Connect. Collaborate. Risk. Innovate.

Connect. Collaborate. Risk. Innovate.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Our Stories Are Important

Our stories are important. They form the essence of who we are, and of who we hope to become. And it is through sharing our stories that we learn, we connect and we grow. In fact, I would suggest that it's through stories that we learn best.

This past weekend, I had the remarkable privilege of being able to share a little of my story with an incredibly receptive and warm group of individuals at TEDxWestVancouverED. The opportunity to share my voice, my story, with others was an amazingly empowering experience- a privilege in every sense of the word.

But in the midst of this amazing experience, I couldn't help but think of those individuals in my school community who might not have an opportunity to be heard, whose voices are marginalized or stifled. I thought of the students who struggle with mental health issues, students whose voices might be silenced by overwhelming fear and anxiety. I thought of the families for whom schools can be an intimidating place, perhaps associated with unpleasant memories or experiences.

And so I am mindful of my privileged position- not only do I have an opportunity to share my story, but I have the responsibility, the privilege, to help empower others to share theirs as well...

Photo courtesy of  Rose Pillay

Friday, 4 September 2015

You Will Find Your Way

Perhaps even more so than in previous years, I am eagerly anticipating the first day of school. But moving into a new role, a new school and a new district has also given me cause to reflect on the apprehension that some of our students experience as they approach the start of the school year. For many students, this is a time of rekindled friendships, shiny new school supplies and endless possibilities. But for others, "back to school" is associated with an overwhelming sense of anxiety, even dread. My own struggles in school have provided me with some invaluable insights into this other side of "back to school"... 

And so, if I could speak directly to those students, here is what I would say...

Schools can be rough. They can be filled with unknowns and uncertainties. You will have to navigate unfamiliar hallways, ambiguous rules, challenging courses and occasionally unkind classmates. You will feel overwhelmed at times, even angry or scared. You will struggle. You might even fail. But you will find your way. Maybe on your own, or maybe with some help. And your way might look just a little bit different than everyone else's. But that's ok. Because everyone's journey is unique. And there is no one right way. There is just your way. And I will do my very best to help you find it. 
And so as we embark on the start of a new school year, I am confident that my colleagues will join me in supporting all of our students as they walk through the front doors of our schools, and into our classrooms. Because it is our responsibility, our privilege, to help them find their way.