The Gift of Learning
Teachers wear many hats and parents wear many hats, too. What is becoming more and more obvious to me as my children go through school is that being a teacher and a parent comes with many challenges. I’ve written about some of these challenges in the past, which range from giving my all at work to my students and not having much left to give my own boys when I get home, all the way to feeling very frustrated with the education that my own children are getting while I pour my heart into making sure that my students receive an innovative education. The struggle is real. Here is an excerpt from a previous blog post:
I often find myself frustrated with the education that my own boys are receiving. Although they are loved and feel safe at school (and for the most part, enjoy going to school – but I’m noticing a shift in this regards with my 8 year old this year, so so sad!!), they are struck in a very traditional setting. This weekend, my perception changed a little. Instead of being frustrated and wondering why these teachers aren’t doing the innovative things that I see are making a huge difference in the way students learn, I began to wonder how I could help them learn what they don’t know. How can I plant seeds of wonder and build their passion for the possibilities that exist out there if they’re open to exploring them?
My oldest is now in third grade, meaning he’s in his fourth year in the education system. My second is in grade 1 (my favourite grade – the one I teach), and my twins will be starting their journey in Kindergarten next year. I still have many, many years of struggle as a parent-who’s-also-a-teacher ahead of me.
I began to rack my brain to try to come up with ideas to help propel my boys’ teachers forward, and not just their current teachers, but all educators in that school. I realized that my current approach wasn’t leading to substantial change. Up until this point, I loved when the holiday season approached, or the end of the year, so that my boys could gift their teachers educational books that I found incredibly inspiring. It was a start, but it wasn’t enough. But what else could I do? I certainly didn’t want to overstep or be seen as someone who thinks she’s superior. I honestly just wanted to help but I didn’t know how! I needed a chance to share my journey and my passion for innovation in education with them, a chance to talk to them and tell them about the growth I’ve experienced in the last 2 and a half years and how I am constantly learning and tweaking. Then one night, I came across a tweet by Kristen Nan who shared a picture of the lending library she had started at her school. This idea wasn’t new to me, but I had never considered it as a PD idea. That inspiration was all I needed to get the ball rolling and create a truly incredible gift… the gift of learning.
Thanks to the amazingly kind, supportive, and generous Dave Burgess Consulting Inc. community, and some help from my boys’ school parent committee, I was able to round up a whopping 33 books to start the “Chariot Biblio” (Library a Go Go) at École Lacerte. Many authors even took the time to sign their books and write an inspiring message to the staff inside before shipping them off to me. Tears of joy filled my eyes as these books started arriving in my mailbox. I poured my heart into this project and I finally got the opportunity to go and present it to the staff this past Wednesday during their staff meeting. I didn’t have much time to speak to them, but I had enough time to talk to them about my journey and how DBC books and being a connected educator changed everything for me. I talked about some of my favourite books and how there is something for everyone in their line of books, regardless of where they are in their learning. I emphasized how DBC books aren’t like typical education books that are dry and impossible to get through. DBC books are so easy to read because they are woven with personal stories, practical examples, and pirate treasures that push our thinking. Whenever I stop to really think about all that Dave and Shelley Burgess have built, along with their inspiring authors and community members, I am overcome with gratitude for all that they, you, we have done and continue to do for education. I ended my little speech saying that I hoped that these books would inspire them and help them grow as much as they did for me.
After many thanks and a round of applause, I left the meeting and rolled the book cart over into the staff room. A few minutes later, their meeting finished and a few teachers came into the staff room to thank me again for this beautiful gift. I got the chance to chat with a few teachers individually, and talk to them about books I thought might be right up their alley. The feedback I received was so positive, and I CANNOT wait to see what happens when they start reading and sharing how these books are pushing their thinking and improving their practice in order to better serve their learners.
Change cannot be forced. Change has to come from within. I hope, with this lending library, that I helped to inspire change.
A very special thanks to Dave & Shelley Burgess, and Wendy Van Dyk (from the DBC team), George & Paige Couros (from the IMpress team), as well as all of the authors who generously sent me books to add to this library. Without your support, this library wouldn’t have come together so fast and so full of incredible titles! Thank you, I am beyond grateful for your help!