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All I know is that I don't know nothin'

I stole the title of this blog from one of my favourite songs growing up from a band called Operation Ivy. The song is called "Knowledge" and the chorus has been in my head for days now as I reflect on the past year.

Today was my last day of teaching in 2014. I've never felt as tired, exhausted and burnt out as I currently do. It's been a more difficult year than most so far but one in which I've learned a lot and attempted to grow as a teacher.

As I reflect on the ups and downs of my work this year there's lots to be proud of and quite a few areas that I need to continue to work on. No matter what I do at work each day, for better or for worse, I like to think that I put in an honest days work each day and give the most love, support and guidance I can to my students.

However, what I am noticing as I get older and more experienced as a teacher is how little I actually know about everything. I feel that with age comes a realization that there are so many dynamics and aspects of the world to understand that learning really is a lifelong process. When I was a younger man, I used to think that I knew exactly what it would take to become a great teacher. I had to fall on my face time and again to gain the humility and experience to realize that I didn't know anything and had to work at my profession extremely hard to get any where close to becoming a good teacher. In the end, it's really been a process that I've enjoyed.

I spent most of 2014 trying to focus my activism and advocacy work within Edmonton's local community interacting with different organizations and individuals. As important as this aspect is to my work as a teacher of high risk youth, I would like to focus 2015 on concentrating more on my work in my classroom and working with students to get involved in the community more often. I sometimes feel that I stretch myself too far getting involved in other organizations or with other individuals and need to focus on where it matters most, with my students.

When I return to work in January I'm hoping to re-start my student advocacy/community group. We're going to be creating an indoor garden and hopefully turning that into a small business to raise money for programs at the school. With this same group I'm also hoping to run a weekly talking circle for students to come to so we can talk about many issues that students face in their lives outside of school. I'm hoping this circle will create meaningful dialogue between students and we can take action in our community to combat some of the social issues that they face.

And of course, I'd like to have a renewed commitment to my classroom pedagogy to ensure that I am constantly evolving and in tune with the culture and lives of my students to give them the most relevant and captivating education possible. I still have a long way to go to becoming a great teacher, but I at least think I'm on the right path!

Happy Holidays Everyone!