My Graduation Speech During a Pandemic

I have previously written about the importance of struggling if we want to strengthen our brains (The Struggle is Real) — that moment in your thinking when it feels like your wheels are spinning and you’re not sure of the correct way out of the mud-pit.

It is a critical moment in brain development where we actually see incredible neural growth and connectivity as the brain works to solve the problem. It’s actually an important time to celebrate.

Well … there was a lot of celebrating that happened while I was preparing this year’s graduation speech. My struggle was real! And it lasted for quite a while, too, I might add.

As I do most years, I begin to think about my speech when the calendar turns over in January. I formulate some ideas and write them down in my notebook. It comes together slowly usually about a week or two before the big event on stage.

This year was completely different. I was having a horrible time deciding on a theme as it had already been an up-and-down year in Saanich … and then came …

… the pandemic.

What does a Superintendent’s speech look like during that tumultuous time?

Year-end Reflections – Lessons from Yoda (Star Wars – v.2)

As this school year draws to a close I have begun to reflect on the year that has been — and its importance to my personal and professional growth. And because I love Star Wars — I have now connected some of this learning to the wise and articulate Yoda — master of the Jedi Knights.

Jedi Master Yoda

So, without further ado … here are some of my 2018-19 reflections as Superintendent. May the Force Be With You:

YOU WILL ONLY FIND WHAT YOU BRING IN

Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Yoda and Luke

Yoda told his young apprentice (Luke Skywalker) to not take his anger, fear and weapons into the dark cave as bringing these would only result in conflict. His words proved to be prophetic.

In life we bring both our negative and positive experiences to a current situation. I reminded myself this year to leave my negative reactions at the door and remain open to new ideas, thoughts and opinions. Fear and anger do not open doors, but close them.

What About Resilience, Kindness and Courage?

I found the following list of personal traits a while ago while internet surfing at currclick.com.  The traits speak to the ‘human’ part of our existence:

What Standardized Tests Can't Measure

It’s an impressive list  — a list that speaks to some of the most important things we value about ourselves as compassionate and competent people — traits that we hope are imparted to our children.  As a parent, I want my own children to have these traits — to be proficient in these characteristics so that as adults they can thrive and be happy in our increasingly fast-paced and, some would say, depersonalized world.

Take another look at the list — a closer look — but this time tell me which traits are actually assessed in schools by having all students take a standardized assessment or exam.  I’ll wait — go back and take a look.

No … you didn’t go back and read them again … I’ll wait for you to finish.

If you couldn’t find a single trait that where all students are assessed in BC using a standardized assessment you’re correct …  NONE OF THEM.  Not ONE of these really important traits is evaluated using a provincial standardized assessment, or any standardized assessment for that matter.

pexels-photo-372098.jpeg

Courage – Hard to Measure But Still an Important Life Skill

Continue reading