Jumping for Joy… as I walk into my retirement year

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Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain  … To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.

Kevyn Aucoin

Every day no matter the situation I try very hard to embrace life. No matter what is happening in my world and yes there are always things, sometimes big things , sometimes little things as most of us experience the challenges that life can bring our way.  I work hard at focusing on the things that matter, but like all humans sometimes I fall short. I love to celebrate the moments.

Being around a lot of others this summer that are less mobile than I , I focus on remembering to be grateful. I have two feet that are mobile, I am able to walk ! Sometimes we take these things for granted. I am able to jump for joy. Even though I cannot jump very high these days I still can jump. So every chance I get I jump for joy.

As I get ready to walk into a new school year , my retirement year. I look forward to the joy of new students and those that are returning. I jump for joy as I celebrate with students the new moments and for me the new chapter to come. I plan on walking through my retirement year with joy , gratitude and revelling in the moments that bring me and others true pleasure!

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Life can take a turn in a minute for each of us, so celebrate each day … jump for joy , take a walk . If you are unable to walk, let someone take you for a walk.  Notice and celebrate all the reasons to experience joy even if it is only in the moment . Do it now!

I’d love to hear all the reasons you will jump for joy this year !

Summertime And The Living Is Easy

 

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It really is if that is the choice you make. Life does not always bring smooth roads. Often there are rocky shores we have to navigate. As I come home to Nova Scotia as I have for the past thirty- six summers , I have time to reflect. What is really important in life and how do we make the best choices?

Friends that are positive people enrich our lives. Choose wisely.

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The life partner you choose will make a difference in your happiness . My husband and I are married thirty years this year and I am truly grateful for all the joy and happiness he has brought to my life. Choose a good human being with great values . Look at how he / she treats others. Watch , listen choose well. It will be one of the most important decisions you ever make. The summers are so great and easy because we respect each other and give each other the complete freedom to be ourselves, laugh at silly things and walk through the hard times together.

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Something I learned long ago is that you need to make the moments count. What matters to you ? Make each day the best day ever . It is a choice!

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So let summertime be a special time for you and may your living always be easy.

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Reflections of a School Counsellor

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It’s summer time and I know I should be resting and believe me I do ! I have so much inside of me that I want to share that it is sometimes hard to know where to begin, but for today I’ll share what has been on my mind. I have been following ASCA’s twitter #ASCA16  feed over the past few days as I was unable to go this year. A couple of reflections come to mind.

  1. Gratitude … Collaborating with others has brought the passion of what I love to do to the forefront. I am so grateful that I connected to @ecmmmason and #scchat only a few short years ago . Yes, #scchat was the first School Counsellor hashtag I followed and it has changed everything . Thank you Danielle Schultz and Erin Mason.  I got and still get so much inspiration from seeing and getting help from all those who posted to the hashtag. I know that is why I am so passionate about others joining in with us as we collaborate this fall on a joint venture. See more here School Counsellors Collaborating as Leaders Worldwide. I care about the future of School Counsellors and School Counselling. I want to give back and so I continue to engage with others who are as passionate as I am.
  2. Refirement not retirement.Yes, I am retiring next year, but I want to go out making it my best year ever. I still really love what I do. I am retiring because it is time to. Time to refocus and engage my energies in other directions, but for now I will stay focused on the present and possibilities.   I am very excited about all the new ventures I will be taking on next school year.

September

  • George Couros MOOC . You may want to join us.

  • Supervise and mentor a new School Counsellor ( I have been doing this for years ). My way to give back while continuing to learn.

October

  • Start a Ted X Youth Club with my fabulous colleague Amy Webster @AmyNoraWebster . We look forward to the many wonderful things our students will create.
  • Working with Empowering Minds  EMLeadership and the most fabulous Cleopatra to create Leadership opportunities for students.
  • Continue to work and create ideas with Connex support.

Sept. to June

  • Continue to work with students to develop ideas around  anti. bullying #whosfrankyyc #carrollculture . Click here  for more information.
  • Continue to refine and work on our book Colour Your Way To A Healthy Mind : High School Students Creating Change  Would love to find a publisher . Anyone interested? 

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  • Once a month do a therapeutic Art workshop . Themes to be decided.

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  • Have our second Grad Walk . It was so much fun!

 

Really there are so many possibilities. This is an amazing time in education and these are but a few things I plan on doing in my retirement 2016-2017 school year. Over the summer you may want to consider giving to the Mario Couros Bursary . It is because of the gratitude we in #etmooc feel and it will help a future educator!

To all of you who take the time to read my blog may your summer be filled with  gratitude, ideas and opportunities as well as time to enjoy your family and friends. Rest,relax and rejuvenate! I plan to . Hitting the beach very soon!

A School Counsellors Mindset

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We are School Counsellors

  1. We chose this profession. It is the best profession ever. All professions have struggles. Focus on the positive. Work towards making things better by being an advocate for other School Counsellors. Join your professional organization, have a voice on twitter and /or write a blog celebrating all the amazing things that happen in our profession.
  2. Self care is so important to what we do. We can’t help others if we don’t help ourselves.
  3. Embrace your professionalism. You were trained well. Be ethical. Consult, consult consult.
  4. Model a positive attitude towards work each and everyday.Your students will notice and feel it when you set the tone in your school and in your offices.
  5. Be a good digital citizen. Be authentic , but if you need to vent do so privately and  with colleagues in counselling who understand. Never vent online.
  6. Connecting and collaborating makes us better at what we do.  Collaboration has made me better at what I do. It actually makes the work I do easier. Share , connect and collaborate. It will make you a better professional.
  7. Passion and purpose help our students. If we wake up with the mindset that we have an awesome responsibility to help others today knowing that each and everyday we have an opportunity to make a difference. We don’t always see the fruits of our labour , but that’s ok because we know that the small things we do can have a huge impact.
  8. You are you. Be the best version of yourself. Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to any other School Counsellor. Continually focus on professionally developing yourself so that you impact students in a positive way.
  9. Live every day One Day At a Time. Easy to say , not easy to do. Focus all of your energies on making this the best day ever. Just for today I will … laugh.
  10. Maintain gratitude for the work that we do. Being grateful for what we do rather than focusing on the things that we are not happy about is always a great state of mind. We chose this profession. I am grateful everyday that I did.

