Monday, April 30, 2012

10 Good, 1 Bad - Guess What Sticks in my Mind?

Last week was a whirlwind of activities. The ironic thing is that, when I look back on how the week went, I can't help but focus on the things that didn't go as planned. There was one, particularly large gaffe on my part that I feel horribly guilty about, even still. I totally confused the date of the annual TDSB East Region Heritage Fair - I thought it was on Friday, April 27 but it was actually the day before. On the Thursday, I was at the NE4 Boys Book Club celebration - the organizers phoned my school to ask where I was. By the time I was able to reach a phone, it was too late for us to attend. I had to tell the eleven students I was scheduled to bring that we weren't going and it was my fault. I hated seeing their jaws drop in surprise and disappointment. They were all pretty stoic after the initial shock but I still felt bad.

So why do I fixate on the negative rather than the positive? There were a lot of great and wonderful things that happened this past week. Here's just a glimpse:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012
NE4 Inaugural Red Maple Celebration

Six school from my area converged on the Malvern Branch of the Toronto Public Library to celebrate the 2012 Red Maple Award nominees. School teams were given one of the books and had to create a marketing campaign for their title. All of the projects were "insanely awesome", as I told the group and my sentiments were echoed by Shaun Chen, our trustee. We had actual marketing experts judge the projects. The winners were Milliken P.S.'s Half Brother team and Thomas L. Wells P.S's Fly Boy team. My school group received an honorary mention for the best video book trailer.

The creativity oozed from every project. In addition to the marketing campaigns (with prizes donated by the Ontario Library Association), we had a Skype Battle of the Books talk with Acadia Jr. H.S. in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This was my school's second year chatting with Mrs. Gibson's group of students but for many of the other schools, this was their first time doing something like this.

The event ended with a presentation by the charismatic, engaging, and off-beat speaker and author Robert Paul Weston. Mr. Weston held the attention of all 118 students as he explained to them his writing process and how fairy tales are just a tame shadow of the original versions. My students showed them the book trailer they created for his novel, Dust City and he even tweeted the link. My students saw this and were thrilled that he liked it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
GTA Resource Fair Shopping
Track and Field Day

I have written before on this blog about how I always take students with me when I shop for books for my school library. The five students that accompanied me actually sacrificed a half-day of track and field so they could attend. (Our school's track and field date was supposed to be Monday but the rain and snow forced it to be moved to Wednesday.) They made such wise purchases and great selections. Anywhere I go while at the fair, vendors and fellow teacher-librarians ask me, "So where are your kids?" Someone told me that my tradition of bringing students inspired them to invite their own students. We kept on budget and on time, making it back to complete a half-day of track and field.

Thursday, April 26, 2012
NE4 Boys Book Club Celebration

This was my first time at the local boys literacy event. I ran a break-out session that was titled "Drama / Role-Play" but was actually the Pokemon Junior Adventure RPG. I had my hand-made version of Telestrations ready just in case the boys were responsive to the game, but I didn't need to use my alternate because they loved it! The first group didn't want to leave for lunch. The second group wanted to continue past the time allotted as well.

The boys were intensely reading and scrutinizing the cards, deciding which Pokemon was the best to pick as their starter. They were doing mental math to calculate their hit points and damage as they battled. They were marvelous!

The guest author at this event was P.J. Haarsma. He has written the Softwire series of sci-fi novels and has also created a MMORPG called "Rings of Orbis". It tied in perfectly with what I was doing during my session, just in a physical vs virtual environment.

So let me return to my original question: why, despite all these successes (including a nomination for a board award for excellence in education) am I preoccupied with the one part that didn't go as planned?


  1. I completely understand what you mean! The funny thing is, if this happened to anyone else you would be the first person to comfort and cheer them. So my message to you is this: you are an exceptional educator, and the fact that you feel so badly about this just goes to show how dedicated you are. Everyone slips. You may not be able to forget the negative, but don't let it overshadow all the positive, amazing, things you have accomplished.

  2. Thanks D! I realized I totally forgot to mention the flood in my school library office, which hit 1/3 of my personal collection of books. Omitting this made me realize that it's the people, rather than the things, that impacts me.