Friday, April 17, 2015

Mysterious Days?

Today is a Pro D day in my kids school and I wanted to say to those Educators (my husband included) who are spending the day learning and growing and preparing projects and collaborating on cross-curricular activities..... Thank You.

To the teachers who have been with my son at Outdoor Education since 7am on Monday, returning at 7pm today - I am deeply grateful for your commitment to my son and his education....I recognise it is a sacrifice and is above and well beyond what you have to do but you made the choice to do it....for your students.  (and please bring him back in one piece.Thank you)

The letter below, published a few days ago is eloquent and clear.  

LETTER: A teacher talks Pro-D days
J. WILTSHIRE / TRI-CITIES NOW 
APRIL 9, 2015 12:00 AM

 In a recent column, Keith Baldrey referred to teachers' "mysterious professional development days, which seem to have grown like untended weeds over the years." I feel it is time to correct the many misperceptions about Pro-D days.

First of all, they have not "grown like weeds." For decades, British Columbia's annual school calendar has allowed for six non-instructional days for teachers to update their educational knowledge and skills in order to improve their teaching practice. One of these is a school-wide planning day with administration, and the other five are under the control of teachers.

During my long teaching career, my union has been very strict about how these days could or could not be used. If parents have no idea what happens on the Pro-D days in their school, it is likely because they don't get around to reading school newsletters or visiting the school's website. Most school administrators are very careful to keep parents informed about the use of Pro-D days. There should be nothing mysterious about it.

Very few people realize or acknowledge that these days were added to the school year in 1972, without any additional compensation to teachers. Yes folks, that's right, teachers agreed to lengthen the school year without a commensurate salary increase. The deal was, we'll work these Pro-D days for free if you give us control of the content. There has never been a loss of instructional time for students.

Teachers need to have some professional autonomy in planning these days because the needs are so different from school to school and district to district. A top-down dictatorship of how these days are spent is likely to be heavy on politics and light on accommodating the needs within individual schools. The staff at one school may feel learning about a new math program is paramount, another school may feel that a better understanding of autism is the best use of its time, and a third may want to upgrade technology skills. One size will never fit all when it comes to Pro-D. Mr. Baldrey noted that most Pro-D days occur at the beginning or end of a week. They are also often backed onto other holidays, or occasions such as Halloween.

The timing of Pro-D days has settled into these patterns based on feedback and requests from parents, not the convenience of teachers. Teachers appreciate that there are daycare issues for some parents. After all, most teachers are parents too.

The benefits of having an informed, inspired, updated teaching staff should far outweigh any inconvenience, in the long run. The misperceptions about Pro-D have "grown like untended weeds" over the years.

J. Wiltshire
Port Coquitlam

Here's to thanking our Teachers rather than grumbling about Pro D days!

-

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Uncatalogued

I am sure there exists in the Pinterest world no end of ways to neatly, cleverly and creatively catalogue ones life, trips, photographs, mementos.

I am sure some people out there in a parallel universe to my own have beautiful
boxes in neat closets labelled with the date, time and place their contents pertain to.


I might even have aspired to be like those folks once.

There is a system in my closet I assure you.... and on my computer....sort of.

But here's the thing....I stuck my hand in my pocket this morning and found my NYC metro card.

That made me happy.  

I remembered its story.

Last week I grabbed a purse I hadn't used for a while - I found old concert tickets,  a card from a friend.

Cleaning out my desk last week I found old day books with photos that took me back, made me smile.

This uncatalogued life has perks.

It gives surprise moments of remembering and smiling and joy.   

Whenever the children need a baby photo we go through a few boxes of photos dying of laughter, telling our stories, lamenting our fashion choices, trying to explain hair styles, remembering friends and family, places we have been.... Sure it takes a bit longer to get what we are looking for but there is much joy in the looking.

So to any fellow friends out there feeling "less than" in the organisation department.... don't ..... just think of the treasures in your coat pockets, diaries, filing cabinets and cluttered closets just waiting to be discovered....

Night!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Kid Time

Just like every parent on planet earth I derive a great deal of joy from seeing my children happy.

If I can cause that happiness in some way, so much the better.

This weekend was filled with exactly the joy and happiness I cherish with my kids.

I have always been wary of splitting our kids up to have quality time with them but the reality is that being teens of different genders they have few common interests so sometimes I just do the one on one thing (although doing things as a family is still my happiest place).

On Saturday Lindsay eventually arose and was ready to "do something".  So we hopped in the car and headed to new shopping grounds....and had a wonderful few hours puttering through stores, trying on and buying clothes.  She is a great and honest shopping companion although I don't always take the advice (she may still be bitter about a dress I didn't buy).  We bought two packs of hangers for her Dorm room.  I figure if I buy one thing each time we are out and about we will get through the list of what she needs before September.  It is also part of my desensitization training for the big goodbye. I am training my stomach not to drop every time we buy something or talk about what she needs. This in the vain hope I will cope fine when it all happens.  

We ended with a coffee and a waffle together.  


I cannot express my deep gratitude for these times she and I have together.  Her teens have been mostly delightful and I treasure her and the woman she is becoming.

Sunday brought a concert we bought David tickets for for his Christmas gift which he was pretty happy about then.


