Happy New (School) Year – It’s More Than “It’s a Living”

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope that your summer was glorious.  As the calendar turned to August my mind turned to the year ahead.  I wondered about what to write for my first blog of the new year.  Then one day while having a conversation with my mom I was reminded about something funny at the movies … many, many, MANY years ago.

The story goes something like this …

movie theatre

Going to the Movies with Mom

When I was a young boy of about 5 or 6 I went to the movies with my mom.  As we were waiting for the movie to start we both noticed another little boy moving between the aisles focused entirely on picking up litter.  We were impressed and my mom told him what a good thing he was doing.  He shrugged his shoulders, “It’s a Living”.

It was hard not to laugh and if I’m truthful I probably did — I don’t actually remember.  I do remember that he was very serious about his job — it was important work.  He was making a difference.  It was his work.


Dogs Make a Big Difference in the Lives of Others

As we recalled this story it actually caused me to reflect a bit about my own work in education.  As I am now in my 50s — certainly now with more of my career behind me than in front of me — I sometimes stop and wonder about the impact I’ve had on people in our schools and at the board office:

  • Have I made a difference?  A really positive difference?
  • Have I taken some chances?  Taken enough risks?
  • Will I have any regrets when I do retire?

And if that wasn’t enough for me to reflect on my impact there was another ‘sign’ that crossed my path just recently.  The other day I was in a waiting room — waiting of course for an appointment to begin.  On the bulletin board in front of me was a description of LIFE.   So, I took a picture of it:


Again … it got me thinking … will my life be more like the first paragraph or the second paragraph?  Will I be able to sit back and say, “That was a good ride”?

For those of you who know me personally, I know what you’re thinking.   I’m definitely a tad on the conservative side so it’s not likely that I’m skidding in sideways anywhere anytime soon.

But, what I DO really believe in is making a difference.  And to do that I need to take risks — risks that hopefully make things better for others.  For our profession it’s about having that license to try something new — in the classroom, in the board room, in the community.

forward gearEnsure that your professional LIFE is in DRIVE not Neutral or Reverse

Park is reserved for the end when you’ve skidded in sideways

So, as we head into this New School Year we all should make a choice to try something new — something that moves us away from our comfort zone.  You have permission to be creative and explore new opportunities for yourself and our students.

Maybe it’s …

  • allowing students a different way to showcase their learning ;
  • signing up for a workshop on virtual collaboration tools;
  • using VR in your classroom for the first time;
  • planning that experiential field trip to an exciting new location;
  • experimenting with the cycle of inquiry as a pedagogical lens for student learning;
  • embracing the possibilities of the newly revised curriculum;
  • or something else that you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t yet done so.

Reach beyond “It’s a Living”.  Push yourself!

Push into that area that you’ve been avoiding because it’s uncomfortable. 

You may just open a door that brings new excitement into your professional life as well as make a big difference in the lives of our students.

forward to school

Do Something this Year that Makes you Skid a Bit More Aggressively Across the Finish Line

And there are 10 Bonus Points for anyone who knows where I found that bulletin board notice on LIFE.  It’s somewhere on the Saanich peninsula.  I’ll buy the first person who contacts me with the right location a coffee or tea of their choosing.



Happy New Year everyone!   I’m looking forward to a wonderful year of learning and trying. 

See you next week in school.

One thought on “Happy New (School) Year – It’s More Than “It’s a Living”

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