Archive for the ‘Life Lessons’ Category

After almost a year hiatus, Em’s Top 7 is back in operation! The past year has been crazy, in a good way, but super busy. I set out to write a top 7 for my friends going off to university/college and I never quite finished, so once I missed that week- it was all downhill from there! Stay tuned as I’m going to finish that post soon and have a few other back to school ones on the go!

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Today, I hung out with two of my girlfriends. We took a random road trip to try a find a decent restaurant that is actually open on a Monday, and thankfully our summer brains were on and teacher talk did not take over. The three of us are single and in our 30s and the conversation turned to an interesting subject.

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freedigitalphotos.net

Now, this post is meant to shed some light into what it’s like to be a single girl whether by choice or by circumstance. It’s not meant to create an “us vs. them” divide, this is completely meant to offer some insight and clear up some misconceptions of what it is like to be a woman on her own, because a life without a partner is not without it’s struggles.

I believe that God has all of us, single or not, in the right place at the time. I believe that whether you are married or not, a parent or not, you can be completely satisfied and have a full understanding about life and what it has to offer. No matter where you are, no matter what your life circumstance is, there are going to be challenges. It is so important to be someone who is in tune with what is going on in your friend/family members’ lives, because we all struggle in different ways and need support and love in whatever those circumstances are. So, hopefully this post will be a reminder of that.

That being said- if you know me, you know that even when I’m serious, I usually say things with a bit of humour, so keep that in mind…

So with that long preamble- I present to you, “Seven Phrases Every Single Gal Is Dying NOT to Hear.”

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Myth #1- Single Gals are rolling in the dough…

1. “It must be nice to have such a disposable income.” We don’t know where this one comes from, because even though we have decent jobs, we never seem to have any extra money. Think about it. As a single person, you still have to make full payments for rent/mortgage, a car, insurance- all on one salary. Not to mention trying to pay off student loans and any other crazy unknown expenses that come up. At the rate I’m going, I’m looking to have my schooling paid back by the time I’m 37- if I stick to a strict budget. Now, that being said, my debit card does get a decent workout at both the Clinique counter and Victoria Secret, and I do get my hair done regularly but I figure those purchases really are necessities on the quest to land a man.

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You just sent me what?!

2. “Have you tried online dating?” I have very limited commentary for this one. People usually offer this not as a piece of advice, but as a solution to the problem. Most single women would concur that getting married is more than a box to be checked, and not a problem to be solved. And sure, online dating is a good way to meet single guys, especially if your circles have dried up of prospects. But, online dating sucks. Sure, there may be a gem of a guy on there somewhere- but it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Some people strike gold right away, while others have to deal with the many men (or boys) who are usually separated from their wives, socially inept, or seriously perverted. And that’s just on the Christian sites… That could be a whole blog post in itself. And usually the response to the lack of viable options online is another favourite phrase, “Maybe you’re being too picky…”

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I have to schedule time in to shave my legs?!

3. “Being single is less responsibility…” Another misconception about being a single person is the hours of time we must seem to have on our hands. Think about it. Groceries still need to be bought, laundry to be done, all the bills to pay, the grass to cut, waiting for the repair guy to show up, taking the car in to be fixed, the house to be cleaned, dinner to be cooked, etc. Think of all the jobs that have to be done in life and as a single person, you are responsible for them all. There is no one to ask to pick up a few things on their way home for you, or someone to sort the recycling when you are busy. There is a reason why a marriage is considered a partnership. Why do you think single people love takeout/frozen dinners so much? (Lol- and why do you think I’m having Cheerios for dinner? Awesome, yes. But I would rather have the energy/company to make something way more fabulous.)

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Married club= Singles not welcome

4. “You’ll understand when you’re married.” Without going into a rant about this one, this is the most frustrating statement a single person can hear. Especially when they are past their late 20s. What if I never get married? Will I never understand? Will I never be fulfilled? When I get married does the world suddenly make sense and have meaning? This statement sucks. I have been on the receiving end of this, and even though the intention is not mean-spirited, the feeling of not being a part of a group or not being a fully formed human being is.

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Hmm.. budget allows for a road trip to “Akron, Ohio”- anyone?

