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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February 12 – the white boys

203/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. Do not take the title of this post offensively – if you are an educator in the lower mainland, it will make sense but even more than that, it is a true gratitude post. So here I am starting second semester of teaching at a school that is very, very multicultural in a city that is very, very multicultural. My last teaching class of the day is very male-centric – maybe 5 girls to about 15 boys and of those boys, the majority are white Caucasians. Now, if you are a teacher in the city and hood that I live in, that’s a rarity and also a bit of a nightmare as the ethnic boys and girls are usually the star pupils who just do as they are told and get the work to a standard above and beyond what one could imagine.   The white boys – and if you are easily offended over ethnic stereotypes just stop reading – do what they have to do to get the bare minimum credit. Which classes do these young gentlemen take – the electives of course and which ones do they tend to select – the ones that they will get an easy pass. Here lies my dilemma – I am an elective but I don’t give easy passes yet I get these boys in my classes. But, I absolutely love them! They get me to think outside the box, redesign lessons and challenge my thinking. I can not be complacent in a class dominated by these young males. I have to think about ways to motivate them which keeps me on my toes. Yes, I could easily just give up on them and focus on the students who want to be in my class or I could try my hardest to get them “moved” out of my class but that is not the teacher I am. These guys actually drive me to change up the way I teach – get rid of my complacency. In fact, these boys give me insight on my own son – yes, before you get all uppity – my son is a brown boy who is actually a white boy…we live in affluent Steveston and he was the only brown boy in his elementary school from Kindergarten until grade 6 so for all intents and purposes, I got a white son – so back to what I was saying, I have a greater understanding of the way he is and works based on the boys in my class. I mean, several times have I found myself chuckling to what my son says that is the same as my students or vice versa. Although, I may be the first to “complain” about my white boys, I actually wish no different as I love having them in my class and getting me to rethink the way I teach and giving me the reality of what real teaching is. Thank you white boys (meaning real students who understand school is not the be all and end all) for making me that much better of a teacher but even greater than that, making my classes that much more engaging, dynamic and interesting!