Category Archives: challenges

Challenges

Today I read a post about not letting challenges get in the way of who we want to become or what we want to accomplish. In fact, according to the writer, challenges are the way to claim necessary changes, and to face our fears.

Yet, sometimes it feels like I overcome challenges, and then a little time later I am faced with new challenges that need to be addressed. But, I need to remind myself that challenges are not obstacles placed in my way to obstruct my path. Rather, challenges are what will get me to the next stage of my life, the next great project, the next dream realized.

Challenges to what I want are the ones I should welcome.

Challenges will make me stronger though it may not seem that way at first.

Knowing that I am deserving of whatever big dream I have right now, is what’s going to push me forward. Welcoming the challenges is the icing on the cake.

Cross posted to March Slice of Life Challenge, Day #24.

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Filed under challenges, courage, dreams

Reflections on the past year

Almost a year ago we relocated to Quito, Ecuador

after having spent six years living in Calgary, Alberta.

Image from: http://bit.ly/19cIuyP

Those six years in Calgary were wonderful; both my husband and I had amazing jobs and we made some good friends while we were there. I could write an entire blog post about the great things going on at the Calgary Board of Education and how that quickly changed about three years ago to look more and more like what’s happening in the U.S.

The first year we were in Calgary, after having lived 10 years in Quito, were undeniably challenging and surprisingly so. There were so many adjustments to make – the weather, the culture, the educational system, just to name a few. Yet, we faced them all with such aplomb that at one point late into those six years I even considered just staying on for the long haul. However, family and friends here called out to us and we realized that we needed to return to our home base.

The move back to Quito was no less dramatic and fraught with its own challenges. My job situation was less than ideal as my job description changed radically just a couple of months before our move. And, although I tried to be optimistic, I was definitely disappointed. That disappointment followed me throughout the year as the school struggled to accommodate to my son’s strengths and needs, and I struggled with a school that, although known to me, seemed to be focusing on the wrong things. Now, at the end of the school year, I can safely say we are on the other side of all those seemingly heart wrenching decisions (we moved my son to another school mid-year) and we are settling in to living here.

The coming school year will bring other challenges, no doubt, but I anticipate a sense of renewal as the summer approaches. Although the next few months promise to be very busy (I need to finish revisions to my research proposal for my EdD), I will also make time to spend with my family and to recharge my batteries, so to speak. I plan to do lots of pleasure and professional reading as well as participate in Teachers Write and do some planning for my classes next year. I’m also exploring some other possibilities that I will write about later if they come to fruition. In the meantime, I am staying positive by following the adaptation of the Serenity Prayer that was recently posted on the Calgary Centre for Spiritual Living:

God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it’s me.”

So how’s your year been? What are you planning to do this summer to recharge your batteries? Post a comment below to share.

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Filed under Calgary, Calgary Centre for Spiritual Living, challenges, Quito, reflections, serenity prayer, Teachers Write

Not in my class…

          "He's just bored, " she said. 
          "No. I don't accept that. In this class, he has lots of opportunities to challenge himself," I responded.  Although seemingly calm when I said this, I was seething inside. This is what I was really thinking: "Not in my class." 
     "Maybe he needs a nudge. Some kids need that, you know," she countered. 
     "Maybe," I responded.  This is what I was really thinking: "Maybe that would be true if he were in the class down the hall where all they do is worksheets day in and day out. But not in my class." 
     Then, as I'm wont to do, I started to doubt myself.  
     I sat down with Todd (not his real name) to talk about his math work. I wanted to get a better sense of how he thought about this particular problem since his thinking wasn't clearly evidenced in the explanation on his paper. Admittedly, the math in this problem was not very difficult for him. As we talked I helped him find a way to connect to this problem, and I challenged him to write his own related story problem.  He took me up on it right away.  Was it the one-on-one engagement that did it?  The individual attention that was missing?  When he didn't know something, I directed him to use the internet.  Now, he was hooked.  When I handed over my classroom to another teacher for my regular release time, he was still working away.  Later I heard that he  sought advice when his research led him to two different measurements - feet and centimeters - and was wondering whether he was allowed to combine the two.  Bingo! 
     Later I thought, "Maybe she was right. Maybe he has bored at times or at least not challenged enough. Maybe I dropped the ball on this one sometimes and now it's two weeks before the last day of school. What was I thinking?" And, almost as quickly, an internal dialogue with my two selves ensued. 
     Me: "But, in my class he has lots of opportunities to explore and expand his understandings." 
     Second me: "And, what did you do to ensure that he'd tap into these opportunities once you realized that he wasn't going to do it on his own?"   
     Me: "I made suggestions and he rarely took me up on any of the challenges I offered, at least not for very long." 
     Second me: "And, how long did you take before you tried something else?" 
     Me: "How much hand holding do I do as a teacher before I'm working harder than my students? Where was he all these months? Didn't he get the message that in this class we need to meet each other half-way?" 
     Second me: "He was probably reading his book or chatting with his friends and not listening." 
     Me: "OK. So, what could I have done to engage Todd in the learning of the classroom?" 
     Second me: "What could you have done to engage with Todd in his learning?"
     Me:  (Silence.)
     Ultimately, I believe it is my responsibility to make sure that my students are learning, and to do something about it when they're not.  I also believe that you can't make anybody learn anything they're not ready to learn or don't need to learn.  That's why it's so important to figure out what makes every child in the classroom connect to learning.  Of course, what a child wants to learn may not match the learning that the teacher has planned.  Although this poses a different kind of challenge, it's not an impossible one.  In fact, it's one of the things that invigorates me as a teacher.    
     So, did I do enough? Or, maybe my self-doubting is clouding my memory?  Maybe I didn't do enough of the right things, whatever those may be?  But, more importantly, how do I reconcile this experience so that I am better prepared to address a similar situation in the future?

Posted to https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2012/06/12/the-weekly-slice-of-life-story-challenge-5/

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Filed under challenges, learning, next year, reflection, self-doubt