5. “You must travel all the time!” Three things that make this untrue. Firstly, people don’t want to travel with you. And, well in theory it sounds great to travel alone and go where the wind takes you, part of the fun of a vacation is sharing it with someone. Most of my friends are married or have kids and will not travel, some even for a weekend. Secondly, have you ever seen how expensive it is to travel as a single? Often it’s double the cost of what it costs a couple. And, travelling with someone is an intimate experience- you have to choose a travelling companion wisely. Sure, you may save a chunk of cash, but you may be giving up your sanity at the same time…. And thirdly- see point number 1.

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There is a reason he’s still single…

6. “Wait… I THINK I know a single guy….” As if being single is the only criteria one has for finding a man. Yes, the number of single guys is dwindling, but hopefully standards aren’t dwindling also! Again, see the online dating rant about checking a box. That being said, if you know someone who is single and who your single friend would get along with, please introduce them!

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I’m aaaaall aloneeeee… all by myseeeelf…

7. “I won’t be able to make it; I need to spend time with my husband/We have to __________.” Ok. I get this. I really do. Marriages take work and there are times where you need to make time to be with your husband/family. That being said I cannot tell you how incredibly lonely it is and how pathetic one feels when you have everyone cancel on you or not be free to do something because of this reason. While you are out at a family BBQ or cozy-ing up to your man, the poor single girl is opening a can of tuna and bottle of wine alone.

And, since it’s been so long (and I have one more) here’s number 8.
8. “Just be patient. You’ll find him. God will bring him into your life at the right time…” This may be a true statement (or maybe not). But, honestly this is THE WORST thing you can say to someone who is single. Why? Because it implies that you haven’t been patient, you aren’t fully ready to be in a relationship, that there is something wrong with you that needs to be sorted out before you are “blessed” with a mate. And, when someone much younger than you (and usually married) says this (and usually shares the story about how they waited so long and the man of their dreams just appeared) it honestly makes the single person want to either crawl into a hole and die or punch the advice giver in the face. Just be a good friend. Being a friend means listening to your friend’s struggles and just being there for that person. Throwing a blanket statement out there and assuming you know how that person feels isn’t being a good friend. Take them out for coffee, include them on your wild family adventures- make an effort to check in with them.

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So thankful for the handful of amazing friends I have!

To sum up: Being single is not all fun and games as it appears, but single people are usually pretty content with their lives. Yes, most single people would love to be un-single but, only if that means being with someone who is going to make their lives better. Single people want to be remembered and loved by their married friends because we love and remember you too! (And I am so thankful for the ones who go out of their way to include/love me!)

COMMENT IN THE SPEECH BUBBLE ABOVE! SINGLE PEOPLE- did I miss anything? MARRIED PEOPLE- what do you think?

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Facebook is probably the number one way people communicate now a days. “Call me” has since been replace by, “Facebook me!” and instead of asking for someone’s number, you merely ask, “Are you on Facebook?” And, it’s always exciting when someone adds you to Facebook: the instant connection you feel as you declare, “Yay, we’re Facebook friends!” is the best feeling in the world.

ID-10055791But there is a dark side to this community. Sometimes it is worse than the playground at school. If people can add friends, then they can also get rid of them.  Or in Facebook speak, “de-friend” them. I’ve gone through my list occasionally to look for someone, who I knew I had been friends with to see the dreaded “add friend+” button. Sometimes I understand; I too de-friend every once in a while. I clean up my list, getting rid of people I don’t talk to, and can’t see myself interacting with them ever again. Nothing personal, but your account is a personal thing, and the things you share are meant for your followers/friends only.

Other times though, the de-friending is hurtful and feels like a personal attack and you can’t help but ask yourself, “Did I do something?,” “Do you really not like me enough anymore?” or, “I thought we were friends…. 😦

De-friending someone, is almost as big of a deal as adding them.  So, when is it necessary to hit that “unfriend” button?  Here are seven friends you most certainly should delete.

 1. Inappropriate Friend- this is the friend who posts such scandalous things, that you are always worried to open your newsfeed with anyone around, for fear they’ll think you are perv. It’s usual pictures, sayings, and sometimes status updates of a sexual, racist, or just social unacceptable nature. I think there is a way to make sure his/her posts don’t end up in your newsfeed, but if it’s a constant thing, one starts to reevaluate that friendship. Are they a perv? A racist pig? Or just plain creepy, serial killer material? Could be de-friend worthy.