He invited his friend Megan to go with him and I was the willing chauffeur as Allan was out fishing.  We drove the hour or so to the venue and had a rushed dinner as the increasingly excited/anxious David wanted to get to his premium admission area ASAP.  Traffic was awful as 6000 people tried to park etc so he and Megan hopped out and ran the last block or two.  They ended up in row 8 on the stage runway and had an unobstructed "front row" view.

To say he was happy would be an understatement.....



I got a ticket at the door so I enjoyed the concert immensely but my highlight was seeing my plaid clad skinny boy racing up the aisle at intermission and throwing his arms around me and giving me a big kiss....he was just a very very happy camper and my heart was very very grateful.

After a brief night David and I were off to the ferry as he is off to Strathcona for a week of outdoor education.... He is growing up so fast.  He has made a great choice for his schooling for next year as he continues to challenge himself.


Not all parenting is easy, not all of it is fun but watching these two grow up into lovely humans who I enjoy spending time with is a priceless gift.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Trading spaces

I did not realize how attached I have become to my office until I had to move.

Or rather I chose to move to achieve a goal for my organisation.

It is the right thing to do.

Good things will happen.

But today I tried and failed to file several years of paper


I took down my kids art and photos

My certificates and trinkets 

I threw out a lot and recycled hundreds of pieces of paper

And the messiest office in the Western Hemisphere amazingly quickly transformed into someone else's new office.


That someone was doing the same thing in her office which on Monday will be my new office

For a few months at least

I really dont mean to be overly dramatic but I had a good cry in my car as I left.

And now I am fine.... It will be a good opportunity to hang out with some fine folks, it's super close to Asian good heaven and there are three loo's!! 

Which will make up for the tiny desk in the tiny office with no exterior windows.. Lol... I am the ED in the closet now!


Isn't it interesting what we become attached to without even really knowing?  I am mindful of that tonight.

Night

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Dear Tuesday

It's your day Tuesday.

Normally I love you. 

You come after the re-entry day...

You gently arrive to soothe the blues..

You give us time to take a breath and get a grip on the week and the business ahead..

You're like a BFF... Not too demanding but always there to buffer the other days... You leave us feeling we can accomplish great things.

So dear Tuesday quit acting like a MONDAY.

Thank you.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Free

Y'all know how I feel about short weeks right.

They are very tricky.

Especially when it's the Friday that's the holiday.

You're trucking along like its a normal week and BAM it's Thursday afternoon and you realise you're not back at your desk until Tuesday.

You could panic.

You could say a bad word.

You could pack up a heap of work that you might have accomplished on a working Friday to do at home on the long weekend when your family is otherwise occupied.

Or

You could take a deep breath and walk away.

I know you can't imagine what I did at 4pm today?


I mostly walked away. I have only had 4 work calls this evening ! 

Ai Ya....one of our Centres is getting a renovation this weekend and, somewhat predictably, we had a couple issues tonight. 

Other than monitoring the reno and some other relatively minor things I am a free bird! 

And I have big plans for my freedom! 

Starting tomorrow with a breakfast date with my honey before a stroll through Granville Island, helping friends move couches, a dinner party. Then sausage making and a BBQ on Saturday. Easter church and a George Ezra concert on Sunday and soup making on Monday.....  

Before another tricky week rolls around. 

Lucky I didn't bring too much work home I guess!

Have a wonderful Easter Friends! He is Risen.



Monday, March 30, 2015

10/10

Some first days back to work are....less than....satisfactory

But every now and then the universe sends an a-typical first day just to keep me guessing.

Today was that day!

What are fantastic day!

A very early morning meeting in a bank (read the story here ) was super productive and great to connect with my leadership team.... we are going place....just watch us.

And then so many emails and voice mails dealt with efficiently and fast.  Things off the pre-vacation TO DO list dispatched to the DONE column in short order. Preparation for this weeks meetings well under way.

Two personal matters were quickly sorted.... and let me pause here to say I called my new Dr for an appointment and got one TODAY...... AND he saw me on time, was efficient and compassionate and I was out in 6 minutes.....after he checked my alarmingly high blood pressure (darn it). I will always miss my dear Dr Joy but I do not miss waiting 60-90 minutes 10 days after I called to make an appointment..... and driving to Vancouver for the pleasure.  And the adjoining pharmacy has the dearest pharmacist who seem to want to be friends..... its charming.  Thank you universal health care...I heart you today!

The other personal matter had to do with sausages.....more on that another time..... I know...you can't wait!

A sunny walk in the park, good cawfee ( I need to stop with the NYC accent....soon),  weekend plans shaping up, a great workout with much "glowing", a lovely dinner and a very deep and heartfelt conversation about church with my beloved family.

All that's left to do is write Lindsay's Grad write up - no pressure..... just say amazing things about your daughter in 40 words..... right.

The tunes are rocking, the teens are cleaning the kitchen with average bickering and my bed is less than 2 hours away.

Thank you Day 1 - you rocked!

Enjoy the tune in the link below  - its a fave in our house...... and I may be going to see this guy in concert this weekend....... YIPPPPEEEEE

WATCH THIS - you won't be sorry

Night!