Some interesting tidbits about your teacher... almost all of this is true!
There are a few principles basic principles I strive for in my life and teaching practice:
- self-reliance -- taking responsibility for one's actions; fostering hard-working and hard-wearing characteristics
- interdependence -- an ethic of care; working together with mutual respect for imaginative ends
- balance -- carving space for all of things that bring joy; being willing to sacrifice some rewards in order to pursue deep goals
- curiosity -- asking thoughtful and provocative questions at every turn; turning stones to know what is underneath
More Philosophy in "Turning Stones" -- my Professional Growth Journal • More career stuff in my Curriculum Vitae
This is my 12th year at D.P. Todd and my 19th year as a teacher. I've also been a husband for 15 years and a dad for 10. Add all those up and divide by my IQ and you get a very small number.
Although I set out to become a Social Studies teacher, I have had many enjoyable teaching detours along the way, notably in English, Art, and even some Drama and Career Planning back in the mists. I've also enjoyed coaching, fixating on technology and organizational design, and various aspects of leadership. Before I was a teacher I wandered around in the woods, dug in the dirt, looked at plants, and made maps for a living (no kidding).
Binding all these things together has been a lifelong fascination with the natural world, social history, and language. I believe it is this "core" that has drawn me to all of the jobs, hobbies, and pursuits I have joined, and it forms the basis for my ongoing curiousity as a learner/teacher. It also accounts for my interests as a writer, reader, wanderer, and for my devotion to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.
I love teaching and I love learning. Not all the time, or in every way, but enough that these things haunt me and consume most of my daylight.
A History in Education
Duchess Park Secondary, Prince George, Class of 1987. This was the back field and rear view of the high school. Duchess was torn down and rebuilt between 2008-2010. The grounds around the school have been home to many schools over the years: Baron Byng Secondary, King George V Elementary, the old PGSS that later became the Board Office, and now the new Duchess. In Geography we talk about this phenomenon as the "evolution of a cultural landscape."
University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC) - Bachelor of Arts in English & Geography 1994. The Clock Tower (foreground), Buchanon Tower (left) and Main Library (right) were iconic landmarks in my 4.5 years at UBC, but the Grad Centre (2nd photo) was really a home away from home. It was here that large pots of coffee were consumer (or great draughts of ale on occasion) and "Inklings" styled conversation with great friends occupied many hours each week. This was also a staging area for various adventures into the semi-wilds of the Endowment Lands or weekend trips to the mountains.
Simon Fraser University (Burnaby, BC) - PDP (teacher training program) 1995, Master of Education 2004. The little bench area (right), surrounded by vinemaple, oregon grape, and swordfern, was place of calm and reflection for me during my studies in the Education building. The design of these nooks, and of the grander forms on the SFU campus (left) were the work of architect Arthur Erikson. Like many others, I have a love/hate relationship with his creations, most often love, though. I paid attention to these things in large part because of a book on human-scale architecture I read in 1991, A Pattern Language, by Christopher Alexander.
Nice Quote Section
“There is something bigger than fact: the underlying spirit, all it stands for, the mood, the vastness, the wildness.” - Emily Carr
"We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep" - William Shakespeare
“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.” - Jack Layton, 2011
"Arise, arise, Riders of Theoden! Fell deeds awake: fire and slaughter! Spear shall be shaken, shield shall be splintered, A sword day, a red day, ere the sun rises! Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!" [King Theoden at the Fields of Pellanor] - J.R.R. Tolkien
"It is not enough to be industrious; so are the ants. What are you industrious about?" - Henry David Thoreau
“In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors.” - William Blake
A History in Beards
The Swiss Army Knife
I have had a swiss army knife on my person or close nearby pretty much every day since 1976. That's when my dad brought one home for me from Switzerland. The tool of choice for MacGyver, the Swiss Army Knife has a special place in my heart. When I pulled it out of my heart, it was even more special.
Vehicles I'd Like to Own
??? Dream Vehicle. I think this would be awesome. Let's just say my expectations about vehicles tend towards the utilitarian -- this is where I'd like it to go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJXTBZLRfR4
Some favourite places
Farm and Forest near Ryder Lake, BC. This is where I was married. It belongs to some friends who let me build a cabin at the back of their property, within earshot of the Chilliwack River in the valley below. Started it anyways, and they finished it. Last I heard there was a skunk living under the cabin. There are quite a few trees on this property that I planted, mostly firs, but also some pines, gingko, chestnut, giant sequoia, and a hazelnut that originated on my grandparents' farm in Abootsford. The cabin features a door and windows from my grandparents' farmhouse. Their farm is long gone, the land levelled, and now sprouted with suburban housing.
Where Hwy 16 crosses the Willow River. Some good memories of wandering through the forest, fishing in the river, moving around rocks in the small creek that feeds into the river, and making little camp fires down at the water. There are certainly more spectacular natural wonders in BC, but this curious spot is close to town and I've got a history with it.
A History in Vehicles
1973 Buick Estate Wagon (less avacado than this one). This was our backup family car (the one I was allowed to drive) when I got my license in 1985. A real pig... you could hear the gas flowing to the engine under your feet. Power seats & windows were cool, though, plus I could fit about 10 people in it.
