Category Archives: Personal Posts

Moving Forward, Never Backward

If you haven’t noticed yet this blog has been updated at a snail’s pace. As a full time, first year teacher, I found it a great challenge to just sit down and write. Moving forward in your educational career provides significant challenges, but moving forward in life provides even greater ones. When my beautiful daughter was born in December, I made a giant leap in life. You have no idea the impacts of parenthood until you become a parent. I have observed my friends for a few years now and kept telling myself “It can’t be that big of change… they should be able to come hang out!”. Well, news flash past David, it does and will continue to be a HUGE change. This directly applies to my teaching career as well.

I will constantly be forced to make tough choices, but in the end it is all the name of family; which to me includes my colleagues, and most importantly my students. I always get funny looks when I talk about “my kids”, until people realize I’m a teacher. My practice is always student first, and will always be student first. If something works for them, we continue it, if something does not, I will reflect on it, and make adjustments to best suit their needs. Interestingly, this is the same way my wife and I have approached parenting. The parallels, I’m finding, are nearly endless.

However, in light of the fact I do have very little time, this blog will be shutting down. As I continue to hunt for the next big thing in my teaching career, I will leave it up as testimony to the incredibly hard work I have put forth as I start my life long passion of parenting and teaching. I want this space to be a symbol of growth, to demonstrate to prospective employers, colleagues, and researchers, that those that are dedicated practitioners of education, should be constantly evolving, and learning. As I sift through these pages I see so many things that I should have done different, but that’s education. We reflect, we adapt, we change.

As my final piece of advice to all budding educators: Find your passion in a field of which passion is always evident. Build your niche, do not sway from doing what you love to do. Become the educator you want to be, not through leaps and bounds, but baby steps. Use the knowledge of those around you to better yourself, never be selfish and try to keep it all for yourself.

To my ADHD peers and friends: You have been given a gift and a curse. Allow yourself time to deal with the negative and ensure you have built support to get through the tough times. Embrace your gift and empower it! By having a solid support network you can, and will thrive. Just because your brain operates differently, does not mean you cannot succeed. It will take strength, persistence, and resilience, but our gift has all of those qualities. Let yourself be free, and never be afraid to be who are!

I have greatly enjoyed posting on a blog and when I am better able to make time for it, I already have many ideas of changes I want to make. I got there through… reflection… #mic_drop.

To all of those that helped make this possible…

Thank you! From the bottom of my heart thank you. Without you I would not have been able to pursue my passion. I have learned so much from you, and I cannot wait to share that wisdom with our leaders of tomorrow. I have been empowered and inspired to become the best educator I can be. I entered the world of education, scared and unsure. Now I leave the first step of becoming a teacher, confident, ready to face each challenge head on. With each lesson there will be reflection, even though we’ve been “reflectioned” to death. I want to inspire students to be critical thinkers, as you inspired me. I hope to open the eyes of my class to the bright world of technology, and watch them discover what the world of tomorrow can be. I leave the university full of wonder, and I want my students to have that same sense of wonder and imagination. Without you, none of this would be possible. I am grateful to have had such amazing mentors in my long, yet short, journey in becoming an educator.

Again I say, thank you. Thank you for everything you have done. I hope to make you all proud.

Yours Truly in Education,
David Brown

Why I Want to Teach Secondary Math and Science…

…As a middle years trained teacher and why you should hire me as your junior science and math teacher.

Now that first interviews are long done, I find myself reflecting on some of my responses, specifically my areas of preference. Going into interviews I wanted to present a jack-of-all-trades, the super teacher, able to work in any space, any class, teaching any subject. I just want to teach… preferably close to Regina. Upon reflection, I believe I undersold exactly what I want to teach. In part I sold myself the way I did because I just wanted a job. Another part was I really did not know exactly what I want teach.

But now, after almost a month of reflection, I know in my heart what I am called to be as a teacher. So, to every principal, administrator, executive, superintendent, director, hiring personnel, etc., please read on to gain an understanding of why you should hire me as your junior science and math teacher.

