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“Ancient Lessons from Japan and Beyond”

More than a decade ago I set off on a adventure of a lifetime not knowing much about the culture, language and history of the place I was going to. I had been inspired by one of my best friends who had hand written letters to me on delicate pieces of stationary, decorated with things like ancient images of Japan and cherry blossoms. The letters were filled with details about her journey of self...

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“Christopher Astacio”

Mentor Monday <3 I have the pleasure of introducing a deeply inspiring teacher named Christopher Astacio. I first saw him on Ellen talking about his incredible teaching and his coaching of the "Lady Tigers" softball team. I was so inspired I reached out to him and he generously agreed to do this interview. His words and experiences are humbling, inspiring and beautiful. You can check out mor...

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“HELLO”

“Can you hear me, I’m in California dreaming about who we use to be….” Ok, just kidding:) I am not going to to sing to you the whole Adele song… But in all seriousness, how we say hello and greet someone matters! If we are smiling, have a welcoming energy, are friendly and consciously inclusive it can shift a whole experience for another person. It can make them feel happy, safe, relaxed an...

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Anthony Mclean

What a treat to introduce a new friend, mentor, YouTuber, public speaker, rapper, human extrodinar: Anthony Mclean. His interview is epically inspiring. I am so grateful our paths have crossed. Check out his amazing perspective and inspiring words <3 Anthony McLean Speaker. Rapper. YouTuber. 1) What/who inspired you to be a teacher/educator? I stumbled into this work through bei...

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Lovisa Fung

Mentorship Mondays: Name: Lovisa Fung Role: currently doctoral candidate in education and field placement consultant/mentor for Master of Arts in Child Study and Education program at OISE. Taught elementary grades ranging from preschool to Grade 8 for five years. 1) What/who inspired you to be a teacher/educator? I will share a personal story here to illustrate how powerful and ins...

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” The Blue Dress & The Warrior Spirit”

When I was in grade 9 I started taking the school bus to and from high school. This became one of the most challenging experiences of my life. There was a tall, big guy (picture a hockey player) who was in the same grade as me. He had begun bullying me in middle school in grade 8. Everyday I would walk home and he and his friend would walk behind me, intimidate me and call me all sorts of awful...

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“Fuzzy Stickers, Social Anxiety and “New Stories”!”

When I was in grade three I was best friends with two girls. We formed our own friendship clique and were constantly doing things together. The dynamics was challenging for me because I often felt like I was the odd out. Sometimes my two best friends did things that did not include me but I desperately wanted to be included. At times I was but it always felt uncertain, like I was walking on th...

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“Mop Hair”

When I was a child in grade one, I was playing with another little girl at recess one day. She had similar hair to me, super curly and wild. Both of us had different hair than the other girls in our class. They all had shiny straight hair tucked neatly into pony tails with cute ribbons. All of a sudden, out of the blue she turned to me, with venom in her eyes and said “Your hair looks like...

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“A Balloon For You!”

I was going to meet the kindergarten class I would be teaching in the afternoon one day as I had been teaching another class in the morning. As a supply teacher sometimes we cover various classes within the day. I tried to open the classroom door but it appeared there was a cabinet against it, blocking the entrance. I could see the children’s lunchroom supervisor through the window and she ...

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Four Leaf Clovers, A Dream Team & The Dry Diaper Club!!!

When I think of the kind of teachers I love collaborating with, they always embody the same qualities: compassion, kindness, creativity, a sense of humour, and an ability to go with the flow. They are able to set clear boundaries and be firm when needed but use this as a last resource in how they relate the children. Their “go to” is being playful, kind, and respectful with the little huma...

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“A Little Big Secret”

I was at a school one day and it was their “Gender Celebration Week”. It makes me so happy to witness the education system moving towards being more inclusive for all children, for all forms of expression and all lives! It means we are embracing humanity in a bigger way and making schools safer environments. I am grateful to be a part of this movement towards compassion and inclusion! I was ...

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“The Beauty of Sensitivity”

“YOU”RE TOO SENSITIVE!!!!” I often heard these were words growing up, but what does that actually mean? What is “too sensitive” and who determines this? As I was growing up I tried hard not to “feel” so much, to feel so deeply. I tried to change myself, to grow a thicker skin so I could “fit in” with (supposedly) everyone else, but I never could get rid of my sensitivity. I knew deep down t...

