All It Takes Is A Defining Moment

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For Desmond Tutu meeting Trevor Huddleston determined the path of his life. In my own life there are many defining moments that led me to who I am today. Teachers, coaches , community members and a School Counsellor had an impact.

In grade 12 (1976) my School Counsellor Mrs. Brown gave me $100.00 towards my post secondary education. My family could not afford to pay my way. I was the first in my family to go to University so it was certainly a big deal. I did not realize at the time just how much money that was or even how incredible it was that she did that. What a gift and an impact she had on the trajectory of my life. A lacrosse scholarship and a bursary ( both recommended by community members) paid for all four years of my Bachelor of Child Study degree. How fortunate was I ?

I never underestimate the power of a small (albeit grand) gesture in forming who we are and what we choose to do in our lives. I intentionally make sure each day I work with students I keep that in mind. I intentionally pay it forward on as many occasions as I can.

All it takes is a defining moment and you might be the one that makes that happen and if someone makes that happen for you tell them.

Books to Help High School Students Navigate Life

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I asked a few of my educator friends about a book they would recommend and here is the list. I’ll start with my favourite by Viktor Frankl. The rest are in no particular order.

1. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

2. Tuesdays With Morrie

3. Wherever You Go There You Are

4. The Alchemist

5. Make A Dash

6. The Hate You Give

7. Fountainhead

8. The Upside of Unrequited

9. The Total Money Makeover

10. A Child Called It

11. Make Your Bed

12. Everything I know I learned In Kindergarden

13. City of Joy

14. Don’t Throw Sand in The Sandbox

15. 1984

16. Grapes of Wrath

17. To Kill A Mockingbird

18. Do What You Are

19. Netsmart

20. Financial Peace University

What book would you recommend?

Gratitude

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As we enter this thanksgiving weekend , I long for the big dinners I have celebrated with my longtime friends and kids for over thirty years.

However, I am grateful for what I do have my health, my life, the best friends ever and two amazing healthy adult children. My husband who continues to be such a good human being makes this pandemic easier for all those around him. My mom who lives far away, but still has a positive attitude given all her health concerns. A 91 year old mother in law who is healthy and full of vitality and positivity.

I am grateful for two brothers who have sacrificed so much for my mom. I am grateful I can help when I am needed in my community. This pandemic has hurt so many and if I can reach out and help, I am more than happy to do so. I am grateful to have a purpose and so much more.

So from my heart to yours, I wish you the best thanksgiving possible.

A Gift For Teachers

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Teachers deserve so much more than this for all they do day in and day out. This is my little treat for them as we enter World Teachers’ Day on Monday. It’s my small way to say thanks for who you are and what you do. Click here for a little gift.

Shedding A Little Tear As I Say Farewell

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This year I feel very sad to leave this safe haven and return to the big city , but I’m also excited to see my children and friends. Farewell Nova Scotia I look forward to my return next year hoping life looks a little brighter for all of us at that time.

Burn Out … Educators Take Care of Yourself

Just for Today I will take the necessary actions so that I don’t burn out during Covid 19. I will take breaks and put things on pause when I need to.

I think we all need this reminder today, but especially educators and all who work in schools. This is a very draining time for many. It will mean making a conscious effort to not overdo things. I know easier said than done.

Prioritizing your well being is essential. I know too many don’t really understand the work educators do, or how hard you are working to make this all work right now, but you do. There has never been a more important time where you need to prioritize your well being .These ten ideas are a few things you can do to take care of yourself during this time.

  1. Show yourself a little love. Get up a little earlier than the rest of your family and take 15 minutes just for you. A half hour even better. Make yourself a cup of tea and do nothing , just be by yourself and enjoy the quiet time.
  2. Get to work a little earlier, buy yourself some flowers to put on your desk even if working virtually, and take time to smell the flowers throughout the day.
  3. Take a lunch break , unless you are dealing with an emergency. Get outside, take a short walk and recharge. Exercise as much as possible each day at a time that works for you.
  4. Take a break from social media and the news. I avoid the news as much as possible these days. Get someone to tell you the highlights if you really need the news.
  5. Collaborate as much as possible with a colleague to lighten your load.
  6. Ask yourself what you can take off your plate.
  7. Recognize you are still coping with the effects of Covid 19 yourself and YOU do not have to do everything. Use positive self talk throughout the day. Say, I can get through today only and make it the best day possible.
  8. Let go of the need to be all , do all.
  9. Celebrate the things you are doing to make this world a better place. You show up for kids daily so that their lives can be better, acknowledge that.
  10. Go home early. You don’t need to live at school. You have a life , live it . Spend time with those you love and focus on how you can have a great life during this pandemic without burning out.

Don’t burn yourself out, take care of yourself today and every day. It’s the best gift that you can give yourself and your students.

If you have a tip for educators to help during this time please share in the comments.

Taking Time

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How often do we take time to notice all the beauty that surrounds us? I take the same walk many times throughout my week, but each day I see something new. Change isn’t always easy, but if we look at change as seeing things from a different perspective, then maybe we will embrace it even more. Although the thought of change can be scary, it can also be exhilarating. So just for today I will take time to embrace change.

Focus On The Good

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It’s so easy during this time to focus on all the bad, however I choose not to. I skip by all the negative news. Oh yes, I do peek at it every now and then, but I don’t stay focussed on it.

If we look for the good we are bound to find it. I love when I hear good news of a wedding or a new baby or that someone’s operation turned out better than they thought. Often times I focus on the small things that I am grateful for. I can walk, see, hear, love, develop friendships, read, dance, sing, and breathe without much effort. There are so many things I can do that others are not able to and I do not take that for granted.

I can focus on the good in every young person I encounter. They have so much potential so much good left to be discovered.

Don’t get me wrong I am no pollyanna, I do sometimes get stuck on the negative, but I never live there long as I know how unhelpful it is. So just for today I chose to focus on the good.

Growing Up By The Sea

It gets harder and harder to leave a place I love, leaving behind so many friends and family for yet another year. Being near the water brings me such a sense of peace, except when there is an expected hurricane of course, but that doesn’t happen very often.

I loved growing up near the sea. I love being near, listening to the sounds of the water and just looking out and observing the ever changing Mira River. I am connected to the beauty and the people here and each year I need to let go and go west. The coming and the going like the flow of the ocean, is what I am meant to do.

As I head back west I look forward to that chapter as my family and friends there too. I am connected deeply to both places. Fortunately for me I had the joy of growing up near the sea and can keep coming back.

Maintaining connections with great friends although I moved so far away so long ago, has allowed me to feel like I belong.

Growing up near the sea will always be a part of me.

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Making Memories in Public Gardens

When in Halifax a visit to the public gardens is a must. It was always one of my favourite places and my mom’s too, so I took her there today. We strolled along at a much slower pace, but got to enjoy the beauty that surrounded us.

Spending Quality Time With Mom

My mom is a trooper given all of her physical challenges, I am so grateful to have this time to spend with her as soon enough I will be thousands of miles away for another year..