July 22 – U

363/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  Wow, only 3 more gratitude posts left including this one!!  When I started this journey a year ago, I was a little nervous as to if I would have 365 people to thank.  I didn’t want it to come down to posts such as thanking my mailman for the flyers he delivers in that they were the ones that led me on to some awesome deal!! ; )  Early on in these posts, I started hearing from friends that so and so had made “the list”.  I didn’t understand what that was until I was told that it was my “gratitude list”.  That put some pressure on me to say the least as there was now a “list”.  I didn’t want it to be a list and I didn’t want it to be some type of contest.  Then I heard that some people mentioned they were in the 80s and others were in the 200s!  I do have to make it clear that I haven’t had an order as to who I thank and thus whatever number gratitude post it was has no relation to ranking.  Most posts are the night before or a couple of days before.  Yes, I saved my dad for his birthday as I did with my children for theirs, my mom was first because well she is my mom but save for them and the final two gratitude posts, no one had a day or a number.  The list by the end of Sunday is far from complete.  I could thank another 365 people who got me to where I am today and this is what today’s gratitude post is about – to all of the people I didn’t name and there are hundreds of you that have impacted me!  So many former students, co-workers past and present, family members, inlaws, bosses, professors, fellow students, random strangers, neighbours past and present, friends, backhanded gratitudees (bullies and the like), service providers, celebrities etc, etc – just so many people who have made me who I am and to all of you un-named in this past year, you are part of this gratitude journey just because you were not personally mentioned here doesn’t mean you weren’t recognized by me.  To all the new people that will come in to my life, thanking you in advance as some of you will change and influence me in new ways.  Thank you to all of you who came along with me on this 365 day journey as well.  Your encouragement and support has gotten me to this end point.

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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!

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 😉

February 17 – I’m a Survivor

208/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. I absolutely love reality tv – not the Kardashian Krap type but competition reality. I used to watch American Idol and The Voice. I am a fan of The Amazing Race and loved Top Model. I watched a couple of one season shows as well but the king of all competition reality is Survivor. I would like to say that I watched it right from the get-go and to a certain degree, I did. The show came on in 2000 and the first season was repeated immediately after it aired and because I heard so much about it, I watched the re-airing and fell in love with the premise and the characters and the entire concept of sole Survivor. Thus, technically I have been watching it from the first season and I have not missed an episode since! Here we are into season 36 I believe and I am just as excited! Being not very athletic, I get to be arm-chair athlete! Being a very social being, I also get to watch the players’ social games and analyze them. I basically live vicariously for an hour through these players. I have been told many times that my persona would be ideal for reality tv and yes, they are all personas – the players are cast for entertainment. I haven’t applied because perhaps on some level I think I would be cast and I don’t know how I would be “edited” – probably the dumb guy!! I have said that if I ever do get on, I will be first voted out or make it all the way to the end 😉 Now the other thing that has made my Survivor viewing interesting and probably that much more enjoyable which is the real purpose of tonight’s blog is to thank the many staff members who have joined in on the Survivor (and other reality) pools that I have organized. I started them way back when I taught at Burnett as a way of getting some staff socialness going on and it took off from there. I came to McNair as a newbie and did the same thing and the staff also came on board. Yes, I may have arm-twisted a few to join but what better or easier way to participate in the work place social atmosphere than throw a $5 bill, get a random player and see if you get a $100 win. The camaraderie that has developed with staff members has been amazing and I have gotten to know staff members that I wouldn’t normally have had a chance of conversing with and it just makes for my Survivor viewing all that much more exciting and pleasurable when you are now talking about staff member players and you have someone to route for right away. Also, I love writing my reviews – some are wine-infused and I let loose a little too much but hopefully they are enjoyable to read 😉 Once again, I want to thank every single person who has participated in the pools – without you, my entertainment on Wednesday night’s would be solely a one way activity but because of you, it has become multi-faceted and much more enjoyable. Here’s to your player winning!!

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!

January 6 – analyze this

166/366 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. This one may be a bit controversial. I love Freud. Yes, so many critics and in some instances, rightfully so – castration complex, penis envy…okay, maybe a little too coke for you Sigmund; however, the subconscious, repression, Id, Ego and Superego as well as the Defense Mechanisms. I’m totally there with you. In university, I took all my electives in the ologies and most of them in Psychology. When I discovered Freudian theory, I felt it spoke to me as I could totally make sense of who I was based on his approach to Social Development. I may not fully agree with his Psychosexual Development Theory but I find merit in it. On the other hand, I am fully committed to his Personality Theory in regards to the 3 dimensions of Id, Ego and Superego. When I decided to introduce the Psychology curriculum to the Richmond School District, I put together a framework but each individual tasked with teaching the course had the freedom and flexibility to pick and choose the theorists that best fit their definitions for the learning outcomes. I give my students many choices in theories and let them decide but I also let them know that I am probably a Freudian deep down as I do believe in subconscious and unconscious influences on behaviour – in fact, analyzing my own behaviour from a Freudian perspective reveals a lot about – not all good I can admit 😉 Freud is everywhere – from the Simpsons to Madonna’s 007 theme. I’m glad I learned about him and I’m glad that I can make sense of who I am based on some of his work. In honour of you Freud, I blame my mom for who I am 😉

November 22 – i love me some psychology

121/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. During my university years, even though I was enrolled in and received my Business degree, unlike my fellow students in the program who took electives like History of Tax Law or Economic Diversity in Developing Nations, I took all my electives in the “ologies” – Anthropology, Sociology, Criminology and of course Psychology.   I enjoyed these courses much more than the actual courses in my Business program and if not for my engagement in these electives, my first undergraduate degree would strictly have been an exercise in going through the motions of getting a university education. Upon quickly getting my second degree (Teaching), I entered the profession but was tasked with teaching what I majored in – Business courses. There were no options at the high school curriculum level to capitalize on my minor. I was happy to have a job and made the best of it but was really not interested in my subject matter – I mean, I had to teach 8 blocks of typing in my first year!! “A, a, a – space – A, a, a – space” – it was torture!! 🙂 Luckily, I was able to pick up Marketing and Law and like Stella, I got my groove back!! Upon the suggestion of some grade 11s and 12s, I decided to propose a new course – Psychology 12. Since it was not offered anywhere in the city, I had to create the curriculum and find the resources. I had to approach my principal, then a teacher committee, and finally justify in to the School Board trustees – each step more daunting than the previous one! However, in every part of the process I was supported in my proposal and did not face any roadblocks. Long story short – I developed the curriculum for Richmond and have been teaching the course just shy of two decades and it is what keeps me going! I absolutely love teaching but to be able to teach Psychology is the gravy on an absolutely amazing dish of mashed potatoes!! Comfort food all the way! To all the people who were instrumental in getting the course from its earliest inception to what it is today, I thank you greatly.   In your honour, I will continue to ensure that I put my heart and soul into making every lesson better than the last! Thank you!