made a huge move this summer. We now live on Vancouver Island and I absolutely love it! I lived by the ocean for many years when I was young, so in many ways, I feel as if I’ve finally come home.
I am very excited to be working in a new job with School District #71 at Navigate NIDES. I’ve known about this school for a very long time as many of the people working there were early adopters of educational technology many, many years ago. I’m super excited to be working with younger children once again (I have a lovely, energetic and insightful class of kids in Kindergarten, Grade One and Grade Two!) and I’m enjoying the professional challenge of updating my practice in this new learning community with new students and the new BC curriculum.
One aspect of the new job that feels very familiar (and that I love) is that I am once again a member of a collaborative team of educators. One aspect of the job that surprised me (although, in retrospect, I don’t know why…) is the blended learning model. I love working with the students face-to-face in my classroom for part of the week and I love being a teacher facilitating online learning, online portfolios and other technological aspects of teaching/learning for the other part of the week. Even though I’ve never done this exact type of teaching before, I’m really enjoying it for a number of reasons. A good topic for an actual blog post at some point, I think!
At this point, I’ve taught all grades from Kindergarten to Grade Twelve. I started my career teaching elementary students of all grades from 1996-2003. During my years as a high school teacher from 2003-2010, I taught visual arts, photography, textiles and information technology at the local high school. I have always loved working with children of all ages. They constantly amaze me with their energy, insight, creativity and talent. In September 2010, I joined the Elementary Connected Classrooms Project. This is a very cool, collaborative, technology-rich learning environment in which my students and I had virtual and face-to-face connections with classrooms in other communities in the district. To create this connected learning environment, each classroom was outfitted with a 1:1 netbooks, video conferencing, and shared platforms like Sharepoint and Moodle.
In 2011 I completed a Masters of Education in Educational Practice at Simon Fraser Universtiy. My research evolved into three strands: visual arts in education, (digital) citizenship, and indigenous beliefs on education and learning. I created three main inquiry questions. What are the schools of thinking around visual literacy and how can I teach using arts-based methods in the context of the Elementary Connected Classrooms (ECC) project? How is my pedagogy shifting in this technologically-rich teaching and learning environment? What are the traditional Métis and Cree beliefs surrounding education and child-rearing? That third strand of inquiry was particularly powerful as my great-grandmother was a residential school survivor. I adopted the mixed methods approach of qualitative research, employing teacher inquiry, living inquiry, performative inquiry, arts-based inquiry, writing as inquiry, and indigenous inquiry at varying times throughout the research. My masters year was absolutely transformational both professionally and personally.
The most important focus in my personal life is looking after myself and my family. I’m a mom to two amazing teenage boys. They are my everything. I’m also a big sister to four siblings and have four adorable nephews. I work very hard to live a healthy, active lifestyle and look after my whole self. I think life is too busy and complicated so I strive to keep things simple. I enjoy photography, nature and running outdoors. The visual arts are my passion and default comfort zone. I love learning, yoga, music, baking, reading, writing and chocolate. I have strong faith. I think of myself as a realist with an optimistic edge.
I started to blog for many reasons. I love to write, especially for professional reflection. Writing helps to clarify and solidify my thoughts. I also wanted to learn how to use Edublogs before using blogging as a tool to enhance the learning in my classroom. The final reason I started to blog was to grow and maintain my personal learning network (PLN). I am truly thankful for all the amazing people, from those in my blogroll to colleagues and special friends, that motivate me, make me think and help me learn.
Thanks for visiting and reading my blog. Please comment as I’d love to hear what you have to say!