click to add title – PK in pieces

On September 29th I am presenting a Pecha Kucha named click to add title at the Markham Public Library.

The draft of my talk is constantly shifting.

Here’s where I am so far.

Check back often.

Slide 1

click to add titleI love these moments. The beginning of a story. Anything can happen. My mind begins to wander and reach for meaning. It feels … open.

Slide 2

click to add title (1)When I lived in Toronto I could spend hours people watching. People wondering. And I would build massive story lines around the action I saw on the street. In the subway. And from coffee shop windows.

Slide 3

click to add title (2)It’s funny how quickly I came to know the characters. Their morning patterns became my understandings of them. From my side of the window I felt I knew them.

Slide 4


What don’t I know about this picture? What do I want to believe I know? What is the danger of building this story too quickly? What message could be obscured by my biases?

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podcast with Tanya Murray [convo notes]



no clock here

minutes passed to hours
moments became ours
where yours and mine
into us.
made light fill our minds
moved through space
and time
found sacred spaces
secret places
hiding in plain view.
all the while in this
made long lines
of life and limb
reaching to imagined skies
fingertips blazing
in animal pantomimes,
we offered our best
and worst
to our adopted spirits.
drawing fingers opened wide
reaching for that hanging
sweet breath.
and breathe we did.
finding harmony within us
and between us
where namaste waited for us
to accept the offering
that felt so new
and yet so familiar.
and grateful
head bowed down
in awe
in honour
heels planted like
oak roots and
ass to the sky.
such a strange salute
to the universe
but damn
it feels good.
now we accept
we are fractured
and fictional
and factioned
we find focus,
in the breathing.
on this emotion
in the breathing.
on that sick relative.
in the breathing.
on that random guy over there.
in. the. breathing.
my gods.
what time is it?
a prescient metaphor
but cruelly imprecise.
I know what time it is.
we know
the time has come.
we leave in slow motion
caught in the gravity of memory
so keep breathing
keep seeing
as the door opens
and light speed life
taunts us
disses us,
I offer this,
there is no clock here.
wonder expands
and expects
a willing child
to follow
so we do
we will
we are
wonder full.

podcast with sylvia duckworth [convo notes]

particles [rough draft]


I wait.

Held by time.

As if this weight was matter.

I listen like empty halls might
Without response or repose.

Cemented, silent,
And storykeeping.

You lay,
I watch.

Anything could happen right now,
But it doesn’t.

I’m coaching
to my mirror.

And I feel like iou and you and you;
Kaleidescopic intent
Is too intense.

Two tents just you and me.

A hill between us.


This page is
In language foreign to me.

Last page,
smoke and mist.

Next page
is blank.

And I realize,
That I father like my mother,

I brother like a mentor.

Like life is a skinned knee.

Walked it off, stretched it out, kept moving.

But we are not moving.

Except for my sharp pencil.

That keeps breaking.

The son in me
Hopes that this time
I can keep the point.

But the paper
Steals my confidence.

Blanks on white space,
Remind me that you
And I share the same air
But see the sky differently.

You cloud gazing.

Me watching shadows.


i c u

Hello teacher candidate. I have been thinking a lot about you this week.

To be honest, I think about you often in the last month of school. There is something about the energy at the end of the year that makes me nostalgic. I think about do overs and do no mores and new beginnings.

I have seen you once or twice in the hallways, staff meetings and meant to connect with you. See how you’re doing. Whatcha up to?

But, I’m going one way, you the other.

Each with some pressing task to complete.

Now with the summer upon us, I really do wish that I had made a greater effort to make time for you. Just to sit for a bit, share resources, trade stories. Relate.

I feel lousy that I looked busy because I’m not really sure that I was.

Sometimes I was just ‘hustlin with paper in hand’. Not really in the moment. Not really minding the gaps. In automatic transition.

We all have stuff to do, yet at the end of the year I wonder is it always the right stuff.

Besides wrapping up this school year; the reports, the cleanup, the archiving. I also start to lean forward into the next school year. So many possibilities, so little time to map out a reasonable plan. And I suspect that September will arrive, like always, in the same Navy Seal sneak attack pandemonium that it does every year. I emphasize LIKE IT DOES EVERY YEAR. 

Blindly, I fall into the over planning trap every summer. And I am tripping into the trap line every June. So, in September, I have a whole lot of stuff that may or may not be en pointe because my planning has not met my students yet.

So, unofficially my summer will be spent imagining new paths, resting, relaxing, getting bored, and still trying to get life stuff done.

What are you up to?

Degree, done. Faculty of Ed, done. 60 days from now you will have officially arrived – an occasional, part time, or full-time teacher.

What are you feeling?

My dad once told me that 1 year of work-world equals 10 in school. In his view, textbooks and lectures got you to the door with a random set of keys. Too many to count, too little time to examine them all.

You may have felt this reality in one or both of your practicums.

He riffed on this idea whenever he was involved in hiring new team members. Other times, it was when he was nostalgically accounting for his humble beginnings with the bank.

I started with the bank, in the mailroom, right out of highschool … now I hire business graduates to do the same job.

Pete Cluff – on job competitiveness

When he reflected on the value of experiential learning to his success he accepted open mindset in its fullest form. And I have come to appreciate the power of taking risks because of it.

I often said yes before I fully understood what I was getting into.

Pete Cluff – on risk

My dad upgraded or upskilled with surgical precision. His continued learning and growth mindset was the edge he had on his competition. And he always knew the where and what of the next wave of change because he was generally standing in water chest deep, watching the white caps forming in the distance.

This approach served him well. He choked on a wave or two but somehow managed to swim with sharks throughout his career. This brings to mind the vastness of the invisible bits in teaching. Some just below the surface, though not necessarily sharklike, can still surprise and nip.

Had I sat with you, I would have shared a word or two about wellness, and mindfulness, and community. All are powerful repellents for EDU bug bites. All are bits of me that only connect over lunch time chats and coffee runs to Tim Horton’s. These micro structures build immense internal supports in my EDU world and could for you too.

I really wish I had shared them with you.

For now, I leave you with this.

Tina Zita @tina_zita  posted a great question about teacher leadership on her FlipBoard and in my response I proposed that leadership means openly and obviously stepping into uncomfortable spaces, learning on the fly to fly, and maybe even supporting others in the process when you are not completely sure of the destination.

I plan to take my own advice and meet you in September.

I challenge you to do the same.