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“The Healing Powers of Kindergarten”

A few years ago I watched a show about the people who live the longest in the world from Okinawa Japan. When they these people asked what their secret to longevity and happiness was, they answered “placing importance on living a balanced life of hard work, play, relaxation and being in nature. However one of the things that is most important is having a deep sense of purpose. We feel this by ta...

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“Ribbon”

I was in a grade two class one day and there was a little girl with an “artsy” hair cut which was similar to mine, which was shaved on one side. I am a big believer in sharing compliments, as often we think nice things in our heads but don’t share them. Saying something kind can totally make someones day and it also is a great way to easily connect with students. So later in the day, during...

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“Divorce, Change and Death”

Many years ago I worked at a sleep over camp for the summer and it was a great experience. I was paired with a wonderfully bright, creative, funny, kind and spunky co-counsellor named Lindsey. We were instantly friends and shared many common interests such as dance, creativity, art, working with children and most importantly a love for sparkles! We talked a lot about what kind of summer we want...

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“Our Greatest Challenges Are Our Greatest Fuel!”

I was teaching a grade six special education class one day. I introduced myself and said “Hi everyone, nice to meet you. I want to share with your class that I understand what it is like to be different. As a child, school was pretty challenging for me, especially in math. I have a “learning disability” but was not officially diagnosed with it until my second university degree! In school I had ...

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A safety plan, a bag of cookies and a great day!

Teaching Tuesday: I was at a new school and as soon as I arrived I was informed that there was a child who had a safety plan in place. It was explained to me that he could become quite aggressive at times and I should call the office immediately if I needed assistance. I was a bit nervous as I was not sure what to expect. When I entered the classroom immediately this bubbly, blond haired,...

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“In Honour Of Black History Month”

The classroom is like a mini world. If we can create a harmonious environment there, then this can ripple out into the world. Although I do not understand first hand what it is like to be a person of colour, I always want to be the best ally I can be. As a teacher, to me this means bringing injustices out into the open so we can truly look at the impact they have. We need to learn from the m...

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“A Cupcake, A Party Assistant and Diabetes”

Teaching Tuesday: A few year ago I was teaching a grade one class and one of the children had a birthday that day. The teacher said the parents of that child had brought in some special treats . She asked me to run the birthday party later that day. I said “sure” and was left with a huge supply of candies, cookies, cakes and chocolates to give out to the kids. She also told me that another l...

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“Choose Love, Choose Compassion, Choose Acceptance!”

Teaching Tuesday: "Choose Love, Choose Compassion, Choose Acceptance!" In honour of Valentines Day and the mission of working towards a more loving world, this blog post felt perfectly aligned! I met Chris Studor, his huge curls and inspiring charisma two summers ago at Pride Toronto. It was raining that year but none the less I felt there was a “reason” I was dragging myself out in ...

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“The Faces Of Humanity”

Teaching Tuesday: "The Faces Of Humanity" A friend recently said to me that with everything going on in the world right now it makes her even more committed to doing good wherever and whenever she can. I feel the exact same way. There is too much good in the world to turn our backs on ones another, however there is also much work to be done! My “inner child” has never understood how ...

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“The bathroom question”

Teaching Tuesday: “The bathroom question” With everything going on in the world I am thinking more and more about how to be empathetic and compassionate in as many areas of my life as possible. To be conscious of how I use my power and critically reflect on ways I can open my heart more. These are daily practices. Moment to moment and situation to situation. Many years ago, when I was...

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“The Dance of Bravery”

Teaching Tuesday: "The Dance of Bravery" I was finished teaching for the day and went to get into my car in the school parking lot (the designs for each lot is different from school to school). For this particular one, the parking lot had a wire gate you could see into the playground but divided the two spaces. As I sat in my car, warming up from the winter outside and getting ready t...

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“Grieving Together As A Grade 4 Community”

It seems as though recently there has been a lot of death in my circle of friends, in the greater communities and in the world at large. In honour of the people who have lost parents, children, siblings, grandparents, family members, partners, beloved pets, leaders and role models, this blog is dedicated to you. May you find comfort in the love you have around you, may you ask for what you need...

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“Truly Beautiful”

Teaching Tuesday: "Truly Beautiful" I was reading a book to my grade one class about a girl who was called “ugly” at school. Bullying is a topic that has always been close to my heart because of my own childhood and also from what I have witnessed in my career as a teacher. It is one of the most important lessons we can teach our children about. Too often we see people labelled as “ba...