2a. TMI Friend- I don’t get this friend. Something personal and private is going on in your life and you’d like to rely on your friends for support. So why not inform all 700 of them at once? Surely, there will be an outpouring of love and support for you… or not. What do you say to someone who posts a status like, “thanks for leaving me alone and pregnant, jerk” (true story) or “just got over my bout with hemorrhoids!”?  Better to PM the 10 or so of your closest friends who truly care and will be inclined to do something for you. Remember, you have people who potentially could employ you, date you, be future family members, co workers etc on this thing. Careful what you tell the world! Too many of these posts and you end up in my de-friend pile. Lol, or on my list of people to creep when I’m bored and need a laugh…

Just got the broccoli out of my teeth- check it out!  www.freedigitalphotos.net

Just got the broccoli out of my teeth- check it out! http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

2b. Too Many Updates- going along the same vein with too much information is the person who updates their status too many times.

“Just got up, going to be a great day!” “Bagel or Toast: The great debate” *pic of me eating my toast* “Ugh, first period is dragging on forever” “I love my best friend, she’s so awesome!” “Has anyone noticed that Mr. Brown has a striking resemblance to Mr. Potato Head?” “Oh. My. Wow. Just got a wink from Sweater Vest Boy…. swoon! #Mrs.SweaterVest?” “Hey, anyone want to meet me for lunch? I’ll be sitting on the north side of the caf, you know the table beside the vending machine, the one with the Pespi, not the chips… “

And it’s only lunchtime! I often wonder if I’m going to get the play by play of every bowel movement as well. I mean, I am concern about your gastro-intestinal well being, but how could I ever keep up? By far the number one reason people de-friend is because of too many updates.

 3. Incessant Game Requests- I do have to admit this allowed me to discover the amazingness that is Candy Crush though… but a lot of people voted this as the biggest reason.

4. My life is so amazing friend- I’m all for positivity but people like this: “Just got back from an amazing vacation with my amazing family. Amazing pics to follow!” “My job is so amazing!” “My husband is so amazing! Look at the amazing roast he made today! And he did an amazing job cleaning up the house!” “My kids are amazing, they are so well behaved and amazing!” either make me feel horrible about myself, or wish something horrible would happen to him/her…. just to see if he/she would post about it. I’m all for cutting out the negativity in your life, but this over the top display of positivity, turns me into a Negative Nelly. Lol, I should start posting the opposite version of these status updates and see how people respond.

Going on that vein. Anyone who makes you feel negative, angry and upset needs to go. You don’t need that negativity/drama in your life!  

Say goodbye to those negative influences!

Say goodbye to those negative influences! http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

5. The Cryptic update friend/Needy friend- I’ve had to defriend a few over this. I’m not a counsellor or a shrink. Sure I love helping people out, but scary Emo updates and cry for help messages are beyond me and my scope of training.

6. The Preacher Friend- whether it’s politics, religion, heath debates, mommy issues- if you are posting very one sided articles and comments on the same thing over and over and over again, you’re getting the de-friend. I’m all for sharing your opinions, but in a way that creates dialogue and discussion, not judgment.  And, what better place for that then Facebook when you have so many diverse and interesting opinions and thoughts?

7a. No, “Hey how’s it going?” in over a year friend

7b. Old co-workers/people won’t talk to again/contacts you added for business at a time friends

7c. People you just aren’t friends with and don’t deserve to have that much insight into your life. Friendships grow over the years, and sometimes they come to a natural close. I’ve gotten rid of a few people who I just wasn’t friends with anymore and didn’t desire to be.

7d. The ex-boyfriend/friends/family of the ex- (including friend/families exes). Without getting ranty, Facebook is unnatural. In olden days, you would break up with someone and never talk to him or her again. You (or your friends) wouldn’t be able to keep tabs on them. It’s creepy to know what your best friend’s ex husband’s daily status is, or that your ex’s brother met up with your ex and his new girlfriend for dinner. It doesn’t allow anyone to move on at all. I even know friends who have divorced and have an amicable relationship with each other who chose not to be facebook friends, and I know that’s what’s allowed them to be good parents.  It’s called closure people.  And, as a friend/family member, it’s important that you value your family member/friend over your attachment to his/her ex and his/her family and friends.  That probably means doing a little de-friending.

