June 28 – i learned from the best

339/365 people to thank who have had an impact on me.  I’m going to say it – basically, only one or two classes in all my seven years of university at UBC enrolled in the Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Education and Master of Education degrees actually taught me anything worthwhile.  I can’t even remember the countless courses I had to take for the sake of having to take them – basically jumping through the hoops in order to get my required degree – and most of them did not matter and taught me very little.  Yes, some will argue that the courses and university education in general “taught” me how to think.  No, I knew how to think – that’s how I got into university in the first place.  So I go back to my belief that very little of the education there was of value to me personally.  I had some great professors and Kimberly Schonert-Reichl is in the top 5, if not in the top 3.  I had to take several electives during my Masters degree and I decided to take her course under Educational and Counseling Psychology – it was Social Emotional Learning in Adolescents (or some theme around that).  I thought that yet again, this would be another filler course that I just had to get through and complete what was required of me but as I’m sure you can guess, that was not the case.  Kimberly was very easy going and her nurturing personality came out in class.  Different people brought in food to the class weekly to share while the lecture was going on – an idea that I “borrowed” from her when I was teaching at UBC myself.  She was heavily involved with the Roots of Empathy program which she described during lectures and imagine my surprise when I learned that my son who was in Grade 1 at the time was involved in said program in his classroom!  She allowed digression from the course syllabus as long as the work challenged and inspired us.  I ended up completing an intensive, fact-filled research paper on Relational Aggression (basically Mean Girls) to better understand what my grade 8 daughter was going through and to also relate to the high school girls I taught.  This was the first assignment in all of my university career that I thoroughly enjoyed completing.  After reading it, she suggested that I get it published but I was too nervous to even entertain the thought; however, I have shared the paper with several colleagues and a few of my students.  I want to thank Kimberly for being such a wonderful educator who not only inspired me with the way she taught but also allowed me to get interested in what it was she was teaching which benefited me on a personal level.  How I wished all my professors were like you!


June 6 – mean girls

317/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  As I’ve written these posts, I have had to go back in my life and relive some of the good times and also revisit the bad ones.  I have been able to thank people who have positively helped create who I am and also back-handedly give “recognition” to those who just made my life negative to completely unbearable.  Some may say that I am bitter and others may say that I should let it go but this experience has been cathartic and through writing these posts, I have let a lot of feelings go since they were never acknowledged.  I did confront some of my bullies during a high school reunion about how negative they made my life.  I wasn’t really surprised to learn that they had no clue as they were so self-absorbed and I didn’t matter at the time.  The bullying boys – with the exception of one – channeled all their dislike for me through physical aggression.  After it was done, they would just forget and move on.  I’m an elephant – I didn’t forget but after taking my minor in Psychology, I understood how they operated.  The girls also got their bullying on through relational aggression – getting others in on it, creating stories and gossip and generally egging it on.  During that same reunion, I spoke with the girl who was in every one of my classes in grade 8.  I had to be honest with her about how she made my life miserable with her friend “A”.  Although “A” was the main perpetrator, this other girl would jump in and tag-team the venomous verbal barrage directed at me ranging from my geekiness, to my ethnicity, from my less than ideal masculinity to my unattractiveness yet when we were not within A’s vicinity, she would be pleasant – that’s the worst kind of mean girl/bully.  Hate on me all the time.  Don’t toy with me.   When I told her all she put me through at the reunion, she broke down in tears – but not because she was apologetic but because I was making her feel bad?!  What?  Because you can’t handle how horrible you were to me?  Stuff that stayed with me a lifetime but I’m not supposed to say anything because you feel awful?  I am glad that I was able to let all I felt out as she needed to hear what I had carried into my 40s.  This is my healing.  Because of that reunion incident, I have actually been empowered to be honest with people from my past regarding how I was treated be it positively or negatively.  If they can’t handle it, that is because they needed to hear how they affected another person’s life.  This girl could definitely not handle it as she unfriended me on Facebook but that just made me stronger as I knew that I had become a much better person.  Yes, to you nameless girl, a back-handed gratitude post for making me a stronger person as an adult and being able to address issues and then finally let those bygones become bygones!