This week has been a week of reflection for me. I can’t believe it is 25 years since the event occurred that has shaped my true beliefs and hurts my heart every time I think of it. Tomorrow marks 25 years since the Montreal Massacre at L’Ecole Polytechnique where a man went on a shooting rampage killing 14 women (12 of whom were engineering students), wounding 10 other women and 4 men. He killed these women in engineering because they were women becoming engineers. This resonates with me, because in May of that same year, I graduated from engineering. I remember sitting in my cubical in a structural engineering firm in shock when we heard the news of this incident. I could not understand why and I still don’t.
Since becoming a teacher, every year I would tell my students this story not only for the obvious lesson that violence against women, or against anyone, is wrong but to talk about what I truly believe. I truly believe that any one can become anything they want to be regardless of their sex, race, religion or culture, if they work hard and put their minds to it. Who we are cannot govern what careers we may or may not pursue. We as people should be able to strive for our goals with the knowledge that we are supported and that society does not have these types of barriers .
As I am not in a classroom to share my story with my students, I am writing here to share my story with you.
On September 30th educators from 15 school districts came together for the Learning Connections District Champions Fall Conference at York University.
During the day, participants engaged in sessions on how to enhance literacy and numeracy instruction, embed inquiry based learning in the classroom and engage their students through storytelling. They also had several opportunities to plan with their project teams, share their work and collaborate with each other.
Here are some highlights from our feedback survey:
What did you find most beneficial?
Mathematics session, and planning time.
I loved the to network and share ideas with a variety of people from many boards.
Thank you for having me. I am taking a lot of great ideas about inquiry away from this conference.
LC Conferences are SUCH a great idea. I’m so happy to be a part of this group.
It was a wonderful, rich day.
This was a fabulous way to kick off Phase 11 of Learning Connections. I am very excited to see where the learning goes this year in each of the districts and through our multi-district projects. Read about the projects this year here.
My visits to the districts will be starting soon. Many districts have booked their dates already and I look forward to my travels across Ontario again. Look for more posts when the visits start later this month.
I hope that everyone had an amazing summer. I know I can say that I did!!! Our trip to Alaska was spectacular and I highly recommend a trip like this for anyone who likes nature. The cruise was very cool (first time on a cruise) and the ports we visited were fun and wet. One lesson learned on the trip is that the Alaskan coast just west of BC is actually a temporal rain forest which means lots of rain. Another lesson learned was during our land tour… did you know there are 37 types of mosquitoes? They all found me! We saw lots of wildlife (other than mosquitoes) including: humpback whales, orcas, seals, eagles, moose, bears, mountain sheep, a wolf … There were also way more glaciers than I ever imagined – while on the ship we got extremely close to the ice and we saw the glaciers calving which was amazing. The midnight sun was something to experience as we never saw a dark sky while on our entire land tour and the sun set around 11:00 pm or so. It was a trip of a lifetime and one I will not forget!
I also had a great accomplishment this summer that I am quite proud of. I actually didn’t think it would be as rewarding as it was and I have to admit that the overwhelming feeling of success surprised me. In my last post in June I shared my goals and one of them was to enter a triathlon before I turn 50 (not there yet, but a year closer). This was a huge goal because in April, I could not even run 100 m in one go. By August, I was up to 2.5 km runs and decided it was time to take a deep breath and register for my first triathlon. The date was September 6th in Wasaga Beach – 400 m swim, 10 km bike, 2.5 km run. Training was fun with the great support of my husband. Ice water, open water swims in Georgian Bay were bone chilling (difficult, but doable, since I used to competitive swim) and trying to combine biking followed by a run was devastating (I thought it was hard to just run – nearly killed me to put a ride before the run). But, on September 6th, I was ready for the “Give-it-a-Tri”. When we arrived at the race site, I realized right away that the swim would not happen (Georgian Bay had 1-2 foot waves) and sure enough they cancelled the swim and added another run – YIKES! The race became a 1 km run, 10 km bike, 2.5 km run. All I can say is that I didn’t come last and I FINISHED! I still haven’t done a triathlon, but I have the bug and will be entering more next year. I am even thinking that I can work up to the longer distance of a Sprint Triathlon (750 m swim, 20 km bike, 5 km run), but first, I need to get a couple of short distance races under my belt. This has been quite the experience for me and I am excited to continue on this journey.
Share your goals and accomplishments…I want to hear from you.
Have an awesome school year!
Any one can be anything they want to be regardless of their sex, race, religion or culture.
This belief stems from an incident I have talked about with my students every year on December 6th. In 1989 on December 6th, 14 female engineering students were lined up and executed by a man who thought these women should not be in engineering. This resonates with me, because in May of that same year, I graduated from engineering. I remember sitting in my cubical in a structural engineering firm in shock when we heard the news of this incident. I told this story to my students not only for the obvious lesson that violence against women, or against anyone, is wrong but to talk about what I truly believe. I truly believe that any one can become anything they want to be regardless of their sex, race, religion or culture, if they work hard and put their minds to it.
True to myself: honest, respectful and enthusiastic.
As an educational leader I believe that I must be true to my character and myself to create a safe and supportive school community. It is important for me to be myself, be honest, be respectful and be enthusiastic. With my excitement, my desire to improve and my willingness to take risks to try something new, I hope to motivate and encourage teachers, support staff and students to be their best and do their best as well.
Model effective use of technology
I believe it is important for all educators to have a good understanding of the effective use of technology for teaching and learning to improve student achievement. This is a challenging time for educators, as we are now 12 years into the 21st Century and we are still developing methods and strategies to meet the needs of our 21st Century learners. It is imperative that educational leaders understand the need to engage the school community by modeling the effective use of the available technology and to encourage and support the risk takers and early adopters. We must be able to educate our students with the 21st Century skills needed for the jobs of the future thus enabling them for success.