July 18 – Pokemon Go indeed!

359/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  This post was never supposed to happen.  I rarely play tablet/phone games except for Trivia Crack and Songplay.  They are fine.  They have not consumed my life.  I didn’t get the intrigue of any type of gaming apps until last week.  I downloaded Pokemon Go.  Actually, I didn’t.  We didn’t have it here in Canada.  I just put a random query as to how to get it and my grade 12 graduate of this year, Sam, sent me the link.  I got on and I got hooked.  I have never connected with random strangers in person as I have with this app.  First of all, I actually want to go and walk my dog.  Before this, I would hope that my children or my wife had walked him.  In the last week, I have taken him – and sometimes on two walks!!  I have gone up to places and when I realized that there were teenagers there Pokemon-ing, I pretended to text while in fact I’m catching one!  Today was surreal.  I was at elementary preschool and the little kids figured out very quickly what I was doing while waiting to let them into the school.  I had a swarm around me giving me advice and what to do and what not to do.  The instant connection.  I have seen them for the last two weeks but this Pokemon Go phenomenon just brought me down to a relatable level for them.  Then, this afternoon, I am walking through Steveston Park (with my dog Shadow) and a few teenagers are on a bench.  As I approach them cell phone in hand, they immediately ask – “Pokemon Go?!”  and I look up and smile and a conversation happens.  This would never have happened if not for this game.  I would just have passed them and they wouldn’t ever have acknowledged me but here it is – generations connecting.  Plus, as alluded to earlier, I want to be out and about.  On the weekend, sitting with a friend beering and I am Pokemoning and the server is all enthralled and I keep her updated as to how many Pokemons I have caught (13 in a 90 minute stint at that table!!!).  Yes, this gratitude post was never on my horizon but in one week, I am sparking conversations with random strangers of all ages (okay, all ages below mine) as are they with me.  Thank you Pokemon Go creators for a game that allows me to be active and interactive inter-generationally with others at my age of almost 51!

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May 25 – real world learning

305/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  I went through the motions.  At UBC.  During my Commerce degree.  I did as I was asked.  Didn’t question anything.  All textbook work.  No course really inspired me.  I knew I needed a future and got my education.  And they fed me my education in the traditional way – lecture and assignments.  Until my 4th year (of a 5 year program).  This was the year I declared my major (Marketing) and actually enjoyed some of the things I was learning.  However, still most of the courses were instructor led.  It wasn’t until I was in a course led by this funky diva (well before En Vogue coined the term) named June.  A statuesque older black woman who I’m imagining was a visiting lecturer as I don’t recall her being faculty.  She taught one of the elective Marketing classes and we had to apply what we learned – no, not in a case study or simulation but working with a real car manufacturer.  I can’t recall which one but it was a major player and they were in the test phase of introducing a new model on the market and our class created marketing campaigns for their launch to be evaluated by executives.  This was a first for me and something that I haven’t forgotten as it has permeated my teaching to this very day.  I try to organize real world learning whenever I can.  I am not saying that I don’t lecture or give notes and assignments but I also get the students fully immersed when it comes to learning.  From my Psychology students working with Kindergartners and Grade 2s applying Piaget and Kohlberg’s theories to my Marketing students creating campaigns for local Steveston restaurants to my Business students opening an hour long business venture competing with other groups and being judged on sales made.  Yes, this is a nightmare for me to organize and perhaps not appreciated by all students in the moment but I know that once they reflect, the experience was invaluable – that’s the way I felt in June’s class.  I will continue to teach in this manner until I retire and I have June to thank for instilling this sentiment in me!

