This Week in Ontario Edublogs

There was no show this past week but I’m looking forward to rejoining Stephen next week on Wednesday at 8:45 live. In the meantime, that didn’t stop me from reading some pretty decent blog posts. I’m sharing them below.

Even cooler is this Friday #TWIOE post. It’s the 500th post that I’ve written with this title. If you believe in milestones, then this is one for me. You can read the previous 499 from here.


I can’t begin to be authentically empathic with the people who live in Ottawa and had to live through the protests and all that went into the events that the rest of us witnessed through the evening news. Try as I might, my only exposure were the short news clips that we’d get on the news and the “continuing coverage”.

This is clearly an angry post from Amanda. As I worked my way through it, I got angrier and angrier myself.

After reading Amanda’s post, I’m closer to understanding. This isn’t a short or easy post to read if you have any kind of conscience. Her thoughts start with forgetting to wear a mask and returning to get one lest she be confused with a protester.

This is an incredibly powerful post and did more to share the thoughts of people who had to live through this than the 15 second sound bites that came through on the news. You had to feel for Amanda and I just can’t imagine being in the same position. With her post, I think I can certainly understand better.

And I love the quote on her face mask.

Unleashed and Trapped

Staying on the theme of first person reflections about the events in Ottawa is this post from Heather. It was great to see her back at the keyboard; it’s been far too long. I’m sorry that the topic had to be this.

In a conversation with another teacher, the event was put into terms that all teachers could understand.

A fellow teacher said that it is like having a school full of every angry, acting-out grade 8 student you have ever met. Can you imagine a teacher letting a group of bullies take over a class, intimidate and insult fellow students, re-arrange and barricade the class, block the windows and do whatever the hell they want? 

Of course, not. I’ve never taught Grade 8 but I do remember Grade 9 students in the first weeks of secondary school. As a teacher, you set your rules and your expectations for students. You know that if there are major issues, you have a department head, vice-principal, and principal standing behind you.

But what are your thoughts if you’re not supported? What happens when the rules and laws are not supported? Classroom reality seems a little petty compared to what Heather describes.

On the Importance of Civics Classes

When I saw the title to Marie’s post, I thought that it might be a continuation on the Ottawa theme. I suppose it could and you’ve got to believe what the topics of discussion would have been in Civics classes lately.

The post will stand the test of time as she focuses instead on the importance of the course and how it’s taught by those who do so. I thought that she did a really nice job of addressing that.

The comment to her post was interesting from a teacher who taught the course but was surprised to realize how little students know about Current Events. There’s a call to action for every Civic teacher. I remember my son who loved the course because it was a chance to talk with others or event debate the events of the day. His classroom had their own subscription to the local newspaper. I’ve never regretted having the kids watch the evening news ever since.

BUT the difference is that what happens in political arena affects your life no matter who you are. There’s a much bigger payoff for everyone if we all have this information solidified.

Marie’s quote brought a smile as there was a time when he thought he might get into politics! Certainly, the Ottawa event had to be motivation for every Civics class in the province.

Consequently, doing Civics right has never been so important. Thanks, Marie, for this insightful post.

There’s Math in Our Woods

Of course there is!

Rob’s post took my back to high school and snowmobiling out to a friend’s house in the county to visit and then go out for lunch. When I met his mom at the door, she told me that he was out at the sugar shack. (This isn’t the same but I couldn’t resist.)

Anyway, I’d never been to a real sugar shack before so it was an eye opening experience for me. I got a complete lesson in handling sap, boiling, stirring (and stirring and stirring and stirring) and didn’t realize it at the time but a whack of mathematics!

Rob shares his anticipation for getting out to the woods and the same experience. It kicked off with a Twitter chat moderated by Jonathan So.

Researcher’s Journal – Looking for a question

What are current history teaching methodologies used by history teachers and taught to teacher candidatesHow are historical thinking concepts beginning to enter the school system?

Paul’s back to doing some of his thinking out loud and in a blog post.

Big questions are something that we always encourage in students. I think we think that it just comes naturally to those who are or should be inquisitive. Paul’s post kind of scuttles that train of thought or at least lets us know that it’s not coming easily to him.

His quote above and the thoughts from a couple of the posts above have got me thinking that the discussion of teaching methodologies for History and Civics classes couldn’t be more relevant. Between Ottawa and what we’re seeing now in Ukraine amplifies the importance of getting it right – relevant, fact-checking, seeing alternative viewpoints, …

I can’t get over how great and timely his question is. There should be all kinds of extremely worthwhile research falling from it.

Learning about Self Love

Amy notes that it feels weird talking about “self love”. Imagine trying to write my thoughts about her thoughts on the topic just by reading the title. Of course, I had to dig through it.

She doesn’t address the topic superficially. She goes deep, provides resources, and shares her thoughts about her own personal routines. There’s a bit of a crossover between “Self Love” and “Self Care” although she is clear that they’re not necessarily the same thing in her mind.

She doesn’t think that she practices “Self Love” but I suspect that she does more than what she would admit. But, she does ask a couple of good probing questions.

What advice would you give me to learn about loving myself? How do you love yourself?

I think these are two excellent questions. I can’t help but think that those who are in the teaching profession just don’t have enough time at the end of the day to take care of themselves. For me, it was always a case of being totally exhausted to the point that I’d often get sick as the bugs got the better of me. To make things worse, I was always taking summer courses to upgrade my qualifications and there just wasn’t time left for myself.

My best advice to her was given to me by my superintendent who, I didn’t realize at the time, was watching me manage my job and spent a morning with me talking about the taking care thing. His advice has always stuck with me – when you’re scheduling things, schedule personal time first and then let everything else fall around it. It made a huge difference to me.

“A good teacher is like …” … do you agree?

Laura’s taking an AQ course and had to finish that sentence and an internet search revealed this image that I think every teacher has seen.


We all feel that way at some point.

I thought that it was so appropriate that I read Laura’s post right after I’d read Amy’s. That image says so much.

I firmly believe that the education system will eat you alive if you let it. And, maybe some people are OK with that. I thought I was until that conversation with my superintendent that I talked about in response to Amy’s post.

Taking care of one’s self doesn’t make you weak or less efficient. I firmly believe that it makes you better and stronger.

There’s my answer, Laura. Thanks for asking the question.

I’m glad that I’ve committed myself to writing about Ontario Education blogs. I find them inspirational and I’m always pumped and recharged when I schedule the post for Friday mornings at 5:00am. I hope that you can take the time to click through and read all these fabulous posts.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter for more.

  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts 
  • Heather Swail – @hbswail
  • Marie Snyder – @MarieSnyder27
  • Rob Ridley – @RangerRidley
  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Amy Bowker – @amyebowker 
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura 

OTR Links 03/04/2022

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.