This is my on my way in to MAELM…
I am a happily married 40 something year old 4th generation Anglo-Canadian working mother of two school aged girls. I have been teaching high school to adults at the Vancouver Board of Education since 1992. The VBE offers Adult Education courses leading high school graduation at all levels from basic literacy/numeracy to grade 12. My specialty is English, which I have taught at every level; but I have also taught Socials and Film Studies.
In my seven years of post-secondary education, I have acquired a BA in English, a Diploma of Canadian Studies, a Diploma of Education (Secondary, English), and a Diploma of Jewelry Art and Design. I have a proven track record as an engaging teacher, and I enjoyed five years of success designing, making and selling jewelry before returning to teaching full time while my husband upgraded his teaching credentials. Now it is my turn (again), and I have embarked on a Masters of Educational Leadership and Management at Royal Roads University. Although both my family and I are looking forward to having more time together when I complete this course in June 2014, I am enjoying every minute spent with my nose in a book or engaged in heady conversations about education improvement with my classmates, professors, and colleagues.
Both teaching and running a (very) small business demand leadership skills of engagement, organization, flexibility, communication, dedication, and vision. But both positions have the luxury of a high degree of autonomy because, as much as I value students and clients, ultimately I have only myself (and PLO’s) to answer to. This means that I am largely able to march to my own drummer. At RRU, I hope to refine my ability in leadership so that I can be less narrowly focussed on my specific and generally idealistic professional issues as I broaden and mature my scope of influence. In the words of Rumi,
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
This is me on my way out of MAELM…
I am still a happily married 4th generation Anglo-Canadian working mother of two school aged girls, but now I am an adult educator with a Masters! Admittedly, attention to my studies compromised my parenting, but it also inspired my daughters to deepen their engagement with learning. Last week, my younger daughter spontaneously made a research poster about fairies and then stood by it patiently waiting to engage unsuspecting passers-by with her talk about her recent research!
I feel like the same teacher I always was, but now I have a more conscious and confident understanding of why I teach the way I do. My studies have helped me develop my capacity to move forward in my practice. The most lasting lessons in this Masters have been my improved understanding of effective communication and the value of using data to measure success. I am also a stronger writer. I am excited to spend more time with my family and catch up on my hobbies, but I will miss the camaraderie of my fellow MAELMERs and the satisfaction that comes from being compelled to think deeply and respond thoroughly.
My major goal at this point is to continue to thrive and grow in my work. My concerns about cutbacks two years ago were justified, and adult education continues to suffer funding reductions. This spring more than half of my colleagues were laid off. Furthermore, the federal government has stopped funding ESL and soon will no longer support adult literacy initiatives. So far the provincial government has not agreed to offer funds to fill in the gaps left behind. These are very hard times for adult education in BC. I sincerely hope that the lessons of this Masters will prove of use to BC’s faltering adult education system.
Here is a picture of me as I write this last paper for RRU. I am at the pool watching my daughter train for a diving competition. I am engaged, learning, multitasking, comfortably overextended, and very content. The sunlight streaming through the door still beckons. As self-portraits go, this one is entirely accurate.