I love Facebook; it’s allowed me to connect with so many people, find lost friends and make new friends. The ability for networking (as a teacher and musician) is amazing. I can post questions about anything and get such a variety of answers. I’ve been able to keep in touch with students, campers, and old friends from elementary school. The important thing to remember is this, “Social media is a relational tool, but it’s not a relational reality.”* Knowing that can keep your Facebook list in check, and keep you from being de-friended!

So, who have you de-friended?  Or, who has de-friended you?  Comment at the Speech Bubble at the top of the post!

 *http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/i-just-unfriended-my-friend/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+p31encouragement+%28P31+Encouragement+for+Today%29#sthash.9Jo173dH.dpuf

Still catching up- this is this past weeks post!

The summer is a natural time to reflect, and this month (August) has caused me to think and be challenged.  From watching the Bachelorette, to seeing love in action and a love so pure at two different weddings, to kayaking on the lake & sitting on the dock, to amazing just-because gifts, to new adventures, miscommunications with friends, acting silly (in both the fun and where- is –my- brain sense), and studying God’s word- I’ve learned a lot and been challenged by a lot.

I’m usually pretty candid in my posts, but I’m not overly personal with my experiences.  So this one is a little more honest, but I’m not going to go into too many details.  I’m sharing to hopefully challenge you as well, and a girls gotta keep some secrets!  😉

So, Seven Things I’ve Realized this August (LOL Life Lessons with Ms. B if you will)

One of the many people I'm blessed to have in my life

One of the many people I’m blessed to have in my life

1. I am so blessed to have such amazing friends and family.  I look at the key people in my life and I’m amazed at genuine, kind, caring, and honest people in my life.  These people I love immensely, and astonishing enough, they love me just as dearly.  Which amazes me, because I can be a handful.  There are too many people to name, and although I’ve spent time with a lot of them over the past few weeks, there are many more.  Thanks for putting up with me and making me feel loved.  I was also blessed to receive the kindest, most thoughtful and generous gift from a very special person.  It wasn’t just the gift (which is awesome by the way), but the symbolism behind it.  It’s hard living on your own sometimes, especially when you see all your friends getting married, and this person just got that.  Thank you.

Taking out the Trash freedigitalphotos.net

Taking out the Trash freedigitalphotos.net

2. Don’t Rationalize the Garbage in your Life- Get Rid of it!  Whether it’s a behaviour you have, how you interact/converse with someone, how you spend your time, your language, your attitude, whatever- don’t make excuses for it- just cleanse it from your life.  How often do we “explain” our behaviours and justify why we are doing something.  It’s crap.  Literally.  It doesn’t matter why you are doing it, or why your attitude is so trash.  It stinks and it needs to be kicked to the curb.  And, while you’re at it, delete a few facebook friends that suck, or cause you to suck as a person.  You’ll be amazed at how “sweet” your life is after.

Philippians 4:8 (NIV) Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is novle, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things 

Just call them up!  freedigitalphotos.com

Just call them up! freedigitalphotos.com

3. Communication is Key- How many times do I need to learn this lesson?  In all that you do, in all your interactions with people, it’s better just to communicate with them.  Otherwise, things just become a bigger issue than they need to be.  Honesty is always good, especially when things are hard and awkward.  I had a situation with a friend that I avoided for a while, and it was hilarious when we finally talked- all I could think about was, “why didn’t I do that from the beginning?”  It’s better for a moment or two of weirdness than a few weeks of awkward misreadings and misinterpretations.  I know, a lesson I should have learned in grade school- I’m still learning!

 

 

4. You’re not Awesome… yet!  I’ve been reading a book of Proverbs a day; it seemed like a good, practical book to talk some sense into me, and the last few days the idea of correction or discipline has come up.  This is a topic people don’t like, because we don’t like to change.  We have this, “love me as I am” or “I’m awesome” attitude which is bologna.  As humans, we aren’t awesome, we don’t have it all figured out.  There is always something we can learn, something we can change in our life to make us a better person.  We never achieve perfection: we can only strive for excellence.  For me, that excellence is found in Christ and his example, and I am far from perfection.  I like that I have friends who are honest with me and are willing to say, “I don’t like that answer,” or “you are being really dumb right now,” because that’s what friends do.  They challenge you to be the best you can be, and encourage you to grow in your relationship with Christ/your life.  When I looked up the words “discipline” and “correction” in the thesaurus the words, “education, development and improvement” all came up. I believe that in life we need to be educated, developed and improved through our relationships, our God, our life experiences and that’s a learning that is life long.  “If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.”  Proverbs 15:32 (NLT)

