Thursday, November 26, 2009

On Assessment...

When I was offered the position of Kindergarten teacher, I was also asked to set my two orientation dates so that these dates could be given to the prospective families of four and five year olds. I asked my Board why two orientation days were imposed, with their response being a need to test for readiness. I was astonished and initially, did not react outwardly. I did, however, start to consider what would be the purpose of testing five year olds…

Why does a teacher test?

Teachers test for a variety of reasons, I have come to realize. Sometimes we feel that we are mandated to test and that we are ordered to use certain testing tools, guidelines and/or ways of communicating the results of those tests. At other times, we feel the need to move from one step with a child to the next and we know no other way of conducting this then using a form of testing.

Or do we?

Even though I did not answer my Board immediately, I did make an instant decision, that although I would happily run two days of Kindergarten Orientation, I would not be complying with formal testing. The only kind of assessing I would be conducting would surround prominent learning styles and emotional needs. I would be opening up a place for children to feel welcome, safe, engaged and in control of their own learning and hopefully they would feel as if they belonged not only in that place called Kindergarten but also with me.


Many interesting changes are occurring with regard to assessment. Be it authentic or otherwise. Thanks to Dean Shareski, the following is a link to Prairie South School Division in Saskatchewan and their current assessment directive -

Friday, October 16, 2009


“In my rear view mirror, my life is getting clearer” (Bon Jovi, 2007). Just as a mirror offers reflection, so too, does thought. Inspired by Alec Couros today, my mind flows to that of my teaching/learning life and trust…

What is it that causes me to have utmost trust in public education?

Is it because I believe that teaching is first and foremost a positive relationship building profession?

Is it because I have been trusted by so many and therefore feel that I can trust as well?

Or maybe it is, that deep at the core of my belief system sits a conviction that states what ever I put out in to this world will be mirrored back towards me?

I welcome your thoughts surrounding trust.


You can visit Alec at or have a look at what Jamie Vollmer says -

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

On Being Present…

It was 1966 when I began school - grade one. I sat at my desk, feet flat on the floor with my hands clasped atop my desk, anticipating school to be the most wonderful place in the whole world. School started the same way every morning. Along with the other children, the teacher would call out my name to which I was to reply, “Present”.

Many years later, as a teacher, I insisted that this practise be tossed by the wayside, thinking that it was archaic not to mention redundant - I knew who was there.

Now… I know its value.

Being present is what we are called to be. When we are truly present with the young people we spend our days with, we connect on deeper levels with respect for the beings before us and among us. We learn how they learn and they provide us with how we need to teach them.

I invite you to engage along with me on the how of being present – how is it that you ensure that you are present with your students?


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Inspired by...

After twenty-one years of being with youngsters almost every day, I took a hiatus and have been away from the classroom for two years while I embarked on a journey towards a Masters in Educational Leadership. This journey has taken me down some new personal and professional roads that I wasn’t expecting, but that I relish being able to wander along – sometimes with others… but often, by myself.

The other day, I spent a morning with some wee children - an activity that has been familiar to me for most of my life… and it was with those wee ones that I became inspired - again. On that particular day, I heard my calling, only this time it wasn’t a whisper but a shout and so it is with verve that I work with passion towards a new vision for the future of education, one that takes a positive leap forward, one that is filled with anticipation for a brighter present where we see the gift before us each and every day. The American No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation has negative implications, as does Failure is Not An Option - but… if we look at these two schemes and occupy ourselves in an initiative with the intent to view Education as a “hopeful activity” (Stang, 2008), we transform these ideas that have great potential.

With this, I encourage all Albertans to engage in an action, other than patience and attend at least one of the Inspiring Education gatherings that are roving their way through the province. More information can be found at -


Stang, E. (2009). Message from the superintendent. Retrieved August 10, 2008, from

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Invisible Leadership

“We’re here because we’re here, because we’re here because we’re here…” I first heard these words sung, by my brother, when I was a young girl. Any of you who came up through the Boy Scout movement, will recognize this questionable war chant as well. For the better part of my life, I have allowed those words to resonate throughout my being and as I reflect on my calling of teacher, I let those words fill every crack and crevice of who I am.

Each time I have been asked to mentor a new teacher, I have realized the importance of being an invisible leader – a designation that I have been inspired to consider from the expressions of Wayne Dyer. As a mentor, it is not about my journey any longer but about the new teacher’s calling to this role of leadership. If I can take a step sideways, guide without judgment and let that person find their way on the path successfully - and then just disappear, I feel I have done my job. This is but one of my purposes on this earth at this time, and why I am here…