Thursday 27 August 2020

Return to School: Thoughts from a Parent, Teacher and Community Member & 1st Day of School Jumpsuit

 I am sitting here in the early hours what is officially the first day of school for staff and students.  As part of an admin team we've been in schools already looking over the documents, immersed in conversations, planning, re-evaluating our school processes and thinking about our staff and  communities.  This year the traditional  "back to school" looks and feels different.  There is still an excitement in seeing my colleagues, meeting my students, and thinking about all the possibilities.  But there is no denying that it's also laced with worry, angst, trepidation.  People have been asking me how I feel about the return to school.  I've chosen mostly not get into the details on social media because it's hard to be clear and difficult to not be mis-understood, but I'll try to take a stab at it.  
  • Grateful  and excited that I am going back.  Honestly, although I think online was a great alternative and I gained a lot of new skills, I love being with my humans.  Big and small, tough and easy, children are just my jam.  If I've discovered anything in the past year it's that I still get so much joy from teaching in the classroom.  
  • Keeping judgement at bay and checking myself.  Parents need to make the best decision possible for their own families.  We are all working from a place of some knowledge, limited information, anxiety and fear.  We don't know how it's going to work out and that's scary.  I trust that parents are experts on their own families and they will choose an option that is best for them for the right now.  Thankfully we here have the option to go in person, have a teacher online, or in some cases home school.  The decision  we make right now is not forever and we can all change our minds if need be.
  • My kids need school and their friends.  Education is more than academics.  It's connection.  It's social education.  It's citizen education.  It's learning that you have blind spots and biases.  It's looking at the same thing from multiple angles.  My children need this.  Right now our province has relatively low numbers, around five a day for the past few weeks, with outbreaks here and there that have been dealt with in a fairly organized manner.  After weighing the risks vs. alternatives we've decided at this point the risk is worth taking.  Just for the record we do in fact have immune-compromised family that we had to consider in this decision.  My husband and I both work and online schooling just doesn't seem like the right choice for us or the children right now.  This doesn't have to be our choice forever.  It's our choice for now and we feel very confident with the plan schools are putting together.  We will watch and reevaluate as needed.
  • Funding.  I can't say that the government doesn't have lots of holes in their plan.  I also don't want to get into a debate about it to be honest.  It's exhaustive and somewhat unproductive.  I'll say this.  I wasn't surprised by the lack of planning and actual input into the education plan.  Our government doesn't put education first and as far as I am concerned that's old news.  We, the public, can fix this with  the way we vote.  We don't necessarily even have to jump ship and change our vote, but we can demand that education, class sizes, supports and optimized learning for our children be part of their platforms with clear deliverables and not wishy-washy language.  We have a right as tax payers to say this is important and this is what we want to see our money invested in.  Honestly, if you don't want them to spend more of our money on education, I am not sure you have a right to complain about the current state of things.  That sounds really harsh but we can't change how classrooms and children are supported without addressing class size and complex classroom needs. 
  • Promise.  With 1000% certainty, I know that we at school will do our  absolute best to keep your children safe.  To love them.  To provide them social and educational opportunities in a new way.   To lower their anxiety and yours.  Just because our doors aren't as open physically,  we are still here to support you.  Write us an email.  Send us a note.  Call us.  We still want to hear from you and we still want to work with you for your children.  We will succeed and struggle with them. 

And so on my first day off work, I am excited to see my staff.  I am excited to hear their summer stories.  I am ready to hear their anxieties.  I am ready to be part of the solution.  I am ready to take lean into our current reality. I am ready to gain new skills.  I am going to try to lean into the unknown so that new learning opportunities can come into my view.  

Tell me how you are feeling.  Our feelings might be different.  That's okay.  Tell me your story so I can listen and learn and reflect.  There is no right answer, just the right answer for you and your family.  

On another note, since it is my Friday fashion post, this jumpsuit was a Winners purchase in July and I immediately knew I would be wearing it on the first day of school.  If it's hot, then the sleeveless look is perfect,  and if it's chilly, I have my trusted denim jacket  to throw over.  Some things even COVID can't change, and that's the excitement of picking out the first day of school outfit!  Make sure to follow me on IG to see all my outfits from the first week of school. 

Thursday 20 August 2020

Summer Reading List

I love to read.  In elementary school when we were coming up for alliterations for each of our names my class agreed that "Bookworm Bojana" was the perfect name.  Over the years my reading has evolved and ebbed and flowed.  One of my goals the last few years was to read one book per month that was not teaching related.  I have a book club that meets every second month and I prefer it that was because then I get to choose my own book and also have a book to discuss with other.  We also take the summer months off and this year I had a stack of books waiting for me thanks to wonderful friends who have been exchanging books through our lock-down time.  Here is what I read over the summer.  