5. Love is More Than a Feeling- I’m reminded of that old DC Talk song “Luv is a Verb.”  Love is something you do, and not something you feel and I think society has confused this severely.  We think that if we feel love toward a person then we show love to them, and if our feelings change, then our actions are justified in changing as well.  People that is called ‘conditional love,’ meaning that you will love someone under the condition that you “feel like you love them.”  That’s crap- who wants that?  I have yet to hear someone say, “I can’t wait to find a partner who loves me conditionally…”  Love is a CHOICE. It’s something you choose to do, something you make a conscious effort to do.  Your feelings will change, because we are humans- and if you are like me, pathetically fickle! Make fun of my Bachelorette watching all you want, but I was impressed with Des’ choice.  Long story short, she had this mad “love feelings” for Brooks, but Chris was solid and true through the whole process.  A lot of people said she “settled” for him, but I think she made the right choice.  She looked at him and saw all the amazing qualities he had and, yes their love wasn’t this passionate, burning flame from the beginning, it was a slow and steady build and she CHOSE him.  And for that, I think they might have a chance.  Not to go on too much of a tangent, but what I would have picked in a partner when I was 20, is completely different from what I would pick now.  When I was 20, I was wrapped up in the emotions, in the twinkle dust if you will, where as now I know what I need in a partner and what God wants for me. Although I do think you need to feel a spark, I think love that lasts is love that is a daily choice and decision.  That’s commitment people.

Love is Patient

Love is Patient

6. Love is best when it’s pure and patient and led by God.  A couple of things reminded me of this.  My “big little sister” (she’s a girl who I used to babysit who is now way wiser than I!) got married and I am so happy for this union.  Here’s a couple who first of all loves God, and who have earnestly sought him out in their relationship.  The world would look at their relationship as weird; the physical aspect of their relationship didn’t develop pretty much at all until they were engaged, like not even kissing.  But, in talking with her about their relationship when it was developing, the peace she had about this budding romance was amazing.  The time they could have spent making out, they spent truly getting to know each other.  Dating for them was relaxed and natural- not stressful at all.  They were both waiting on God to see where He was leading them and I think that’s how it should be. Things may have moved slower than what society deemed as normal, but it was so clear on their wedding day that this is a special marriage that is true and pure.  It was one of those days that made my heart happy and hopeful.  A few days earlier, I was reminded of the verse in Song of Songs 2:7, “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.”  I’m bad at that; being patient is hard.  But I truly believe that when love is pure and led by God, love awakens at just the right time.

Peacefully Paddling

Peacefully Paddling

7. I’m in a Kayak- I’m at a place in my life where I really don’t know what ahead.  I’m in for an exciting new adventure with a new job, and a new city, but there are so many things in my life that are unknown.  But, I cannot tell you the peace that I have felt, even in these last few weeks about that.  I may not know my future, but I know who holds my future and that’s very comforting.  My life, especially lately has been a struggle with God for the driver’s seat.  I like to know what’s going to happen, where we are going. A friend told me this analogy when it comes to the dynamic between you and God and control of your life.  He probably articulated it way better, but there are three vessels you can be in when it comes to your relationship with God. First, a motorboat- fast, and you do all the driving, you know where you’re going and you stop at nothing to get there.  It’s all about you and the work you are doing and God’s not in it.  Second, you can be in a raft, where you lay there and “see where the wind takes you.”  You let God do all the leading and all the work.  This is a weinery approach to life and contrary to everything God would want (the amount of times I’ve seen ‘hard work’ in Proverbs these last few days…).  It’s lazy and no way to live.  Finally, you can be in a sailboat, or for my analogy a kayak.  You are working hard, (do I seriously have muscles there?), and there are times where the end seems so far, times when you don’t think you’re little arms will get you there, but you are working at moving that boat.  You can see in the distance the general area you are going to, but God won’t reveal the exact location or even more directions for the journey until you are a lot closer.  All you need to know is, head toward that bay over there. Things get clearer the closer you get.  You just have to trust and keep paddling.  Normally that would be scary, but for some reason I’m happy paddling and something about being on the water brings me peace.