Assist in transition from elementary to high school.

Who better to assist those coming from elementary school than one with experience in teaching middle years students. Having worked with grade 8 students in my internship, I have an understanding of their foundation of learning, both academically and socially. Using this knowledge I will have more patience of potential shortcomings, and will have the capability to be flexible in bringing students up to speed with high school curriculum. I want students to develop a passion for math and science, not develop a fear of these subjects as they move forward in their educational journey. Creation of authentic learning experiences will make school engaging, establishing a desire to pursue science and math after grade 10.

Collaborate closer with elementary schools to prepare students for my class.

I wish I had worked closer with the junior science and math educators in our area during internship to ensure I was providing the proper foundation for the students who are to transitioning to high school next year. As the junior science and math teacher I would reach out to elementary school educators and collaborate on the best way of creating lifelong learners in science and math. By building a bridge between elementary school and high school, students can walk into their future with confidence. Educators can be confident that their students are properly prepared for what they are about to experience.

Collaborate with senior instructors to ensure I am preparing the students for their future classes.

In order for students to see more success in the senior level sciences and maths I would collaborate with the senior science and math teachers to ensure I am providing the proper foundation for the more content focused upper year classes. The goal of a junior subject teacher should not just include content, but also provide tools to students so they can feel more comfortable and confident as they move into their senior years. In doing so, I believe we would see drop out rates decrease as the focus becomes student success.

Diverse degree and real life experiences provide significant content knowledge aligned with and beyond the curriculum.

Being middle years trained, my guess is it could be seen as I am lacking content knowledge. This could not be further from the truth. With a Bachelor of Business Education, that includes two years of pre-medicine, 10 years of work experience in the financial and information technology sectors, I have more than enough content knowledge to be successful as a secondary educator. In fact, I have the opportunity to become accredited in math and all sciences, after I have completed my two year teaching requirement.

Drive to establish a computer science and business program, that rivals top programs in the country.

One of my greatest passions in education is technology, specifically computer science. There is no program that we can take in university that can prepare you to be a CS teacher. Therefore, why not hire someone with 5 years of IT experience, that is also trained a teacher! On top of a CS program, I would love to help establish a business education program. Entrepreneurs are going to lead the way of our economy in the near future. Students need the opportunity to learn about the nuances of business, and I have the experience and enthusiasm necessary to create a program that can rival the programs that have existed for many years.

Drive to establish extra curricular opportunities outside of sports, including robotics, programming, and app design.

I am very involved in sports, but I also understand the need for opportunities beyond sports. Using my coaching experiences I would love to create a robotics team, an app or programming team, a marketing team, or any other team that gives students who are not athletic the opportunity to create school pride and experience competitive success.

And much more as can be found on my resume.

If you have read this far thank you so much for taking time out of your day to read this. I have discovered my true passion in teaching, but I want to take this deeper. I now know exactly what I want to do, who I want to be. I want to be a grade 9 and 10 science and math educator and I believe I am the best person for this job because I am middle years trained.

Thank you once again for reading,
David Brown

Back from the Grave… I mean Internship!

It’s been far too long since I’ve posted on this site. I’ve always been told that if you share your page it needs to be up to date. Well I say to those people “you’ve never been in an education internship have you?”. Internship was the hardest, yet most rewarding experience I’ve ever had. It was the greatest accomplishment in my storied career, or should I say careers, and I am so proud of making it to the finish line.

Why didn’t I just post reflections on my blog you ask? Instead of blog posting I turned to sticky notes to get my thoughts on paper as quick as I could as internship moves fast and furious. However, I’m a tech guy, so I turned to Twitter in order to capture as many internship moments as I could. Instead of a long winded post where I ramble on, and on, and on, about my experience I want to leave it here and point you towards my Internship highlights page.

But I am back. Look forward to seeing reflections from my final semester at the U of R. Braiinnnnnnssssss….

