Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Career goals come true too!

Most of you know me through this health and running journey that I am on but few of you know that I am also working full time as an elementary school vice-principal (a journey and blog in itself).

I have only been working with the Thames Valley District School Board for 9 years.  Prior to teaching I had a terrific career in corporate Canada throughout the 90s.  I graduated from teacher's college in 1993 but there were no jobs so my mom got me working at the insurance company she worked at.  January 1994 I got another job as a claims adjuster, couple years late a subrogation officer and then I became a Y2K tester for Halifax, Wellington and ING Insurance.  In the late 90s (they realized that I had a teaching background) and was asked to move to the head office of ING Canada in Toronto to join their human resources dept. as a training and development consultant. What a terrific job, as I was able to mesh my teaching and corporate experiences into one amazing job.

ING Canada had branches all our Canada so I got to travel a ton from branch to branch facilitating workshops to employees and managers on soft skills courses such as Facilitating for Results, Dealing with Conflict and employee orientation.  My VP of Human Resources (who was amazing) heard from a friend of a fantastic program in Adult Education from St. Francis Xavier university.  ING Canada paid for me to get my certificate and it taught me so much but the best was being able to align leadership and learning, teaching and facilitating, students and adults. (little did I know that this would really come in handy later)

I was traveling back and forth from London to Toronto and home again on the weekends and it was starting to takes its toll.  I was pretty lonely in Toronto while my husband was in London trying to work and keep our home in order.  I enjoyed the traveling across Canada but it often meant that I had to cut weekends home short in order to fly out on a Sunday.

The realization that I needed to make a change came 1 Christmas when I was home and went to a craft show.  I ran into a person from my church and we were chatting.  In the middle of the conversation she said that she was sorry to hear about me and my husband.  I said "what are you talking about?"  She said that she heard that we were separated - hell no - is that what people think???  I am off doing this great career and have left my husband behind - I need to make a change. 

Just then I decided that I needed to move home, be a teacher in London and stop this travelling back and forth to Toronto.  Since my graduation from teachers college the rules for certificates had changed so I had to apply to the newly formed Ontario College of Teachers, pay a processing fee, get finger printed and all my paper work resent from the USA to be certified here in Ontario.  It took 5 months to get everything together meanwhile I was still travelling back and forth and working for ING. 

In May of 2000 I was able to add my name to the newly formed "apply to teach" network and the teaching job postings for Ontario came out.  There were lots of jobs but all in French and music classrooms.  My neighbour Mike worked at a school that needed a French teacher and he said to try for it so I did and a couple of weeks and interviews later I got hired and was going to be a grade 4-6 French teacher at Sir John A MacDonald P.S. effected September 1, 2000.  I returned to Toronto and in August gave my 2 weeks noticed - they thought I was crazy - leaving this awesome respected position in Toronto to become a teacher - yep - I remember the day I packed up my condo and left Toronto - it was a bittersweet day as I was leaving a career and some wonderful staff behind to start into the great unknown.

The best part of my story comes next. 

The TVDSB has a terrific new teacher orientation program and I was expected to attend.  They have workshops, lunch and an opportunity to sign your contract and ask any questions.  I had the chance that day to meet a women named Karen who was in charge of the orientation.  I immediately felt akindship to her as I just finished doing this kind of job in Toronto. 

Over the next several years, Karen and I saw each other often at workshops, the board office and she ended up being a very dear friend to me and my principal.  Karen gave me many opportunities to use my adult education training in my teaching career when she asked me to facilitated workshops for staff, work with leadership candidates and help create a student teacher conference.   Karen retired in June of 2010, it was a great loss to Thames Valley.  They posted her job but it was not as a learning supervisor similar to the one she had left.  They wanted to change her role so I didn't have the qualifications for this new position.  I was very disappointed because during that September 1, 2000 orientation day I told Karen that someday I want to be doing what she was doing as this the job I left in Toronto and the facilitating the learning of adults is my passion.  Turns out, no one applied for Karen's job and it is left open all summer long with a lovely interm person in the role. 

Flash forward to October 2010, a job posting comes out and it is Karen's job, but this time it is posted as a learning supervisor so I applied and I am thrilled to share that after 9 years, 85 days and 13 hours I have been promoted to Learning Supervisor, System Staff Development for the Thames Valley District School Board effected January 1, 2011.

Career goals come true too!