So there you go- what I’ve learned this August.  I’m sure I’ll learn a lot more- there are still weeks ahead!  It’s long, but it’s been a challenging (but good!) month, and I wanted to share.

CLICK on the SPEECH BUBBLE at the top of this post and share some life lessons you’ve been learning!

Love Em

Looking back on my educational journey, I know I have been blessed with some amazing teachers along the way.  Teachers who have encouraged me, made me laugh, taught me things, challenged me, and took an interest in me and my success.  From singing “The Ants Go Marching” with Miss Appleyard, to watching “McGee and Me” with the Firminator, to sharing my love story with Jensen Ackles to Mrs. MacDougall in our Friday journals, or waiting for Mrs. Addis patiently along the wall (wait- was I on time?!)  in kindergarten, I have had some teachers who I have truly loved and I would say truly loved me (in the very teacher appropriate sense of the word).

In my daily life I remember lessons I was taught from my teachers: the way I stretch comes from watching Miss Sanford at every athletic event at Steele Street, and I wake up to Mrs. Graham’s voice every morning as I struggle to get out of bed: “When you wake up, get up, when you get up, wake up!”  The lessons I learned from my teachers goes far beyond the classroom (although they more than prepared me for high school and university- thank you!)

freedigitalphotos.net

freedigitalphotos.net

It is so cool to be able to look back at my teachers as a teacher.  I can see things in each one of them that I want to incorporate into my teaching practice, and I can hear little sayings, routines, even assignments and ways to connect with students from those who taught me in my teaching.  “Silence is a container in which music is placed,” Friday journals, and Greek Mythology (with a textbook my sister never returned to Miss Peck) are all things that are things I’ve learned from my educators. So, I probably have more than seven lessons here, but I’ll try and stick with to the rules.  And, I’ll try and make this not so philosophical and reflective- this is supposed to be a fun blog- it should be quirky, fun, and a little bit inspiring.

So without further adieu, Seven Lessons I learned about Teaching from My Teachers

 1. Get students to try new things- Mrs. Hyde   I don’t know how she did it, but our grade 1 teacher go us to eat and love Brussel Sprouts, a feat I’m sure our parents could only dream of achieving.  We were doing a vegetable unit, and she fed us these green delicacies- and I remember everyone mmmming and talking about how much they liked them. It must have been hilarious to see the parents reaction when we all went home asking for Brussel Sprouts.  My mom made them for me- they were not the same…   Students like the same old, the familiar and they are so apprehensive to try something new and I hope that I can figure out Mrs. Hyde’s secret recipe!

 2.  It’s okay to be weird- Mrs. Grandy.  Hands down the teacher that stands out the most to me was my Grade 6 and 7 teacher, Mrs. Grandy.  If you were in her class, other students were jealous.  I remember laughing a lot, and her really cool lace up boots.  Even her son, was okay being in her class (which is saying a lot!)  Anyway, Mrs. Grandy was weird and quirky.  She not only collected teddy bears, she was obsessed with them, and her teddy bear (pretty much her daughter) Charity, sat on her desk beside her. She’d talk and listen to it, and throw a fit if her beloved Charity was kidnapped.  That’s weird.  But totally wonderful.  Every teacher has to have “their thing.”  The eccentric and quirky teachers are totally the best and the most memorable.

 3. Be Passionate about Your Subject, and Teaching- Mr. Hand.  I never officially had Mr. Hand, but he taught my sister and roomed with my dad on our music trip.  Not only was he every girl’s crush (he was 23, baby faced and wore khaki pants and a sweater vest) but he was an amazing math teacher.  He loved math and it showed.  My sister told me once he got so excited that he had figured out his grocery bill down to the penny while waiting in the grocery line that he had to stop his lesson and tell the class.  That was like winning the lottery to him.  I ran into him recently, and he’s still in the same class, still super cute and excited about math.