1972 Dodge Charger (mine was green like this but had a vinyl roof & a 318 engine). My dad paid $900 for it in 1986. I drove this in Grade 11 and 12 and for the next few summers until the price of gas, repairs, and speeding tickets caught up with me. I regret not keeping it around, I felt like a real Duke of Hazzard, especially on the backroads.
1978 Toyota Cressida (silver); my parents' main car and a nice ride -- I loved all Toyotas after this. I smashed it up in 1988, much to our collective regret. I was on a date at the time, and did a U-Turn on the highway looking for a mini-golf place that used to operate south of town. Last date, too, for that relationship. Probably for the best. That accident may have actually saved me a lot of grief. Thanks, Cressida.
1978 Datsun 510 Superwagon -- this photo is a close match although mine was grey. I bought it from my brother-in-law for $1. Drove it for 8 months during my 2nd to last year of university (1992/93) for the price of insurance, gas, and 1 litre of oil before it died. The floor took in water, hence a damp mushroomy smell in the back seat. Everything kind of went at once: lights, breaks, starter, ignition. When the tail lights stopped working I attached flashlights to some rust holes at the back with some bailing wire. When covered with red cellophane and turned on, they almost looked like tail lights from a distance. Although I did not feel particularly safe in a vehicle that always had one tire in the grave, it was also a nice feeling to know that you could simply walk away from it if you had to. The gas gauge was broken, so I had to walk away from it often when I ran out of gas, or push it for a number of blocks to find a gas station. Getting rid of it was tricky -- after a number of phone calls I found an autoweecker that would tow it away for free in exchange for its value as scrap metal.
1976 Dodge Custom Pickup (again, a close match; mine was gold coloured and uglier). I got mine from a friend Derk who got it from another friend (all free!). The "golden dog" lasted for a few adventures in 1993/94 but it took every dime I had to keep the tank filled. The carb was wonky and the tires were bald. I lit it on fire once on Whitbey Island, no real damage done, and sold it to my cousin for $200. I spent this money on a single bottle of port which was eventually consumed by the guy who gave me the truck in the first place. I think that's called Karma.
1981 Toyota Corolla. This is actually it. I bought it from my sister in 1994 for $500 and broke it in with a trip to California. This vehicle was one of my favourites. The engine was indestructible (close to 400,000 km when I got rid of it) but everything else eventually fell apart. I had an art class paint it with industrial mistints once, then I painted it purple, then it sat in my driveway for a couple of years before I gave it to some guy for his kids to drive on the back of his farm. For all I know it is still running.
1987 GMC pickup. Took this pic at Eaglet Lake. I bought this from a friend Steve for $1000 and drove it from 1997-2001. I liked having the box, which (with a canopy) made a great camper. I replaced the engine in an expensive trip to Saskatchewan to visit my girlfriend (now wife!), and used this truck to move many people in and out of good places and bad. I gave it to Bob, a teacher friend who fixed it up for a lawn care business.
1993 Jeep Cherokee, bought at the local vehicle auction in 2000 for $5000. Although we loved this SUV like a brother, after chugging along for 10 years it developed significant personality deficits. Yet another Thielmann car sold for scrap metal.
1987 Jeep Cherokee. Teacher/buddy Norm sold this to me for $800 in 2002. It was a decent 2nd vehicle for a few years but started to fall apart, eventually wouldn't start. I sold it to a mechanic for $100 and it was still seen running around town for a couple of years.
1990 Grand Wagoneer. This is the sexiest and dumbest vehicle I've ever had. Really high curb appeal and really bad gas mileage. It was the kind of vehicle that MacGyver would have owned. I paid $4700 for it in 2006 -- far too much but I just had to have it. I spent some time and money working out carburetor issues, but it never quite seemed the powerhouse it should have been. Someone plowed into me in 2008, doing enough damage that the vehicle was considered a write-off, although it still ran ok. ICBC paid me $5000 for it based on what it would cost to find one just like it, so in the end it all worked out just fine. Photo is a close match. Nuf said, I'm getting teary-eyed.
2003 Honda CRV. First responsible car in a while. Cost $10000 in Kelowna in 2009 and it's tight even though it came with 170K km. It has become a bit trashed with the wear and tear that kids bring to a vehicle, but ran great with few issues until I started to use it to tow a tent trailer. A spate of repairs in 2015 (to the tune of $6000) made us wonder if we kept this vehicle too long. 4 cylinder 5 speed manual transmission. 250K km as of 2016.
2001 Honda CRV. Great 2nd Vehicle (my ride). Picked this up a the Surrey Trade-In Centre for $5400 in 2010 with close to 200K km. Runs great although the gas mileage is not great for a 4 cylinder automatic. As of 2016 it is starting to show wear and tear, and it should probably be sold while it is still a useful and safe AWD ride for some young driver.
2007 Honda Pilot. This confirms our transition from Jeeps to Hondas -- three of each so far. Our mechanic really likes the engines on the pilots. We bought this in 2015 from a somewhat sketchy dealer in Coquitlam, one of 2 Pilots in the lower mainland that met our search criteria on Autotrader. So far a great ride and lots of room for the chittlins, but terrible on gas and does not handle with the agility of a CRV.