Always teaching, growing, and learning! (Part 5)

I can't believe we have made it to the final post of this Back to School style series in collaboration with @MaggyLondon and @loveoverlenses!
 There aren't as many pictures in this one, because we arrived at York University just as the sun was setting...  It was a full day filled with nine different photoshoot locations!  This red dress, however, is my favourite from their collection, and I am planning to wear it to a wedding we have coming up.  

I would like to share with you my final story and thank you for following along as I opened up about educational history.

After teaching at Sixteenth Avenue P.S. for about a year, I decided to begin taking additional qualification courses at York University.  I began with one course on the topic of Special Education, which turned into a few years straight of participating in these types of offerings.  When I first graduate from Teacher's College and landed my permanent position, my only goal was to be a really good classroom educator.  These AQ courses helped me to do that, and eventually I became addicted to learning!  In my ten years of teaching, I have accumulated 15 additional qualifications including my Principal's Qualification Part 1, both Intermediate and Senior Division English (so I can teach until Grade 12), Special Education Specialist, Reading Specialist, and courses on English as a Second Language, Computer Technology, Librarianship, and of course Kindergarten!

It was after several years of this course work, that I figured I was ready for more and decided to apply for my Master of Education.  At that point I had been teaching for about three years, and knew that I could apply the theory to practice.  I recall writing my admissions paper about a hundred times, until it was perfect!  Waiting to hear back felt like torture...  Online the new application process allowed prospective students to check the results, and I saw the words "offer" but was looking for a simple "yes" or "no."  Even with this information and actually accepting the offer online, I had to pinch myself several times, and awaited patiently for the big package.  I still feared that maybe there had been a mistake! 

The MEd program at York University was as career-changing, as Teacher's College!  It couldn't have occurred at a more perfect time than when I had moved to a new school in our board (Bond Lake Public School with Kim Smith) and our province (Ontario) first rolled our the Full-Day Early Learning Kindergarten Program.  Prior to FDK, I had slowly made my way down the elementary grades to teach our youngest learners.  Upon the completion of my first year in Grade 3, I taught a combined 1/2, then alternate day JK/SK (40 students!), and finally an alternate day SK/1.  When I arrived in the Kindergarten world, I knew immediately that it felt like home.  I could hardly wait to have the students for the full-day and every day!

Naturally as a Kindergarten teacher, I focused on the early years for my research, and received a diploma in Early Childhood Education along with my degree.  I started to document my learning from Bond Lake Public School and share it on this blog.  It was wonderful to see that some of the ideas that I learned from Dr. Carol Anne Wien's courses about the Reggio Emilia approach were inspiring others in the field.  I remain so thankful that Dr. Wien introduced me to this special educational philosophy from Italy.  It has changed my teaching, parenting, and life overall!  At the end of my Master of Education, my work did not feel complete and I knew that someday I would like to continue.  

In the meantime, Dr. Isabel Killoran recommended me to teach at York University and they offered me the chance to become an AQ instructor and to facilitate the Kindergarten AQ course.  I was also lucky to have the support of my principal (Kim Smith), who allowed me to fully transform my classroom from traditional to Reggio-inspired.  With her encouragement, we opened up the classroom for weekly course visits, open house events, and Family Fridays.  There aren't words to describe how profound my professional learning was in those four years at Bond Lake P.S. and York University.  Together as a team I felt like we moved mountains, and our outdoor natural learning environment or the number of blog views is a testament to that!

The blog continued to be my platform for sharing everything early childhood, and soon I started to get invited to several speaking engagements at conferences, workshops, and even keynotes in other Canadian provinces about my research interests.  This was a pivotal point for the creation of TransformEd Consulting Services, which has led (and continues to lead me) down many other creative avenues...

About a year after my graduation, and one without any major academic undertakings, I realized that it would never feel like the right time to apply.  I therefore, took the leap with the help of Dr. Isabel Killoran and not only began my PhD studies, but got married, moved in with my husband, switched schools/roles, and was expecting a baby.  I can say that that school year was actually one of the most intense of my life! Transferring to another new school in our board (Anne Frank Public School), as their Teacher Librarian opened me up to a whole new world of inquiry across the grades.  I am thankful for my family for standing by me with all of these big changes.  None of it would have been possible without them!

Currently I have planned to return to a Kindergarten homeroom classroom at a school close to home/to my son!  It's called Pierre Berton Public School.  My grade partner (Jacqueline Tan) is a teacher who volunteered with me at Sixteenth Avenue Public School and took her Kindergarten AQ courses with me at York University.  Feels like we have come full circle!

Finally, having just recently completed my graduate course requirements, I must also share that my greatest learning journey as a mother has taken the priority.  I am teaching, growing, and learning alongside my son in ways that I had never imagined!

I look forward to sharing with you some of our documentation from the past few months...

I would like to extend a HUGE thank to Aminaz from @loveoverlenses for her patience throughout our one day (yes only one day - with nine locations/dresses) photoshoot.  I called it "the longest photoshoot of life!"  My hats go off to all you fashion bloggers out there!  I thought blogging about creativity and education was hard work!  Never had a realized what goes into planning outfits, accessories, props, locations, and then all the time it takes to write up these details for followers...  They all make it look so beautiful and easy!

In addition, I would like to thank you for reading my blog post series, and following along as I tried something different!  I had a lot of fun revisiting my educational history and planning my outfits.  It was also nice sharing a little bit of my world with you...

P.S. I don't think that I will be becoming a fashion blogger any time soon!!!! 

Stylish Mama maybe...

Outfit/photoshoot details:

Look 1: 

Dress - @MaggyLondon Cassandra New Red (G2601M) 

Shoes and bracelets - @KateSpadeNY

Earrings - @lechateau

Book bag and watch - @xobetseyjohnson

Laptop bag - @longchamp 

Photographer - @loveoverlenses

Styling and details - @joannebabalis

Location - York University - @yorkuofficial

* * * * *

I thought that you might like to know that Maggy London is giving 9 lucky teachers the chance to win the ultimate teacher giveawayEnter for your chance at a new school wardrobe, classroom makeover, and special deals + steals!

If you like these dresses use the code TEACH30 to take 30% off your total purchase!

Otherwise here are some additional pages that might be of interest to you:

Special thank you goes out to @loveoverlenses for her attention to detail in carefully and creatively capturing each image.  I loved her collaborative nature and willingness to travel back in time with me!  She now photographs other blogger-shoots if you are ever looking to team up contact her here.

Happy early October!!!

If your actions inspire others

to dream more,

learn more,

do more,

and become more,

you are a leader.

                                                                                           -Unknown author

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