 

Colour Your Way To A Healthy Mind High School Students Creating Change

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“Be passionate, fall madly in love with life. Be passionate about some part of the natural and/or human worlds and take risks on its behalf, no matter how vulnerable they make you.” … “Offer yourself to the world — your energies, your gifts, your visions, your heart — with open-hearted generosity.” – Parker Palmer

Our students are passionate when it comes to mental health and wellness. They continue to work diligently when it comes to mental health and anti.stigma spreading messages of hope. All year they have continuued to do things that make a difference. Finally due to the generosity of Gary Nissen and Empowering minds … Connex we were  able to produce this lovely colouring book for all to enjoy! Every year partial proceeds will go to a different chaity, but this year students chose the Children’s Hospital mental health unit.

Thanks so much to all those who collaborated with the wellness team to make this a very special project. Our photography , spectrum and who’s frank clubs. All know the importance of reducing stigma. raising awareness and improving overall wellness. We hope you have fun , relax and enjoy this students led project that is meant to touch your heart and make a difference. So let go, de-stress be as creative as you want . We hope you will be inspired to design your own colouring page while thinking about the messages that matter from our students.

A Year of Music

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Wow! Last night I not only got to watch amazing performances by young people, I got to be a part of the excitement. In September I jumped into another opportunity to grow, to learn and to have fun. I have had experiences that will remain with me forever thanks to Youth Singers Calgary. Never in my wildess imagination would I say I would be performing at the Jubilee in Calgary at my age. Of course i should know to never say never. One never knows the fabulous experiences you can have at any age #nevertooold . I really can say all of the new , jump out of my box experiences I have been having lead back to #ETMOOC  and all the supportive people who encouraged risk taking and that it is ok to to fail. Failure is seen as a way to learn, not like real failure to me which is giving up, never trying!

If you haven’t heard of #secondchants, now is the time. We get to work with outstanding musicians, choral directors, wardrobe  and choreorgraphers who are talented and funny.

I am so grateful to have been a part of this wonderful celebration of dedication and passion for music.

Thinking about Youth Singers great choice! If you are of a certain age like me join us on the 28th to see what it’s all about. I have always loved music , but this year of music has given me a chance to have experiences like never before.

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Love Learning and Leadership

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“Be passionate, fall madly in love with life. Be passionate about some part of the natural and/or human worlds and take risks on its behalf, no matter how vulnerable they make you.” … “Offer yourself to the world — your energies, your gifts, your visions, your heart — with open-hearted generosity.” – Parker Palmer

What has love got to do with it?  EVERYTHING

As educators it is so important that students know and see that we love our jobs. I use the term job loosely as I know many of us see our career as a calling. At #edcampyyc I got to share the love and passion I have for what I have done every school year for the past thirty six years. I am so grateful to be presenting at #edcampyyc and I also use the term presenting loosely because edcamps are different and make PD so much different and I think better than it has ever been . Edcamps are about choice … eliciting the best kind of leadership. Shared leadership where everyone in the room gets to have a voice and so today I am thankful that I got to learn along with you.

3 years ago in March I became a digital leader. I made a choice to jump into Edtech because of #etmooc and it transformed the way I learn as well as the way I assist students

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The culture of a school moves when you do! I believe it is never too late to be a leader and especially a digital leader.  Don’t wait to be asked to be a leader ACT AS IF you already are and it will impact everything you do.  All of us can make a difference online and off . When you take on a leadership role, sometimes  fear gets in the way and if it does I say jump right in like I did in ETMOOC and your fears will subside. Educators are very supportive especially online when they are helping others learn. I am extremely grateful to all those who help me online every day to grow and learn.

Presence

Your presence on line is important. If students see you being a good digital citizen or being a good citizen period the they too will model what they see. They will learn how to share appropriately and  by you developing your online presence you will recognize how creating a digital footprint takes time and collaboration on many levels.

Purpose

Because we want to be good digital leaders we look at what our students need. Having a purpose where we want to impact every student in our whole school through the use of technology drives how we help our students . We research what will be most helpful and curate and or create resources that will help them.

At our school we continue to look at what will be most helpful in our Student services department . We want to reach the whole school so here are a few resouces we have collaborated on to assist students. Here are a few of our favourites we love using to disseminate information, livebinders and smores.

Check out our Post Secondary and Personal Wellness Livebinders here:

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Personal Wellness

If you have never been to an edcamp then jump in the next time one is offered in your area. Below you can view the Haiku Deck that I used to get the conversation going. Everyone in your school can be a leader from the caretaker , to the secretary , to the aide that supports a student with special needs . I agree with Eric Sheninger  Titles Don’t Make Leaders . Look for the leaders and celebrate them often!

The students are definitely why we do what we do . Thanks #edcampyyc for connecting educators and letting them lead with their feet , by choosing sessions that were important to them. Check out the #edcampyyc hashtag for more inspiration. So many great sessions with amazing educators who are passionate leaders who love what they do. Please share why you love what you do because together we are definitely better!

If you decide to pay it forward consider contributing to the Mario Couros Bursary , a great way to help another future educator as well as a way to honour those who give so much to education worldwide.