Pausing at a Checkpoint

Buttercup
Buttercup captured on the last day of #Summer2013

I like taking time to honour the changing of the seasons.

Last Saturday was the last day of #Summer2013. People will say it was an awful summer, but I can’t think like that. I spent the day outside, breathing in the fresh air of northwestern Ontario, capturing images of the flowers still blooming on the side of the road, in my garden and along the trails. I thought of all the unexpected changes over the last three months – our daughter’s engagement, our son’s new position with Goldcorp, the crazy attempt to get into Toronto during the flood, the week in Muskoka, the Ranger Jamboree in Huntsville. There were campfires, reunions with lake friends and family, special times on the dock and in the boat. We raised chickens, had our most successful garden ever, and we sold our camp on Manitoulin Island.

This summer I also gave up my role as a secondary Principal.

When I decided to accept a new position with the Ministry of Education, I could think only of all the new possibilities. I didn’t realize how difficult the reality of giving up a leadership position in a school was going to be.

NRRDHS
Photo shared by @colleenkr (Colleen Rose)

It seems like only yesterday that I was working on “entry plans” that started with building relationships.

They don’t teach you in “Principal School” how to walk out the door. For many nights after handing in my keys, I saw the faces of my students every time I shut my eyes, because it’s not about leaving a building, it’s about walking out on people who depend on you.

Raleigh Falls
Raleigh Falls Near Ignace, in Northwestern Ontario

The end of summer is also the beginning of fall.  Before long, the breathtaking brilliance of colour, the intense angles of light and the woodsy fragrances force us to pause and take it in.  Summer memories begin to take a back seat as the daily changes around us capture our attention.

As I move on in a new role in education, I am excited about how I can continue to make a difference in a different way – how I have more time now to focus on work with teachers to build capacity in digital learning. This new role brings opportunities to connect with leaders throughout the province and to think deeply about how we can best meet the learning needs of Ontario students.  It is powerful learning and important work.

I miss my students.  I treasure the opportunities to work with teachers from my former schools and hear the stories of how our students are progressing in their lives and in their learning.  They continue to be in the forefront of my thinking as my role in their lives and my sphere of influence changes.

Red Rock (during the first week of fall 2013)
Red Rock (during the first week of fall 2013)
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