Happy New Year!
Better four months late than never, right? I almost wasn’t going to write a “new year” post this year but, as I get ready to return from parental leave, it feels like the only right way to get back to work! I asked Mary and Kath to share what they’ve been up to in 2020 and their plans for 2021. Here’s a little update from each of us:
When the pandemic became a reality in the spring, I, like many, rediscovered a love of walking. I clocked many hours wandering through my neighbourhood in appreciation of morning and evening ambience. I continued working toward my teaching certification through the University of Victoria. I particularly enjoyed the summer institute on Indigenous Education. Even though it was online, the instructors found ways to bring in nature, experiential learning, and deep reflection. The rest of my summer was spent working part-time as a gardener, tending my own garden, and playing the Sims (in which I also gardened, digitally).
This fall, armed with many cloth masks, I completed my final teaching practicum at Esquimalt Secondary, and was hired on the last day as a substitute teacher in Greater Victoria. I am grateful to be able to spend time with my family during this strange time. Finally, I am continuing to lead Language Partners BC as we offer language exchange programs online and work to become a registered cooperative.
2020 was a year of peaks and valleys. Our baby learned to walk on the many, many ventures to our local parks and playgrounds during lockdown. We were able to celebrate all our family birthdays with friends and family outside, over the course of the summer. I appreciated my neighbours and neighbourhood like never before – this summer our apartment became a home.
Professionally, after a rocky transition back to teaching after maternity leave, I started at a new position in the new year. I am now working at a school for students that have learning disabilities, and teaching as a grade 7 co-teacher. I am thriving there and learning so much every day. I finished my Special Education certificate during maternity leave so am happy to put that to use. These days my interests are in learning how to teach math to hesitant and anxious learners – which is challenging given my own precarious relationship to the subject. I am also focused on incorporating more Indigenous ways of knowing into my curriculum, as well as local stories and traditions.
I feel hesitant to say it (because I know how hard it’s been for others) but 2020 was a pretty good year for me overall! I successfully defended my PhD candidacy exams just before lockdown, spent the next two months soaking up one on one time with my daughter, and then welcomed her sister in early June. For the rest of the year, my partner and I were both on parental leave and (mostly) enjoyed just being together as a new family of four. I have felt especially lucky to live in Victoria where the weather is mild and the COVID-19 case numbers have remained low.
Since everything has moved online, I have also been able to participate in several events that I normally wouldn’t have been able to while on leave. I even presented at the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese SoCal Virtual Conference with colleagues from the Spanish for Social Justice Teacher Network which I continue to facilitate remotely. I’ll be officially returning to my PhD in May and have several things to do before then – starting with presenting this website!
The Esperanza Education website is getting updated! Although our blog is always fresh, the rest of our website has been in need of some edits for a long time now (like, years). It now accurately reflects who we are and the services currently on offer. These include English and Turkish lessons; translation and editing services; and language education consulting including for Indigenous language revitalization and the creation of language exchange programs. I’ll be chipping away at design and other elements in the weeks to come. Take a look around and let me know if you find any typos!
From all of us at Esperanza Education, we wish you a happy, HEALTHY, and language-filled 2021!