Ode To An Amazing Journey: Or I Can’t Believe They Paid Me To Do This For 28 Years!

“The moment you know, you know you know.”  – David Bowie
Where Are We Now? The Next Day Album

I cannot remember where I was or the exact moment I ‘knew’ it was time for me to ‘toss in the chalk’ and call it a career. All I know is, at some point within the past year the whispering voice of doubt within, eventually gave way to a roar of certainty that 28 years service in education (21 in the classroom & 7 as a technology coordinator) = time to move on .

What a glorious 28 year journey though!  At its best – life in and outside of the high school classroom really was one daring adventure after another, a truly wonderful odyssey. I had the amazing and humbling honor to lead, be inspired by and, at times, inspire the students entrusted in my care.


I spent the first 3 years of my career teaching English and Religion at Philip Pocock Catholic secondary school in Mississauga.

It still beggars my imagination to realize that I actually got paid to share with my students my passion and love for: my faith, family, social justice issues, literature, media studies, drama, athletics, computer studies, and the natural environment. I will forever treasure the moments spent in the presence of every one of the thousands of students (with all their complexity, incredible ‘beauty’ and ‘baggage’) who walked through my classroom door every day.

The last 7 years as a system technology consultant and E-Learning contact has been an astounding whirlwind of networking and professional learning with a myriad of wonderful teaching collegues, I.T. support staff and technology consultants. Time away from the frenetic pace and pressures of the classroom, (lesson prep, marking, always being ‘on’ and chained to the bell) also allowed me the opportunity and time to pursue my dream of completing the Master of Catholic Thought Program at St. Jerome’s University.

Still, it would be dishonest of me not to admit feeling a little like the poet, “my heart aches and a drowsy numbness dulls my sense as though of hemlock I had drunk,” as I bid a bitter-sweet farwell to a marvelous 28 year run in education.

This sweet sorrow is softened by the following memorable highlights of a long, satisfying, rewarding and blessed career:

  • Supervising a Philip Pocock student dance at which the Canadian new wave band The Spoons performed in the mid-80’s
  • Physically breaking up a fight between two male students outside my portable and walking both of them to the principal’s office
  • Coordinating and viewing countless dramatic performances by my students of scenes from a variety of plays (Macbeth, R & J, Man of La Mancha etc.)
  • Facilitating at 2 Race Relations Camps for students from both local school boards
  • Participating in teacher-led skits/performances at numerous school assemblies (e.g. Hans & Franz, teacher bands etc.)
  • Advisor of the social justice committee at St. David C.S.S.
  • Advisor for the St. David Perspective school Newspaper & Video Yearbook
  • Joining in a ‘Pro-Life’ walk with teachers and students outside an abortion clinic in Toronto
  • Accompanying World Religion students to Holocaust conferences and talks by Holocaust survivors and visiting the Holocaust Memorial Center in Toronto
  • Facilitating workshops at the St. David Week For A Better World Symposia
  • Teacher liason accompanying/supervising WCDSB students participating in dual credit courses at WCDSB & Conestoga College’s Communication Program
  • Coordinating the Ping Pong Panic fundraiser in memory of Michael Longo
  • Hosting and speaking with former Canadian Heavyweight boxing champion George Chuvalo during a Drug Awareness Assembly at St. David
  • Supervising students during numerous Shakespearian and other performances (Phantom of the Opera, We Will Rock You etc.)
  • Playing ‘Let’s Play Carpe Diem’ with my English classes
  • Giving out ‘Fearnback’ bonus bucks to my students for particpating in class activities
  • Inner-city social justice awareness walk with my grade 10 Religion students
  • Leading my grade 10 & 12 Religion students during class retreats
  • Meditating with my grade 11 World Religions classess in the school chapel
  • Coaching boys wrestling, hockey & soccer teams and girls soccer and baseball teams
    (including my daughters Melissa & Michelle on the girls soccer team)
  • Coaching boys hockey players / teams during tournaments in Cape Breton NS and Lake Placid NY
  • Accompanying my media students to a taping of the Camilla Scott day-time talk show in Toronto
  • Hosting guest speakers / Chilly Beach creators/actors and former students Todd Peterson and Steve Ashton in my media studies classes
  • Watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy film marathaon at the Princess Cinema Theatre with my media and English students
  • Leading my media studies students in a silent protest to voice their concern over the ministry of education terminating the Gr. 11 media studies credit
  • Witnessing the priceless look on the faces of students who finally understood something they struggled mighty hard to grasp
  • Participating in the St. David Fast-in-Action in solidarity with the hungry poor
  • Having my son Jonathan as one of my students in my grade 10 Information Technology course at St. David
  • Canoeing, portaging and camping with grade 12 students during 5 trips to the Algonquin Park interior
  • Participating in intramural ball hockey at St. David and being on the inaugural championship team – the Red Kellys
  • Legendary ping pong games during lunch with the Mighty R (Runstedler) and other Celtic legends
  • Stage managing during St. David’s performance of The Wiz – my daughter Melissa as one of the actors.
  • Supervising at numerous St. David Coffee Houses
  • Attending 3 Graduation ceremonies at Philip Pocock C.S.S. and 18 Graduation ceremonies at St. David – 5 of which involved my own children
  • Managing the Interactive White (SMART) Board Pilot at Waterloo CDSB
  • Co-chairing the annual Waterloo Region Technological Skills Elementary Competition
  • Creating the provincial Catholic resource – Ethical & Responsible Use of Information & Communication Technology: A guideline for all stakeholders in Catholic education – (This resource was shared with the former Pope Benedict and the Pontifical Council for Social Communication in Rome.)
  • Coordinating the first-ever online course offering at Waterloo CDSB
  • Managing 10 online courses and teacher training at Waterloo CDSB
  • Leading professional learning sessions on Ethical Use of ICT, E-Learning and digital resources for teachers and administrators at numerous conferences/PD days.

Now as I prepare to fill my hours with other passions and dreams close to my heart, I sit and wonder . . . was all this a “vision or a waking dream? . . . Do I wake or sleep?”

Onward Sancho! The quest! The quest!