 4.  Take Time to Add “Sizzle.”- Ms. Dinsmore  One of our service standards at Muskoka Woods was “Sizzle” which were those extra special, personal things you did for your campers to make their experience extraordinary.  Ms. Dinsmore inspired me in a lot of ways as a music teacher (and I hear her sarcasm come out every time I say, “uh, all the music professionals came out last night, and they devised this new concept- it’s called counting, let’s try it”).  But the one thing I’ll remember most is our trip to Disney, we were staying at the movie resort and next door there was the music resort with a pool shaped like a piano (seriously, how cool!) and I said how much I would love to swim in it.  Well, one night she gathered me and her daughters (and maybe one other kid) and took me all the way to the piano pool.  We were late for curfew, but I remember feeling so special; she had taken the time to add “sizzle” to my experience.  I hope I can do little things like that for my students.  (Although I don’t think we’re allowed to take them near water anymore… too many forms…)

 5. Take Each Student on the Next Step of their Journey Whatever that Is- Mr. Winfield.  Without a doubt, the most inspirational teacher I’ve worked with.  And this lesson is the reason why.  Mr. Winfield was an amazing musician, and he took us to some amazing musical places with some difficult and outstanding repertoire.  But, he wasn’t a teacher who was trying to make little Beethovens (or little Winfields) out of us.  He looked at where you were as a musician and made every effort to take you one step further.  For example, my last year of high school we had to sing a final solo, I wanted to do something cute and fun, but he handed me a Sonheim piece.  There was a guy in our class who wanted to be a folk singer and sing in pubs and so Mr. Winfield worked with him on “This Train Don’t Stop,” placing just as much value on it as my piece.  He worked with Mark at the piano every day, and Mark did an amazing job on his solo- and he is still singing to this day!  Also, my friend Lisa, was one of those sweet, quiet girls who just loved to be in choir, but wasn’t super comfortable singing a solo.  Mr. Winfield took her from singing a unison duet in grade 10, to a group number with solo lines that she sang with conviction and confidence.  All A+ performances in his mind.   I try and keep this in mind when teaching, where is the student at, and what can I do to get him/her to the next step.  Also, Mr. W’s rendition of “Great Balls of Fire” was legendary.  And don’t get me started on Gala.

6.  The “Non-Academic” Kids are just as, if not more, Rewarding to Teach -Mr. Welch Mr. Welch was THE OAC English teacher.  Students looked forward to getting to this course because, more than likely, you’d have Mr. Welch.  Not only would he do voices to Hamlet, he taught in a way that challenged you, and made you actually understand what you were reading.  He also solidly taught the basics, which helped me in my university English courses.  So, I was shocked when I got to work with him and he was teaching Grade 9 Applied English, and loving it!  How could this be?  He said, once he figured out how these kids learned, how they didn’t do homework, how they didn’t respond to marks and learning the way the academic kids did,  how they got bored with something after a while, he started to see amazing results and he actually preferred to teach that level.  I’ve taught a lot of 1P and workplace level courses since, and I know I wouldn’t enjoy them or be as successful at them if I hadn’t had a chance to work with Mr. Welch.

7.  Make Everyone Feel Special and Loved- Mrs. Addis  I asked my mom who my favourite teacher was and why and she said, without thinking, Mrs. Addis, my kindergarten teacher.  She said we would all line up early along the wall and wait for Mrs. Addis because we loved her and wanted to obey her instructions.  When I asked why we loved her, my mom said it must have been her quiet spirit and the love we knew we felt.  Wow.  Powerful Stuff.  That’s what I want to show my students and that’s how I want them to feel- loved and that they matter. Mrs. Addis was quiet and calm and not loud and flashy.  I’ve struggled as teacher, because I’m not that loud, funny and “cool” teacher that seems to win students over.  I’m more like Mrs. Addis, saying hi to as many students as I can in the hall, giving second chances, and asking students about their lives and their days.  And, talking to the quiet kids and trying to encourage them as much as possible- wait!  Lightbulb!  I was that quiet and shy kid (for those who know me now that would be sort of a shock, but I was painfully shy and quiet) and Mrs. Addis was that teacher who took an interest in me, and took the time to get to know me in her calm, kind way… Hmm.  I think I want to be like her more than anyone else.

Wow, this is long.  A few others (with no elaboration!)  Mrs. Appleyard- Things go better with a song,  Mrs. Ballad- Kindness goes a long way, Mrs. Firman- let students give you a nickname,  Mr. Brucker- even academic physics kids learn better if you do a crazy cool trick every day, Mrs. MacDougall- journals are an amazing way to dialogue with kids, and Mrs. Wormbecker- it’s not about being cool, its about being a good teacher!

CLICK on the SPEECH BUBBLE- what teachers do you remember and why?