Before reading, you must know I’m one of those people who has the memory of an elephant. I see someone and I remember them. It sometimes takes me a few minutes or hours to pin point the place and time of where we’ve crossed paths, but I always do. Today, it was a matter of seconds because you don’t forget the people who have had a significant impact on the trajectory of your growth as an educator.
Today, I was away on PD to learn about assistive technologies I can use through One Note with one of my students in particular to help him communicate his thoughts and ideas. These tools are the ones that are necessary for some but incredibly useful for all.
As the facilitators were covering housekeeping items and going through the day’s schedule, one member mentioned that we were going to Skype with Dustin and Martha Jez from Fair Chance Learning, who would be sharing with us their expertise, advice and who will act as a direct liaison with Microsoft to help fix any glitches that we may encounter along the way. Our group facilitator also pulled up the FCL website which had a picture of who I thought was Joe Archer. With the mention of FCL and seeing Joe, I was immediately transported back to May 2017 where Annick Rauch and I hopped on a plane to Niagara Falls to experience what I think was one of my best PDs ever- ConnectEd. This one was by far the most special and transformational for me-I’m not sure those feelings can ever be replicated. It came at a time where I had just been hired to open up a brand new school with my best friend, in a school division I missed, and reconnecting with some of the souls that had influenced me and hired me at the very beginning of my career. I was already feeling inspired but little did I know, I would leave that trip more inspired than ever. All the educators at ConnectEd in Niagara were so incredibly gracious and kind. It was there that I met Brian Aspinall and Jennifer Casa-Todd for the first time after seeing their keynote, along with other incredible Ontario Educators at the ignite event sponsored by FCL in the evening. I remember listening to the outstanding line up of educators, which included Brian, Jennifer, Martha and Joe. They shared the projects they were working on or pedagogy they were using. Some shared their strengths and struggles and all within five minute slideshows. It was transformational. I’ll never forget that trip. And the most amazing thing, is that in the past year, I’ve since reconnected with some of these bucket fillers. I had the opportunity to have dinner with Brian Aspinall, who is the person responsible for the impact this trip had on me. In October I had brunch with Jennifer Casa-Todd, and today during my PD, I recognized Martha Jez from the Niagara Ignite Event as soon she came up on the screen to Skype with us during our PD. There she was again-helping, dropping everything, and I mean everything to Skype with our group. I also sent Joe a message and he confirmed it was him on the website! Not only did I remember him from the conference in Niagara but because he was also the first person to ever mention me in a blog post. You kinda don’t forget those people! I explained what I was doing in my PD and within seconds he was sharing his templates in OneNote with me, which led to a quick conversation about a project he was working on that we plan on collaborating together! A matter of seconds. Just like that. Reconnected.
I am also a person who feels that compliments and positive vibes should be shared when they are thought and felt. So here’s to my amazing Ontario Educator Neighbours who are making a difference (despite the barriers they are dealing with in education at this time) and leaving a mark on more than just their own students. I look up to you and I am grateful to have you in my realm of influence. You have instant impact and lasting imprints on me.
Keep doing what you are doing. It’s always a joy to reconnect with you. Thanks for helping me connect the dots in my trajectory.
Mille fois merci!