Learning Journey

Take a trip and enjoy the ride!

Road trip

It was a good thing for our school to have a representative attend the MYABC Middle School conference in Penticton so I ended up leaving thursday evening only to have to return on friday evening for a personal matter. I was soooo tired driving up that I shouldn’t have gone. Regardless, with loads of coffee and frequent stops I made the trip successfully. The return trip on friday evening was coloured pure clean untouched snow lying for miles in front of me. Unfortunately, I was driving and not skiing! It was tough knowing where the road was and downhill driving in snow is never fun!

The conference itself was a mix of good and bad. The keynotes left something to be desired whereas the sessions I went to “7 Habits of …” and “Grading for the 21st Century” were excellent. At least in part. Mike Suto’s 7 Habits workshop was worth going to. Now if you’ve seen one of these sessions you’ll have the foundation for all of them, but regardless I found myself thinking this would be a good thing to expose to our marginal at-risk students and not just the leadership students that tend to be the recipients of these kinds of workshops. Mike said as much himself and I left wondering. The grading workshop gave me some new ideas: The don’t give ‘zeroes’ idea we were currently working on, but the ‘stop grading homework’ idea is one that I was wondering about. As a teacher I’d done that long ago and really didn’t find it to be that big a deal but I’m wondering why other teachers don’t do that? I know some don’t give homework but that’s not the point, rather, it’s the idea of allowing students to practice without the pressure of being scored for it.

Also, there was the thought that kids need time to take risks in class and give things a try. It made me think about the PE class where kids are given 5 point participation marks. So, every moment of class is a potentially assessable moment and kids can’t relax and take a shot at some true learning? Now, it’s not that simple but it gets you thinking…


PS. Did I mention I found a new golf course? St Andrews at the lake (between Penticton and Osoyoos). Looks like a gem.


April 20, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Sad really

Phew…it’s been a while since I posted here but for some reason I was drawn to it today. Perhaps it was the death of Anne or the incredible two weeks we’ve been through, but it made me think that I need an outlet and perhaps this is a way to get it. Regardless, Anne died today…or maybe it was yesterday or the day before. Regardless, she was found today and that makes me wonder whether there are ‘any’ boundaries to this job?? How can that happen in this era in this neck of the woods? Leaves us with little faith. She worked for us and didn’t show up for work today. Sad really…

April 14, 2008 Posted by | professional | | Leave a comment

New for 2007

Ok, it’s been a nice long long break! I basically vegged. Did little work other than some pre-reading of ACSS stuff to get acquainted with the school, but not much. The Pearson writing started slowly…well…it’s still going slowly. Oh well, they’ll have to deal with it. I’ll get it done in the next week. The flood at the Ocean Park house didn’t help either.

So, this year’s going to be an interesting one. I’ve got a month to wrap up loose ends at Instructional Services and begin transitioning to the school. I’m actually beginning to look forward to it. The union issues around the District Numeracy Assessment however is going to cause problems. And then there’s the SPC training sessions to come – more data stuff. I guess I’ve got to keep on top of that, but I really dislike the label of ‘data expert’ that I’ve been saddled with. Not cool.

Oh well, I’m hoping 2007 is a better year on a personal level as well. The boys are doing very well in school and Jody’s health is starting to move in the right direction so…here’s hoping!!

January 7, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll | Leave a comment


Thanks to my dear friend Sandra! I’m apparently soooo excited to be moving into a Vice-Principal’s position that…I’m elfish!
Elf Yourself


December 17, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Since my last post, I’ve been appointed the Vice-Principal of a relatively large inner city secondary school. It’s a surprise and yet not. Last year I was promised a position but not a confirmed timeline. Since then it was clearly indicated that I wouldn’t have to re-apply and it was simply a matter of time. Since that time I hadn’t heard a word. Then out of the blue, wham the appointment came through, was approved, and released. Not only that, I begin on February 1st which gives me about a month to wrap up and move on!

How do I feel about it? Mixed really. I am very excited and pleased to be moving on into something that I hope will lead to further leadership in the future. At the same time, I’m not rolling over with excitement as it’s not the position I want. I am doing this to reconnect with kids and learn the ropes of school life from an admin perspective. My focus however is on getting my own school as a Principal and hopefully beyond into District leadership. I enjoy working in educational leadership and really don’t want to lose focus of that in the administrivia that can take over a Vice-Principal’s life.

What does that mean? Keep your eye on the prize I guess. By that I mean, I need to keep my eye on the big picture. What we are doing this for and how to make a difference on a larger scale than just the immediate surroundings. I think too often people get immersed (a necessary and good thing) in their day to day lives but lose sight of the big ideas. One of my favorites is the analogy of rocks in a jar. You’ll find a rough version of it at the link below…

Business Balls Stories

The point is that if you don’t plan for the big things first, you’ll have no hope of getting them in later! Anyways, the second part of my response above is the mixed part. I’m really sad about leaving Instructional Services. It’s a great department of great people who are committed to helping others. I’ve learned more in the past 8.5 years than in the previous 15 and find everyday a learning experience. Sometimes that’s frustrating and sometimes its rewarding, but the truth is that you feel like you make a difference! It’s not that I won’t experience the same thing as a VP. Exactly the opposite. It’s simply leaving a place where you work on big issue problems that impact and set direction for all. It’s intoxicating at times and something worth striving for. I remember a former member saying that she works much harder in her school. I’m not sure that I’ll agree with that. Who knows what I’ll think after walking in those shoes for a while, but I know I worked hard at my job and I don’t think anyone can take that away.

December 17, 2006 Posted by | professional | Leave a comment

Planning the trip

Learning is a journey and one that began a long long time ago. Course it would be boring as sh** to go back that far and besides the point is to chart new paths. At the same time, I’ve always said to my students, when your head is whirling and you can’t seem to get started on a problem…write something down. Something, anything…it’ll get you committed and hopefully begin pointing you in a direction to explore. That’s the kind of inspiration my father inadvertantly gave me. He kicked my butt and made me consider my future and what I was capable of. He always felt I could accomplish more than I thought I could and that’s the message I’m trying to pass on to my boys as well.

So…in order to instill a committment to learning I’ve got to show a committment to my own learning and that’s the point of this entry and starting this blog. Welcome aboard and your feedback is welcome as we journey though a life in education!

December 2, 2006 Posted by | professional | Leave a comment