Monday, December 31, 2018

My One Word for 2019 - Gratitude

I realize for the past few years this blog has remained relatively silent and I do apologize for that.  I am still around, and still teaching too although I have been through quite a few transformations.  In 2013 I left a school I called home for over 18 years, to move to a new school.  I liked my new school but two years later an exciting new program was forming in my school district and I jumped at the opportunity to get in on the ground floor.

The Surrey Academy of  Innovative Learning aka SAIL was born.  I thrived as an educator working at SAIL meeting children with so many unique challenges, but more importantly so many unique gifts.  I was stretched professionally to go from teaching one or two grades at a time, to four and I loved every minute of it. It made me rethink what mattered most and while I'm far from perfect I did work hard to find a good balance for each of my students and the team that I was a part of. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity.

It seems though once I became unhooked from my "long time" school,  moving schools became a lot easier for me.  I loved working at SAIL, even with all the challenges that it came with, yet the opportunity to teach closer to home presented itself for the first time in my 26 year career.  I spoke with my admin and with their full support I started the process to make the jump to work closer to home.  This fall, after over 26 years, I  made the move and quit my dream job with the Surrey School District, and became an employee of the Vancouver School District.  While there are teaching jobs available in Vancouver, as someone new it isn't easy to land your own job right away.   I was fortunate to land a job as a Perm Sub.  But more than being able to get a contract right away (which means my pay and benefits remain the same in my new district), I was placed on the first day of the school year in a good school and I've spent the past few months as a member of  the wonderful MAPLE community at Norma Rose Point teaching the most kind and caring kindergarten children who happen to come with lovely families too.

Even in this new job in a good school with good people there is so much of who I am as an educator that I've shelved for the year as I find my place in a new school district.  At times it gets me down, but then I remember that this was my choice and how fortunate I am to spend my work days with the people (little and big) that I do.  I'm learning tons (it's been over 20 years since I taught Kindergarten on its own) and I am finding my place in my school and hopefully in time my new school district.

The future beyond the year is still unknown for me but I have to have faith that the right job will show up at just the right time.  Where that will be I have no idea.

So why is my word for 2019 GRATITUDE? To be honest GRATITUDE has been my word for a while now. I have been a glass half full type of person for most of my life, looking for and finding the good in even the toughest situations.  As my mother was fighting her brave and courages battle with cancer, I would see what she could still do and enjoy instead of what she couldn't.   As I was training for my triathlons, I would find the good that came out of some of the toughest training periods.  There is bad all around us but I make the effort to focus on the good.

More recently though, while I continue to focus on the good, I want to make a better effort at acknowledging the good in my life. This is where GRATITUDE comes in.  Even in the toughest times I have so much to be grateful for and I want to recognize and acknowledge that on a regular basis.  I want to keep focussing on GRATITUDE to help remind me of how truly blessed I am.  While life isn't perfect for me, and perhaps I am just as good as the next at keeping a brave face in public while I deal with my own demons in private, I know that even in my darkest hours I STILL have so much to be grateful for.  GRATITUDE helps keep me moving forward, It helps keep me grounded in who I am as a person, and it helps me gain strength from those I share this world with.  I am grateful for the similarities and the differences we all share as it's what makes me unique.  I am grateful for who I am and what I have in my life.  This year I will do my best to verbally express how grateful I am, even when I'm struggling.

What is your word for 2019?