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“Testing Testing””

Teaching Tuesday: "Testing Testing"" It was the 90’s. I was in grade seven. My teacher had just handed us back one of our tests. I was sitting beside my friend and instinctively turned to look at her and knew she was upset. Her eyes well up with tears. I wasn’t sure why because when I glanced at her test I saw the letter “B” on it. I looked down at my own test which had a “C +” . I fe...

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“The Lesson My Students Taught Me About Flow!”

Teaching Tuesday "The Lesson My Students Taught Me About Flow!" When I lived in Japan a decade ago it was a wonderful experience! I taught English at a school that had students of all ages. Learning English gives Japanese people a competitive edge in the job market. Parents therefore wanted to start their children’s English education at an early age. When I heard that some Japanese pare...

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“WE CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!”

Teaching Tuesday: "WE CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!" I was teaching in a new class when I asked a question to a student and she was barely audible in her response. I could feel the tenderness of her spirit and wondered what in her life had made her so quiet. Regardless of the reason, I knew my role as a teacher was to create an inclusive environment where all students feel emotionally safe. A commun...

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“The Bag Of Determination”

Teaching Tuesday: One day I was dismissing my grade 5 class at the end of school. For anyone who is not familiar with this process, this period of the day can definitely be chaotic. As a supply teacher it is an added challenge because sometimes I have just met the students an hour before and am still trying to learn 30 new names. As the classes “pour out” into the halls there are all these c...

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“The Story of the Fart”

Teaching Tuesday: "The Story of the Fart" I was at the park with a little girl I was babysitting and was pushing her in a swing. Beside us there were two older kids, a girl and a boy who were probably seven or eight years old. I love listening to children talking without them knowing I am hearing them because I really get a glimpse into what their “kid world” is like. They say such ...

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The “kindness” Hospital

Teaching Tuesday: The "kindness" Hospital There was a little boy I met one day in a kindergarten class who had a super “powerful” energy and stood out to me as a leader right away. This child was filled with creativity, wit and passion. He quickly grabbed my hand and brought me over to show me all his drawings he had been working on. It was clear by the detail in them how gifted he was. ...

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“Sculpting Our Lives”

Teaching Tuesday: "Sculpting Our Lives" There are two little boys in grade one who are both on the Autism Spectrum and have similar challenges processing things cognitively and socially. Both of them are so sweet, quirky and excel at creativity way above and beyond their grade level. In fact, I often imagine when I teach them that in the future they both could become famous artists, illus...

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Courage!

Teaching Tuesday: I was teaching an absolutely lovely grade 7 class at a new school that I had never been to. Accepting a job with older kids can be challenging because there are times you have to deal with behavioural challenges and “attitude”. On this particular day I got really lucky. Many of the kids from this class recognized me from another school they had gone to previously. A bunch o...

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LESSONS ON TRUE LEADERSHIP!

Teaching Tuesday: LESSONS ON TRUE LEADERSHIP! As a supply teacher, I sometimes come across kids that want to “take advantage” of me not being their regular teacher and see how far they can push the boundaries. There is a big part of me that feels this is powerful and creative and I want them to have the space to relax more. However, as often the only adult in the room this fun can easily ...

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The Choreography

I came into school one day and as I entered the office there were two students who were behind the desk doing their volunteer office shift who were dancing, smiling and jumping up and down. It looked so synchronized I immediately thought it was a performance they were practicing! I began to smile, as their joy was contagious then I asked them what kind of performance they were doing? They la...

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Human Bean Magic

I was teaching a smaller class of special education one day. There were a couple of students I was suppose to bring back down to a classroom I was teaching in. I turned to 3 of them and asked if there were any other people we were waiting for? One of the girls snapped back " The other kids don't matter at all. These are my friends here so lets just go!". She kind of laughed. Over the time I ...

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“The energy of THREE”

Today... The students needed to get into a group of three. I am always monitoring to make sure to the best of my ability that no one feels left out. So when I saw two girls not in a group of three, off to the side just looking at everyone I immediately went over to them. When I asked them if they needed a third person, they leaned in closer to me and with a twinkle in their eyes and such HUG...

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The First Official

It was a year ago plus some when I truly, fully stepped into my work on this earth. It was coming home while I still having awareness there is a lot of healing deep within myself that still calls for exploring and love. Giving myself permission to shine while not having everything perfectly healed (knowing I can use my “edges” to create understanding with others). Knowing healing and all th...

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