Monday, April 27, 2015

Are you where you thought you would be?

Nothing like starting off the month with a fastball right down the middle of the plate!

I don't know if I am where I thought I would be.  I mean, I'm currently on mat leave with #TeamOlivier so to say that I am where I thought I would be in that respect the answer would be yes.  I always knew I wanted to have a family and with more than one child.  That's where I am at now.

Professionally, I think I am ahead of where I always thought I would be.  I never imagined only supply teaching for one day before getting a long term replacement placement that would lead to a permanent contract opportunity.  Thus, all within 1 year.  Yes, I have worked hard and put lots of time into furthering my professional understanding, but I think it has paid off multi-fold.

When I look at the opportunities I have been given to further myself professionally, I sometimes think that I am ahead of my time.  I have only been in the profession 4 years, but been granted the chance to attend professional development sessions and presentations that have benefitted my teaching enormously.  I get giddy sometimes thinking of the opportunities that I have had (especially in the last 2 years) and who else has been in the PD with me and their average age or teaching experience (by far I have been the youngest).

Although I think I am where I want to be professionally and personally, I am not happy to stay status quo.  I am always looking for the latest workshop, seminar, webcast or book to help advance my understandings and ability to deliver the best program possible to my students.  Teaching is not my first career and one main reason I get into teaching was for the constant, every day challenge it brings.  No two days, two lessons or two classes are ever alike and that makes me thrive.  The challenge keeps the fire burning inside to want more.

Sunshine & happiness today & forever.

Stephanie :)

Friday, April 24, 2015


I'm a little late to the game (yes, I know it's April 24th!), but I haven't had an uninterrupted time to sit down and write or I just haven't been in the mood to do so.

As most of you know I am quite active on Twitter both personally and professionally.  I spend a lot of time each day (mostly while feeding or rocking babies) scrolling through the posts and articles online.  Over the last 4 years I have certainly learnt a lot, and reflected even more.  I have found my favourite, go-to posters for when I'm looking for a good laugh, support or to add something meaningful to my day.  Around the second week of this month I was reading a variety of posts and came across the hash tag #AprilBlogADay.  I was instantly curious and had to look it up.  I will confess I haven't had time to read any of the posts any of the participants have made, but I'm more wanting to get my own writing into a routine.

So here's to me catching up on the #AprilBlogADay group.  Please bear with me as I post once, twice or maybe not at all over the next few days.  I'm hoping there's a #MayBlogADay group starting up so that I can give it an honest shot to stay on target each day.

Sunshine & happiness today & forever.

Stephanie :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Boy vs Girl Toys. Does that still exist?

Today I experienced something for the first time that I wasn't quite prepared for that has left me with a few reactions.  It was a rainy, messy day out today so I packed the kids and some snacks up and headed off to the closest Chapters Indigo bookstore.  I have had a handful of gift cards from students sitting in the every trusty top drawer of my bedside table that I thought today was a good day to put them to good investment.  I have been taking note of the newest and trendiest books that have come out and making notes from what other teachers are doing as they post on their Twitter feeds or blogs.
With my list in hand, and two kids in tow we set off for a book adventure.  We were greeted by a few cheerful Chapters employees, who engaged #TeamAmelie in a one way conversation and found our way to the kids section.  #TeamAmelie wasn't short of excitement pointing out her favourite characters on the banners that welcomed us to the kids section, knowing pretty much all of them and turning the few heads of customers in ear shot.  We walked aisle by aisle picking up books, talking about the covers and what we thought and shortly were joined by a young employee who was helping what appeared to be a grandmother and her grandson find the Robert Munch section.  She eagerly pointed out the customer favourites, the newest stories and asked if there was one in particular they were looking for.  The grandmother responded that they had a few already and prompted her grandson to choose a book that he'd like.  This is where things went off the rails.

I am not sure exactly what book the little boy pulled off the shelf after a minute or so of looking, but the grandmother certainly didn't approve when she said, "that book is for girls, not for you." I was shocked...stunned...and just as heartbroken as the little boy was who now didn't have the book he carefully picked out.  The young employee fell silent and slowly slipped away from the grandmother and little boy.  I couldn't believe my ears.  My first reaction was to post on Twitter what I had just heard to see what kind of reaction others would have had. How could someone say this to a young child? She prompted him to choose a book from that section? How can there be a "boy book" and a "girl book" and why can't the opposite gender read them?

