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.
182/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. It’s the last day of semester one at my school. I have finished with the current crop of students and will now prepare for my next 5 months with a new group. As I am reflecting on my last semester, I think back to any substantial differences that I made for my students and this year, I can truly say that I did but it’s because I learned a lot in the process. I taught Psychology 12 and have a unit on adolescent development. This has been my defining course as I developed it and proposed it to the Richmond School District about a decade or more ago and have been the fortunate one to be able to teach what I created. I created a unit on adolescence and put in topics regarding alternate gender identifications other than the binaries of male and female that we have been accustomed to in our heterornormative existence – and no offense to anyone because that’s what we have been taught subconsciously. This year, unbeknownst to me, I had a transgender student in class. He made a comment on an assignment and I didn’t think twice as I thought he was male but because he drew attention to his gender, I was alerted. I asked the secretaries and was informed that the student I was inquiring about was “female”. I was confused. But he was not. It took me the year to have a discussion with him and he told me that I was the only teacher in his entire schooling who addressed this and that I was the only teacher who incorporated gender identity in subject matter. I did not react at the time that he told me this but I am very moved as I write this. I was bullied for my appearance (ethnic, fat, effeminate etc) but never about my gender identity as I knew I was male and my biology matched that. I made sure that I did extra research about gender identity, gender dysphoria and transgendered individuals to ensure that my lectures were correct. Thank you “student” for bringing me back to teacher and learning a lot more because I want to ensure all my students feel that my classroom is their classroom.