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 12 – cyberfriends

323/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  This gratitude post is a strange one for me in that I am different than most people from my age group when it comes to the online world.  I have been connected to cyberspace well before it became mainstream.  I was on ICQ, the way, way old version of messenger.  I was on a bunch of forums.  I followed rooms (the earlier precursors of blogs) before they became de rigeur.  I followed an online music forum and became “friends” with people from all over the world and ended up becoming a moderator for the website – over a decade ago.  We had a community.  Almost 2000 followers.  I spent countless hours in front of the computer moderating various threads on music.  Jenna, Liam, Brett and myself were the admin.  We were approving who got into our music sharing forum.  It was the new era of the internet.  It was slightly bizarre for me.  I didn’t really believe in online friends but here I was with online friends!  People that I had never met in my life.  It became surreal when I received Christmas cards in the mail from them!  Today, no one blinks an eye in that one has “friends” in cyber world but I still am surprised that I, a guy who is in the here and now world, got caught up in the virtual world.  I guess I am slightly embarrassed as for a while, I spent a lot of time with my “online” friends than I did with the real world.   Today, I’m all about the real world and the online world is where I do this – blog my gratitude.  However, I can not totally dismiss the online friends and life I had a decade or so ago because if not for them, I would not be expressing myself and using cyberspace as a valuable tool to let everyone know about how grateful I have been and I am for all the people who have come in and out of my life to make me the man I am today.  Thank you cyberfriends for giving me a perspective and insight into cyberworld as a medium for expression and for being!

May 6 – walk this way

286/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  One of my strengths which is also one of my greatest weaknesses is my work ethic.  I work hard at whatever I take on which is a good thing.  However, I also expect others around me to do the same thing which is a bad thing.  I know people are different and completely understand that but I tend to forget even though I have a Psych minor.  I know about personalities but for some odd reason, still expect people to be like me when it comes to career.  Four years ago, I started a new chapter in my working life by starting a teaching job at McNair school – I knew no one at the school.  To say I had a tough go of things that first year would be an understatement but here I am four years down the road and loving it.  I also didn’t realize the power of leadership until this new position – both good and bad.  The one constant in the administrative department has been Wennie who is a vice principal.  Yes, in the beginning I had to scope her out as of course I’m sure she did with me but over the years we have carved out a great working relationship and this past year have become friends – not necessarily do those two things go hand in hand.  I respect her dedication to career, her work ethic (yes, just like mine) and her love and focus on her family and her immense knowledge of technology.  Having a tech background myself, I appreciate someone who knows what they are talking about and on the odd occasion I need help (especially with new software for grades and attendance), Wennie has been there for support.  She has also been integral in getting me to consider other career alternatives – one that I have been pondering because of her faith in my abilities.  Alas, just when you think things are going awesome, of course things have to change and out of the blue comes the information that she is being moved to my old haunting grounds (Burnett Secondary).  Our loss is a huge gain for Burnett.  I’m really glad that I worked with you Wennie but even gladder (is that a word?) that we’ve become friends.  Here’s to more future outings and becoming better friends!

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 😉

March 13 – debits to the left, credits to the right

232/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. I’ve taught a lot of teenagers over my years – probably nearing 4500+ students. That’s a huge number now that I reflect on it. I have also been fortunate enough to teach adults at UBC for 3 years – probably about 150 during that time. That’s a lot students I’ve had influence on but as I’ve mentioned over these gratitude posts, there are several that also impacted me. At UBC, I taught the adult students in the Education program to become teachers. I got to know about 8-10 on a different level each year as I was fortunate enough to watch them teach in the classroom during their practicum. Once they finished the program, I kept in touch with many of them to see how they fared hoping all of them ended up with permanent teaching contracts joining myself in the awesome profession of teaching. One of those adult learners was Colin D. I not only taught him the required courses in the teacher education program, I was also his adviser during his practicum. This guy, as a student teacher, was amazing. I still remember some of his hooks to start off lessons and his knowledge and use of technology inside and outside of the classroom was amazing, You know when you have an awesome teacher? When they can make Accounting interesting!! He creates educational music videos – his one for Debits and Credits is used by many Business teachers – yes, myself being one (also inspiring me to have my students create their own business videos)! He also did so well on his practicum that he ended up co-authoring the Accounting textbook used by most high school teachers. If that’s not accomplishing something during your practicum, then I don’t know what a successful practicum is. Thanks Colin for giving me ideas and inspiration as I ended up being tasked with teaching Accounting upon my return to the high school environment. Your students are very fortunate to have you as their teacher but we in education are also very fortunate to have you as one of us. I look forward to seeing and hearing about what you come up with next!