As a parent, I am of the firm belief that my children can play with and read anything they want, regardless of what gender it is marketed towards.  #TeamAmelie LOVES playing with her Hotwheel cards and trucks and tractors as much as she loves her Minnie Mouse and baby dolls.  We read any book that she grabs for off the bookshelf whether it is about princesses or hockey players.  Don't get me wrong, #TeamAmelie also loves the colours pink and purple, but she will not grow up with the understanding that she can't do or read something because she is a girl and it may be for a boy.

As a teacher, I am reflecting on how I present materials that I use to teach with.  Do I show a gender specificity or target? I chatted with a few colleagues tonight over my experience (they were appalled as well!), and asked how I/we could do a better job at changing the thinking or stereotype of gender specific toys/books.  I am also hurt that this young boy was engaged in a bookstore, excited to get to choose a book (that he may or may not know how to read on his own), and engage in literature to better himself going forward for it to be snatched away from him because of what may be tagged as "the old way of thinking".  As a teacher, I see the struggle we all face as educators to get boys to read and to enjoy engaging with the material.  Could this be the reason why? It certainly doesn't help.

So my questions to you are: does there still exist a gender division in toys/books on behalf of the consumer? How can we as educators help erase this figment of our imagination so that everyone can enjoy toys/books without thinking if they are for them or not? How do we present materials in order for our students and their parents to understand that there is no gender division?

I leave you with those thoughts and reflections & would love to hear your responses.  Until then, I'm off to tidy up Hotwheel cars and Minnie Mouse's clothes that #TeamAmelie blasted around the living room tonight.

Sunshine & happiness today & forever.

Stephanie :)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Homecoming of Sorts

Yesterday was a typical Saturday with DH gone running the roads to the multitude of hockey tournaments and #TeamOlivier up at the crack of dawn.  The weather has FINALLY turned nice out so going to the park is more than just something to do in a few months.  This morning we were going to the park! As crazy as it might sound, I found the perfect moment to jump in the shower to get ready for the big outing, got everything & everyone lined up to walk out the door and it star to rain.  It's a good thing I didn't pre-warn #TeamAmelie that we were going to the park when I got her dressed because there would have been water falling from more than the sky. Let's pretend the plan is going as it should & pack everyone up in the truck for a road trip.  I knew that my mom was at a trade show of sorts so why not go check it out. #TeamOlivier slept the whole way there while #TeamAmelie sang me endless renditions of The Wheels on the Bus...this is going not too bad so far!

The trade show being in my hometown of which is fairly small I was prepared to know a few people, but I wasn't prepared for it to be like old homecoming week.  I felt like I knew every second person (good and bad)! It was great to see people that I haven't seen in YEARS and some decades ago.  I ran into an old elementary school classmate that I haven't seen in almost 20 years and we picked up like it had been mere months.  He has got two beautiful children himself (two girls) and a very energetic wife.  We chatted as long as our little people would let us and vowed to take care.  As I continued around the show I chatted with people from when I was younger, friends of my parents and anyone who gave compliments to #TeamAmelie and #TeamOlivier.  These encounters made me feel a little nostalgic and miss my hometown and wonder what people from my childhood were up too.  On my drive home (both kids sleeping because it was our normal nap time), I could help but think how cool it would be to have a class reunion soon since it would be 20 years next June that we all went to school together.  I don't know how we could pull it off...I'm not friends on Facebook with any of my classmates from elementary school and maybe I'm the only one curious about what everyone else is up to.

Until I can decide if it's something I want to try and coordinate, I am so happy I took the drive yesterday and ran into an old classmate.  Wish our children could have grown up together just like we did all those years ago!

Sunshine & happiness today & forever.

Stephanie :)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ahhhh...Life has Changed!

Life. Has. Changed! 3 simple words that when put together in the same sentence have me shaking my head and wondering what I have got myself into!  Back in January I made my resolution to take the time to write a few times a week, however I didn't realize how life would change a few short weeks later!

Our family has grown by one, in welcoming #TeamOlivier to the clan and needless to say life as we knew it before is long gone.  We are over joyed now that he is here, but his non-sleeping routine and the constant need to be held has put me back.  When #TeamAmelie was born, she was the constant sleeper and amazing traveller that I didn't quite have to slow down at all.  Granted, I now have a 2 year old and a new born, but #TeamOlivier certainly doesn't have the same sleep patterns as the rest of the world.  He is also a grazer when he eats, so it feels like I am constantly feeding him and that he can never get enough.  Regardless, this little character is filling our hearts and our home with so much fun.

I have been making a list of posts and updates I need to get writing, so hopefully I'll be able to get back on top of things very shortly.

Until then, melt with these two little faces!

Sunshine & happiness today & everyday!

Stephanie :)