Bell Let’s Talk Day – My Personal Story

This day has come and gone a few times now since I was diagnosed with ADHD and depression.  Yet, I did not share my story or voice my opinions when the event arrived.  I think I’ve posted on Facebook, sent a tweet or two, but I have not gone into my journey.  The simple man’s journey through depression, and it’s link to my ADHD.  I may not be Clara Hughes, or Michael Landsburg, but I do share in the fact I have gone down the troubled road of depression.

In an article I wrote last year I had stated that my ADHD had created moments of depression and anxiety that I did not want to delve.  However, it is time to bring to light some of the hardships of my journey through depression.  Why now? To be honest, I have people who I know listen now.  But also, this is part of the journey.  I’ve come to a place in my healing that I can share what depression was for me.

Growing up I was extremely active and very hyper, and yet not diagnosed with ADHD I’ll note.  However, in my teen years I started to experience massive mood swings and a gnawing feeling that something was wrong.  I didn’t want to hang with friends, I didn’t care about school, I started to fall into what I can only describe as a pit of sadness.  I didn’t know what was wrong, but I also never explored it as I knew that I had to “suck it up” it’s not ok for a man to be sad, “get a grip”.  Looking back I was bullied a lot in school.  My self-esteem was low, even though I had so much going for me.  I did not even connect or think about depression, even with thoughts of suicide entering my head over and over.

Heading into my adult years I found some solace in University.  I found friends that I could connect better with, I enjoyed school a lot more as I was challenged, and I found that people were more accepting of the person I knew I was.  But, I was still always frustrated, tired, and sad.  I could tell something was wrong, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.  Worse yet, I couldn’t talk about it.  To this day I have people who were close to me that I drove away with my fears, anxieties, and sadness; my depression.  There were so many days, where I would lie crying silently in my bed in University because I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving my room for class.  I lost marks, lost confidence in cooperative education employers, because I couldn’t face my depression or choose to acknowledge it.  I was a man, I wasn’t supposed to feel like this.  I had so many things going for me, I shouldn’t feel this way.

As life continued into my early career in finance I started to finally see the issue, but I never fully dug into my problems.  I looked into medication, I looked into how to fix depression, but I never talked about it.  I never explored my soul to find my true self, to figure out how to love myself.  At this time it was sort of ok to take depression meds, men never talk about there feelings, but pills are ok.  In the age of the little blue pill, of course it’s ok for men to just take meds to solve  a problem.  But, that was a band-aid fix.  And over time band-aids wear away.

I spun out of control before my ADHD diagnoses.  I made terrible life choices, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t work, I couldn’t function in society.  I was a mess.  It was at that point I even started to research the best way to take my own life.  Even at that point, the lowest of the abyss, my girlfriend, now wife, made the decision to stick by my side.  Without her, I don’t think I’d be here today to tell my story.  It was because of her commitment to me I decided to seek answers.  I decided I don’t care if I’m a man or not, I need to talk.  I need to share my pain so I can figure out how to deal with it.  In that time I was diagnosed with ADHD, which determined some of the causes to my depression, but also I finally took the first step on the path towards understanding, accepting, and working with my depression.

Moving forward I lost many jobs, because of ADHD and depression, most I quit because I felt worthless and was not contributing, some I was let go because my employers did not understand depression.  I was asked point blank one day, after I had come back from a few days off where I stated it was for depression, “What is depression? Like I don’t get it, how can you feel that way? How can you not be happy with a job like this?”.  I shared with them part of how I felt.  I felt lost, trapped, unable to move and breath.  I felt that no matter what I did I felt useless and alone.  None of this was true of course, but it was how I felt.  The response “That doesn’t make sense, I still don’t get it…”.  Here is my take, if you haven’t been down that road you won’t get it.  It’s like the beauty of Paris, you can’t describe it unless you’ve been there.  What needs to happen is instead of saying “I don’t get it” we need to start saying, “That seems hard and I’m here to help if you need it”.  We need to start showing our support for those that fall down, because without support it’s so hard, sometimes impossible, to get back up.  We lose so many good people each year to depression. This is our time to start talking and telling people that it’s ok to talk.  It’s ok to come to us with their problems, fears, and sadness.  We want to listen.  We want you to tell us your story.  I want you to tell your story.  I want you to get to this point where you feel like your story matters and needs to be heard.  No you may not be famous, have 10k+ twitter followers and show up on national news, but you do matter.