★★★★ Untamed by Glennon Dyole
My girlfriend dropped this book off in my mailbox right after we went into lock down.  She left a note saying that she felt this was the book for me!  She was RIGHT!  I found this book insightful, forthcoming, honest, reflective and funny as can be.  Now as I return to work I keep telling myself I can do HARD things.  Glennon explores her emotions, her growth and development and realizations in an honest, insightful and often  funny ways.  Is it self help?  I don't think so.  For me its more affirmations.  Realizations that we all have stories.  We all have discoveries.  We all have truths we can acknowledged or not.  Loved it!


★★★★★ Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand
I am giving this 5 stars because in terms of a beach read it was exactly what I expect form a beach read.  It was sweet, a little predictable but not in a way that doesn't want to make you keep reading, it had love stories that were complex and yet simple, and it was set on Nantucket.  I found this book in one of those little libraries at our lake while on a walk and it gave me so much joy to read on the beach.

★★★★★  Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
I had no intention of reading this book.  Honestly the title and the cover seemed borrowing to me.  It looked like a heavy book and summer time is usually for lighter reads in my world.  But this book was brought over by a friend and she highly recommended it!.  READ IT!  It's poetic at times,  it's inspiring, and heart wrenching.  It follows a young girl, abandon to survive in the marsh and to learn how to integrate with society just so she can survive.  There is a a look a how humans judge and these judgments prevent us from getting to know a person or helping them when we know they are in need.  It's also a page turner as a criminal trial unfolds and a side love story unfolds in different and more subtle ways than we are used to as readers.  Also, my husband read it and thought it was also very good!

★★★★ Kids These Days by Jody Carrington
This was a book for work, but it doubled up a book that I  also found insightful as a mom, teacher, administrator and member of society.  Jody is a trained psychologist that helps us understand and implores us to make connections with the children in our lives that are the hardest to love.  She explores how connection and relationship is a key ingredient to not only managing children we have in schools, but getting to know them and helping them when they are struggling to regulate themselves.  Overall good message, nothing extremely new and profound but also an important reminder how not to slip back into some of our old habits that are built on institutions and business model, rather than a human connection.  

★★★1/2  California Girls by Susan Mallery
Okay this book was good.  It was a good, easy, beach read.  It wasn't a book that I had to keep reading.  It followed three sisters and their lives at different intervals, one sisters marriage is falling apart, one is becoming a surrogate, and one is rediscovering her own self-worth and love after a break -up.  The only sister's story I was really into was the last one, although, I liked the way it followed all three.  If you come across it in the library, or a friend has it, or it's free, I would pick it up for an easy read but I wouldn't necessarily spend $$ on it.

What are you reading currently?  What should I add to my my "must read" list?

Thursday 13 August 2020

Summer Uniform to Office Style: The Graphic Tee

And just like that summer vacay has come to an end.  Of course, I am sad but I am also ready to get back to trying to figure out our new normal for the fall.  Yes, my kids are going back to school, and I am heading back into the classroom.  I am trying to stay calm, positive, and unattached to any one way of doing things.  This year is about flexibility, change and choosing to be open to new opportunities and ways of doing things.  I know it’s not going to be probably my best year of teaching.  I know I will stumble, feel exhausted, frustrated, and scared.  I also know that I am going to SHOW UP.  I am going to show up for my staff, community, families, and students.  I am going to try to keep us healthy, while also maintaining best practice in the parameters that this pandemic has placed around our way of life.  I am going to try to preserver, while also leaning on my staff and family for support.  I want to set a good example for my girls to be open to new ways of doing things and trying to lean into the uncomfortable of the unknown.  I am choosing to be respectful of other people’s decisions regarding schooling and parenting.  We are trying to do what we feel is best in a time where there are few conclusive answers and many uncertainties.

Now, on to my outfit.  The graphic tee this summer has been so popular with many age groups.  I borrow this one frequently from my teens closet and it seems appropriate since she knows nothing of the Rolling Stones or the Beetles for that matter, and I do.  An oversize graphic tee paired with jean cut offs is just the easiest summer combo out there.  Beach.  Food truck.  Outdoor concert (socially distanced).  Farmers market.  Walk with the pups.  Works all around!  But this can also work as a casual Friday office look.  Pair it up with a blazer, pair of heels, small stud earrings and a coffee to go and your office look is complete. 
What summer outfits will you be transiting to work attire? 


Shop This Post:
Graphic Tee (Rolling Stones sold out: Beetles)
H & M Blazer (similar)