May 2 – biz ed

282/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  Have you ever downplayed anything about you?  I realized today that I have been for about 30+ years.  When I am asked what I teach, I rarely if ever mention my Business Education courses – Accounting, Keyboarding etc.  I almost always say Psychology and Marketing.  I reflected today and know exactly why – people often assume that given a Bachelors of Commerce degree in my background and my subject area, I must be intelligent but intelligent in the classic sense of the word.  I am far from that person but I totally relate to their assumptions in that I have/had the same notions about fellow Business teachers.  But today, at a Pro D meeting with my colleagues from the east-side schools from the Business Education arena, I realized that in fact we were all very interesting and did not typify the view one (namely me) has of such teachers;  old, archaic, stuck in their ways, curmudgeonly, lacking a sense of humour, focused, numbers oriented, Business is their life, robotic humans.  In fact all of us – ranging from close to retirement age down to freshly starting our careers, were lively and humourous, cracking jokes and making light of our job situations in times of declining enrolment.  None of us came off as the stereotypical Business Educator.  None of us were complaining.  All of us had personalities.  This reflecting got me to thinking about other Business Educators within the district and outside that I have worked with and yes, I can say that the majority do not fit the stereotype – yes, there are some who do but that’s what makes a stereotype enduring as there will always be people who fit it.  But for those of you outside the Business Educator box, so glad you bring that perspective to our career and broaden the definition of what it is to be a Business Teacher.  No, I’m not ready to start introducing myself as a Business teacher but I might be ready to add that I teach Accounting in addition to Psychology and Marketing 😉

January 8 – the people behind the scenes

168/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. I am a big believer in field trips/excursions as I do know for a fact that students will remember more from those experiences than anything I could actually teach them from a book.   To be able to actually do or see in the field rather than just to be lectured about the same material is so much more powerful. I have had the opportunity to teach Law, Psychology and Marketing and I made it a point to include some type of outside activity to aid in the comprehension of the material: from visits to the Law Courts and conducting a Mock Trial at the courts to traveling to different markets/retail establishments to see how Business activities take place to visiting elementary and preschool classrooms to get a first hand account of Child Development. As well, the value of guest presenters coming to my classes to share their experiences from Bankers, Former Convicts, Accountants, Mothers, Entrepreneurs and the like – the students have received invaluable information from the source. As a teacher, there is no way that I can provide them with all the experiences and I am the type of teacher who wants to go that extra mile. Does arranging for speakers and field trips take time? Oh you bet but I have been very fortunate that the people who have organized the experiences from the elementary/preschool teachers at McKay, Thompson and Lee to the women at the Law Courts, the bankers from Vancity and Coast Capital, to the people at Lonsdale Quay, the lists are endless. If not for all the people who have allowed and continue to allow my students access to their expertise, I would not be able to provide the type of educational experience that I pride myself in. Thank you to each and everyone of you who over the past two decades has helped me as a teacher. I really owe you big time!

December 21 – she took marketing, she lives marketing!

150/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. Thus far in my career, I have taught/interacted/worked with (underestimating) 5000 young people. That number is astonishing. I can’t say that I remember all of them sadly but I do remember a good chunk of them. Of those, only about a 20 or so stand out significantly to me and that’s because they changed the way I viewed the game! They taught me something! I’m a big believer in fate and out of the blue former student Britt messaged me last week to meet up for lunch today. I have had Britt on my list of “gratitudees” that I am going to honour and was thinking about her post when her message came so what better day to write about her than today. Britt is one of the most positive girls/women any one could ever meet. I know it’s clichéd to say someone has a heart of gold – well, hers is platinum! I taught her Law and Marketing back in high school and could rely on partnering her with anyone and Britt would be so inclusive and welcoming. Her classwork was second to none of course but she also was actively involved in the social life of the school. Another thing about Britt was that she was and is an amazing sister – I could tell that her younger sister Lauren idolized her but Britt also was very proud of Lauren. I’ve talked about Britt to her former teachers and everyone looks upon her with fondness. I must also say that I am proud that she has gone on into the Marketing world and is now a Vice president of Marketing for a major company. Britt taught me that genuine kindness is what really matters and what people really remember. I have a daughter and there are only two women – not family, not friends but former students of which Britt is one – that I would be very proud if my daughter was even half the women they are. Thank you Britt for sharing your light and spirit with not only me but everyone around you. I feel very fortunate to have taught you! I raise my beer mug in your honour 🙂