Day 55 (of 188) thinking about connections via Walter isaackson and #bcedbloggers
This last summer I had the unique opportunity to do a welcome to @ubceduc and @bcpvpa ShortCourse where I was able to declare that BC Education (and soon the world) is about two-or-three degrees of separation from being connected to Lillooet. It’s a bit of an inside joke for those of us who grew up in lillooet because where ever we ended up, there always seemed to be ‘someone’ else who had a lillooet connection. You might laugh – many in the ShortCourse did …. Until they realized that they all now had one degree of separation….and so do you. Even better illustration was when two PVPs approached me – one who had my dad as a principal (his dad was a trustee/councillor/mayor/businessman) and the other got her first job from my dad (odd how lillooet had many ‘first job’ people but fewer ‘fifth jobs’).
And right now (as my flight to a @bcerac event is delayed) as I read a nice little quote: “setting off a series of event” an excerpt from: Isaacson, Walter. “The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution.”
I like that little throw-away line (if you’ve read my blogs – first sorry for the quantity – second you may have noticed that off-hand remarks sometimes spark a thought. A series of events….let me share a series of events that have led to me being a ‘rascal in education’ trying to end report cards in three years (I have a vested interest: that’s when my oldest graduates and I’d rather her not have one….I feel bad enough that I got an email indicating that her first term “RC” [i prefer not to say that term] will be available ‘online’ tomorrow – that’s like calling a pdf’d worksheet digital learning):
1960-something: my dad became the first Landy to complete school. Any school. And continued to UBC to become a teacher
1970-something: he did his masters with a focus on ‘the farce called grading’ while I was in-utero (maybe he read the texts to me – my mom won’t confirm nor deny)
1978- we moved to lillooet so my dad could be a shit-disturber…sorry: principal (after being a teacher and VP in Prince George, Sparwood & Fernie)
1980 something- Apple II entered our house. This had a huge impact on both of us. My writing finally got ‘as neat as anybody elses’ and he got to disrupt timetables, schools, etc (a computer in school Landy? That’s as crazy as your new tangled microwave in the foods room!) and prompted debates between my favouriting apple while others championed their (Vic 20. Commodore 64. Etc in the oncewere graveyard)
1990s- family tradition to UBC including the faculty of education (even got a couple of awards!)
Late 90s – called a principal in lillooet for a reference, got a job offer instead – thus the series of events focuses on education:
Lillooet: exploring a changes in elementary libraries; wish I had read something about learning commons. Nicer than the ‘librarian’ who followed me with a ‘no book, copy out a page from the dictionary’ approach… But a reading or two (aka if I only knew then what I know now) would have expedited things when I went to…
Clinton: secondary library/careers and exploring a district wide “career day” focus with each secondary sponsoring a focused look at a theme of careers. I took on ‘fine arts’….it was a very fun day for the kids and adults – a slightly different ‘trade fair’.
And then to a private school where I continued to do some crazy things like question common final exams (unsuccessfully) coach some football (much more successfully) and take a whole-language approach to English 12 and a PBL approach to Civilizations 12 which went well until I was called to:
The Okanagan – specifically a Vernon secondary at first but then another switch that started with a phone call from HR: “we see you do libraries….” And a return to elementary (which I realized adjusted and moved to educational changes much faster than secondaries. And along with the help of a little magazine called Edutopia (somewhere I have GLEF edition #1) started to “tweak things” blending libraries and computer time.
The out-of-the-box thinking (things like the 150′ Ethernet cable to get internet to my classroom and the related first wifi and laptop lab in the district etc) led me to my first admin jobs in….
Prince George where I was asked to think outside the box (the assistant superintendent in the interview asked a LOT of questions that weren’t on the script)….until I wasn’t, and then I ended up where I currently am:
#83learns where I have been successful in swapping report cards for eportfolios and school goals of reading and numeracy for a focus on self-regulation and anxiety. Being in a learning community with a lot of support and trust (from students staff colleagues and bosses) is invaluable to ‘try different’ and allowed me to finally work with a principal who interviewed (and impressed me) over a decade earlier (click goes the connection)
But I wouldn’t have gotten to do what I am doing without all the connections and events along the way. I didn’t mention the skills I learned by playing football at ubc (despite never having an opportunity to play in high school) or not getting a couple of admin jobs I thought I’d be good at… nor the other little successes and failures along the way. But “insofar as anyone can be right in thinking that his ideas are his own. That is the way the creative process—if not the patent process—works.” another excerpt from: Isaacson, Walter. “The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution.” This material may be protected by copyright. But it’s also the reason I don’t pretend to copyright anything and have a strong belief in sharing and transparency (thus this blog).
I think sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and reflect along the way. How different things may have been if I got a job in Smithers instead of Prince George. Or if I went to UVic instead of UBC. Or if my mom hadn’t returned to the U.S. enabling me to get a free subscription to Edutopia. Or if my dad had brought home a Tandy instead of an Apple.
Please – take some time to reflect on the varied connections that got you to where you are today and the people who created the varied connections (both perceived once as good and once as bad but over time might be less ‘clear’) that brought you one degree closer to lillooet.