You People Who Come Here

In response to “you people who come here” comments.

I have never seen such an outpouring of support, in defense of immigrant families of colour, in my entire life. And yes, I’ve been a Chinese Canadian since birth, growing up in a very white neighbourhood. So I’ve paid attention.

For the first time, it is no longer out of place to see this response uttered by someone outside of my progressive arts circle:

“If you are not indigenous to this land, or if you weren’t brought here as a slave, then you come from an immigrant family. Period. You are a settler. You are you people too.”

Slow. Clap. Thank you.

As much as I don’t particularly care for the whole Don Cherry debacle, it was encouraging to be able to take a backseat to these conversations around his loss of employment, and watch others speak up for those who are talked down to. I feel relief. We’re finally doing this together as a country.

And I just want to thank everyone who has found their voice and are standing up for those who are Othered. That’s as contemporary Canadian as you can get🍁




Compassion in the City

On the train into the city for a meeting with Unity’s Chapters youth this morning.

There was a man sleeping at the end of the line when I got on, and I figured he pulled a Karen and fell asleep while heading home. So I gently tried to wake him to let him know he was at the end of the line.

When he stirred but didn’t wake, the TTC employee nearby said, “It’s ok. Sometimes people just stay on the train.”

It took me a beat to recognize that yes, in this cold weather, some people probably do just stay on the train. And the TTC employee knew well enough to leave him be.

I just thought that was such a simple, and yet deep, gesture of compassion.




Empowering Youth: Student-Led Conferences


Long day, but worth it.

When kids get a chance to take the lead as they reflect on and share their progress, they begin to take ownership of their own goals and achievements. It’s so amazing listening to them articulate to their parents what they’re good at, and what they can continue working on. I’m just there to support the conversation.

Had a bunch of monkeys tell their parents today that they need to learn better self regulation strategies, and even told their parents to take away their videogames if they misbehave 🙈 Straight from their mouths! Student-led Conferences are so effective 😂

Inevitably, you will have kids who feel awkward taking the lead, as they are unfortunately used to being silenced for one reason or another. Hopefully, this process will help break the cycle and can demonstrate what can happen when we give kids a voice.

More of this tomorrow morning✌🏼

#StudentLedConferences #Progress #StudentEmpowerment #TeacherLife




Core Beliefs of Successful People

Source: Core Beliefs of Successful People

1) I can choose myself – I don’t have to wait on anyone else to hand me the opportunity. I will seek out the opportunity on my own.

2) Success is inevitable only in hindsight – no one truly can predict the success of their projects.

3) I am not self-serving. I am a servant – serve others the best way you can, and you will be successful because it is genuine.

4) I may not be the first … but I can always be the last.

5) I will do one thing every day no one else is willing to do.

6) I don’t build networks. I forge lasting connections.

7) Strategy is important, but execution is everything – everyone knows the strategy, and that knowledge is accessible to anyone, but not everyone has the courage to execute. Have the courage to execute.

8) Real leadership is measured in years, not moments – build years of helping people feel better about themselves and they will want to go where you go.

9) Work comes first. Payoff comes later.

10) I can make history — and I will.

Hidden Qualities of Remarkable Bosses – what to remember as a teacher

9 Hidden Qualities of Stellar Bosses

1) They forgive… and they forget.
2) They transform company goals into the employees’ personal goals.
3) They look past the action to the emotion and motivation.
4) They support without seeking credit.
5) They make fewer public decisions – they allow those who are most qualified to make the decisions.
6) They don’t see control as a reward – they are therefore not see as someone who exercises control, but as someone who helps.
7) They allow employees to learn their own lessons – no reprimanding.
8) They let employees have the ideas – setting up circumstances that will allow employees to have the great ideas.
9) They always go home feeling they could have done better.


Everyone has choices in life.

We are constantly presented with circumstances, some easy to handle, some challenging enough to test our strength of mind and character. And the way we respond and react is entirely up to us. Sometimes the choices we need to make are hard, and may go against our desires in the moment; but what’s important is that our choices align as closely as possible to the values and principles that we hold dear. Because how else can we ever trust ourselves to make the right choices when it matters? How can anyone be trusted to make the right choices?

And it’s OK to falter sometimes. It’s OK to make mistakes, have lapses in judgment. We’re human; we’re not perfect. But once the mistake is made, get your act together. And make a better choice next time.


An Ode to the Linguist

Very often, our ELL students come from countries that differ greatly from our own. Not only do we need to be sensitive and adapt to their unique language development, but we also need to be sensitive to their acculturation as well. The following poem, written as a Spoken Word piece, touches upon the following experiences that many ELL students have to deal with:

• Adapting to change: dealing with culture shock, dealing with leaving friends and family back home, dealing with the loss of their old life
• Socio-emotional growth: trying to reach across language barriers and make friends

I’ve written this as an ode to our brave students – our brave students who face learning an entirely new language in a strange new place while trying to hold on to the language of their ancestors.

Enjoy! 🙂

An Ode to the Linguist

I watch your pen slide across your notebook
Curling the magnificent script with ease
And suddenly
I wonder about your life story
The truth of old friends
The depth of your family
Your past life across the sea

You see, my dear student
It’s so easy to place blame
On you.
You, who cannot speak the same
Way as me
Cannot write with the same
Words as me
Cannot hear the same
Melodies as me
How can I even begin to share complex ideas with you?

I watch your eyes droop, as if shamed
By the shackles and chains
That have had you tamed
Since you first came
To this place you must face
With a brave face
And absolutely no tears allowed
Because you cannot go home anymore anyway
And what’s the use of crying?
This is your home now.

Yet as I watch your pen slide across your notebook
Curling the marvellous script of your heritage with ease
I see your eyes flare with light
A light that goes beyond the sounds of the ABCs
A light that goes beyond the new decrees
That you must seize
As your own
A light that burns brighter still
As your thoughts ooze down your arm
To your hands
To the pen you grip tightly
And spill out as a story to tell the whole world
And quite rightly
You do it in the script of your family
Your history

And as I watch your pen slide across your notebook
Curling the unceasing script of your heritage with ease
I realize that you are a Linguist
A Linguist for your mother
Your father
Your brother
Your sister
Your friends
So use your language, Child
Because I can see that you want to speak
Of the unfamiliar breeze
Of the 8-month long Canadian freeze
That makes you sneeze
More than you ever have back home
Or the sounds of children playing
Out in the school yard
And you are desperately praying
That you knew what they were saying
So that you can join them too
And make this strange new place your home

But keep writing, Child
So that I can watch your pen slide across your notebook
Curling the beautiful script of your heritage with ease
So you can break free of those shackles and chains
And lift your eyes with no shame
Because your spirit cannot be tamed
Take your time
Try your best
I will be here to help you
And one day, though we may not speak the same
Write the same
Or hear the same
We can write and speak our stories