I Am From

A few weeks ago, I was thrilled to be asked to come and share a bit of my blogging life, as a part of a Reluctant Writer professional learning series that Annette Gilbert was facilitating with Intermediate teachers. In preparation for the interview-style presentation, I took some time to reread, reflect and reminisce on my past posts.  In doing so, it came to my attention that I had 198 submissions under my belt. So, with last week’s “The True Meaning of Leadership”, this becomes my 200th post.

Upon entering the presentation space for the Reluctant Writers session, Annette was finishing an activity with her participants which had them using the “I am From” framework as they exercised their writing muscles and created their own poems. I was immediately impressed with the flood of shared memories that certain phrases evoked from the educators.

So, in honour of my 200th post, I decided to explore the same framework and embed it in the Spirit of Christmases past.

I am From

I am from a musty smelling box of red glass ornaments, with a concave center glittered with silver

From red paper fold out bells and green plastic holly candle holders

I am from a bungalow with multi-coloured lights adorning the roof line

And a cardboard Santa and Frosty framing the sides of the fireplace

I am from a tree lot selected fresh smelling pine

Whose needles became drowned in sliver tinsel

I am from a ceramic Christmas tree with small green lights and plastic mistletoe hung in the front hall

From Saddler and Taylor

I am from Boodle bags filled with trinkets and treasures adorned with decorations that still stand the test of time and playing Silent Night on a new electronic organ

From games of Euchre, Rummy, Hearts and Shanghai

I am from Christmas Eve drives home from my grandparents, counting the number of houses with lights

From bread sauce and ricotta filled cannolis

I am from Mary’s Boy Child

From Boney M

I am from the animated Frosty the Snowman and the Grinch and the stop action animated Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer ~ whose broadcast time was known weeks in advance and calendars were cleared to come together to enjoy the show and some popcorn.

I am from those moments of Christmases past, whose memories continue to warm my heart and remind me of the spirit of the holidays.

I would love to read your version of “I Am From”

Come write with me…

The True Meaning of Educational Leadership

nutcrackersThe tree is up and decorated, the Nutcracker army is on guard on the fireplace hearth (I think they multiplied in storage), the fridge is filled with a colourful and hopefully delicious variety of sweet treats and the first gifts have been lovingly wrapped with festive paper and matching bows and placed under the tree.  Today’s falling snow, glowing fireplace and Christmas music playing throughout the house finished the picture ~ we are officially in the midst of the Christmas season. Which means that most television stations are now offering a plethora of Christmas specials and movies and I’m loving watching old favourites and new renditions.

grinchWhether the main character is a furry Grinch whose “small heart grew three sizes that day. And then – the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of *ten* Grinches, plus two!”, a sleep deprived miser named Scrooge or a lovable loser named Charlie Brown, whose attempt to find the perfect tree led to Linus’ King James version of scripture reading from Luke 2:8-14, the true meaning of Christmas is revealed just before the final credits begin to roll.

In each of those stories, the cast of characters were constantly looking for the true meaning of Christmas in presents, lights, sixpence and perfect trees and not where it truly lies ~ something that not only fictional characters find themselves doing.

I often wonder if we are guilty of that same misguided lens in the area of educational leadership. Do we solely measure the effectiveness of a school leader by the increase in test scores, like the number of presents under the tree?   Do we focus so much on the financial resources, like Ebenezer, that we forget about the human resources? Do we honour and celebrate the glitz and glamour, like the lights of the season, even though it may lack depth and true understanding?

This past Friday, a colleague took a group of students door to door to shovel driveways and sidewalks.  When I think about strong educational leadership moves that quickly rises to the top.  I’m not sure that their afternoon away from instruction was purposefully connected to improving math scores, but I have no doubt that the feelings those student received about being appreciated, will serve them well, beyond any standardized test.


After you watch the video read some of the many comments from the Ingersoll community.


The true meaning of educational leadership can’t be neatly wrapped with a pretty bow, nor measured by the number of green vs red markers on a moderated task.  It needs to be an honouring of our past as we venture through the present and look towards the future.  And one never knows who will inform our leadership ~ we need to be open to the possibility of a trusted friend, with a figurative security blanket, being the best source of inspiration.


What is your true meaning of educational leadership?

Come Write with me…