January 9 – what a trip

169/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. Sometimes you don’t even realize that a person has had an influence on you until much later – this is the case with Pedro D. I met Pedro as a teacher at Burnett when he joined the department I was in as the Computer Studies teacher but it meant the move of a teacher who was already in the position. Pedro applied and was hired all above board and by the book – but we in the department were sad to see his predecessor go as we bonded with him and wanted him to continue on but we reluctantly welcomed Pedro and I’m sure he felt a bit awkward coming into a well established department. Hey, if I’m anything, I am honest! In no time at all, Pedro became a part of the department and we all forgot about what’s his name – I kid 😉 But yes, Pedro fit in very well with the department and helped me out whenever I had a computer issue or found problems with any of the software I was using in my classes. We all worked as a team and I got to know him well also through social gatherings. However, you really get to know a person when you are traveling with them and that’s what also happened. Pedro organized a trip to Europe for the students and ended up with so many students that he was able to take 3 other staff members as chaperones and he asked me to be one. Although this was out of my comfort zone, I was very excited to go and had a great time – I’m sure he could elaborate on my naivety around a lot of things and my expertise at others – I got to know Pedro really well as the two male teachers had to share a room LOL. But seriously, it takes a lot to fluster him as he is a laid back teacher and has this way of speaking that just brings a calmness to what otherwise could be a chaotic situation plus he is fazed by very little. His leadership style is also the same and no wonder he ended up moving through the ranks and becoming a principal. I was truly sad to see him leave the school but really happy for him. He left in me the love of traveling with students where I have also led a couple of trips myself. Cheers to you Pedro, in your honour, here’s to getting my passport renewed.

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 2 -let’s get technological

131/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. Think back to when you were a high school student – did you contact your teacher outside of class time? Did you even think about your teacher outside of class time? And if you did, did you consider them as someone other than teacher? As I reflect, I can be honest and say that no, I never once paid any regard to my teachers as soon as I was outside the confines of the educational institution. First, I didn’t consider it and second, even if I did, how would I have acted on it short of writing a note and then getting it to them? I got off on this tangent for today’s blog – which is not thanking a person but rather a thing – based on the fact that students from my classes, utilizing various technologies, contacted me this past week to wish me a speedy recovery. There was a group photo taken via IPhoto, messages sent to the class Freshgrade blog, personal messages via email or Facebook Messenger, Youtube songs sent to cheer me up. This says a lot about the students (which is another gratitude post perhaps one day) but it says so much about what allowed this – technology! This is how technology has permeated everyday life and allowed relationships to bud, blossom and/or bloom. Ruminate on technology however you want – bane or boon to our existence but it is here to stay and evolve ever in greater ways. We can either be assimilated by it and become a servant to it or accommodate it and adapt ourselves to it and become the master of it. As a teacher, I have had to constantly be on top of my technological game especially since I am in a computer lab and also to keep me relevant and give me an educational edge. I don’t fight it in the class as some of my contemporaries do – I use it to my advantage. I read up on all sorts of educational technology and how I can put to use students’ smart phones as educational tools in addition to their communicative roles in their personal lives rather than fight a losing battle against it. I also use technology in my everday life – the mere fact that I am expressing myself to you in this manner of blogging is all due to technology. Yes, it isn’t perfect and times were much different and perhaps simpler before and I understand that but it isn’t going to disappear ever. I may not know where this runaway horse is going but I will be holding on to its reigns and staying atop of it lest I fall off and be dragged by it. Thank you technology for keeping this 50 year old relevant. In your honour technology, I’m going to get my 1s and 0s in order.