If you’re a man that has sat in silence because “it’s not manly to cry”, it’s your time to talk.  It’s time to shun that stereotype.  If you’re a woman who’s been told “you’re too emotional” it’s your time to talk.  If you’re a person who’s been told “why are you sad, you have everything” it’s your time to talk.  It’s time to talk world! Anyone with depression, or who knows someone with depression, speak now and don’t ever hold your peace.  Speak as if your life, or the life of your loved ones, counts upon it, because it probably does.  Let us raise our voices and break the stigma of mental illness.  Those who have fought this battle or are fighting this battle, you are stronger for it.  You are not sub-human, but super-human, because you have made the choice to live and made the choice that your story matters.  So please, today let’s talk.

The Importance of Heroes in our Lives

You would think that for all the posts and work I do for my university education that I would be sick of this.  That typing would have lost meaning and words would be hard to come by. However, lately I’ve been seeing the opposite.  I can’t wait to write and I sacrifice other things, income being one of them, to ensure I have the time to write. Not only time to write, but time to think as well.  So far everything has been such a whirlwind that we rarely get a moment to look back and see how we got to where we are.  More importantly, in my opinion, is to look back and see why we went in the direction we headed.

Heroes are those that can help shape and define our journey. Heroes can give you a sense of where you are headed and why you are heading there. I call them heroes because I admire, look up to, and attempt to learn as much as possible from them.  They are people that will always be a part of my story, the legend of me.  Knowing your heroes is the first step in understanding your journey.  If you know your heroes it can provide a template for what you believe in.  Heroes provide you with a sense of future self “I want to be just like that hero one day”.  When you know your heroes you have created images of what you see in your future self, how you want to act, and why you choose to act and be as you are and will become.  We see the impact of heroes in both positive and negative senses.

Positive heroes, or the more used term role model, create a sense of optimism.  They create a sense that you can achieve anything you set your mind to.  Negative heroes are those that can pull you down and set you on a path of self destruction. It is your choice who you align with.  Are you looking for positive influences? Or are you looking for negative influences? Do you know which is which?  Is only one alignment of heroes available to you?  How do you find the hero you know you want in your life if they are not there current?  These are great questions to ask ourselves, or from an educational standpoint our students.  Becoming a hero is something that I hope every educator is seeking to achieve.  However, finding your own heroes is a necessary part of becoming a hero and understanding what it takes to be a hero.

I know I am on a path to becoming a hero, or at least I feel and think I am on that path.  I do know who my heroes are, lately it could not be clearer, but I also have started to learn what it takes to be a hero.  I’m not sure if my heroes would be comfortable in a shout out so I will refrain, but I find that because of them I do have a foundation created to become a hero.  I understand now that it takes preparation, reflection, patience, and acting on something without the expectation of reward to be a hero.  Heroes must prepare for upcoming scenarios, they must examine things from all angles to ensure everyone is safe.  They must reflect upon their actions to fill any gaps, but also acknowledge the positives that have come out of certain situations.  Patience is needed to remain calm while navigating through an ocean of stress.  Finally, a hero should not expect a reward, they should be motivated by beliefs and values, pursuing happiness.

Who are your heroes? Why did you pick them? What do you think a hero is? What steps are you taking to become a hero, if you choose to be?

Thank you heroes for everything you’ve done for me so far! I am honoured to be learning from you or have learned from you. I know I have a long way to go, but you have inspired me to pursue my dreams and you have given me tools in order to get there.

Thank you for the image!