Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunshine Award Post

I have been reading with great interest peoples' Sunshine Award Homework posts, and I finally got nominated myself to do one, by none other than Carolyn Durley. Thanks Carolyn!

Here are the steps we're supposed to follow once nominated:

Step 1: Acknowledge the nominating blogger:

Carolyn Durley, whose writing is just the best. She is a wordsmith, she's brilliant, and despite being really busy, she answers everyone who takes the time to write her. Always.

Step 2: 11 random facts about me:

1-I am really, really good at whistling. I sometimes do it without even thinking, at inopportune times. I often stop in the middle of a song, look up, and realize everyone's staring at me. Whether it's due to my superior skills or the inopportune-ness, I'm not sure.

2-Whenever I sing along to a song, I always sing the harmony or the backup.

3-Many years ago, I started what is now a tradition at my old school, Queen of Angels Academy (QAA), which was that for the Christmas assembly, the teachers put on a skit for the whole school. We spoofed popular shows or songs, and turned it into a story about the students of QAA. One year it was The OC, another time we did the Solja Boy dance. I heard that for Xmas 2013, they did "What Does the Fox Say?"

Top shelf of my pantry
4-I hoard Celestial Seasonings' Candy Cane Lane Tea. It's only available at Christmas, and I must have it all year.

5-I have a sister who is not my twin but who might as well be. We do look alike, have similar glasses and hair, and often show up to an event wearing identical clothes, purely coincidentally. And we both live in Dorval, a small suburb of Montreal, which makes things interesting when we shop. Once at Reitmans, I was considering a blouse when the clerk said to me "Oh you're back! Changed your mind?" It turned out my sister had just been there before me and had tried on the exact same blouse.

6-I'm not overweight, but I do very carefully watch what I eat, so I follow the Weight Watchers points system. It is the perfect combination of health, psychology, and math.

7-Biggest regret of my life - not learning to play piano when it would have been easy to. I just know my life would be even better if I could make music on a piano.

8-I have a terrible blushing problem. Even thinking about blushing makes me blush. I'm doing it now.

9-I keep a feel-good file, on the advice of Kalid Azad, of It includes keepsakes from events that I organized and that went really well, like own high school's 25th reunion, which was no easy task considering the high school closed in 1979. (So did my elementary school!) It also includes things I've written and am very proud of, like an article I wrote about my mother that was published in the Montreal Gazette, and my chapter in this book.

10-Some of my worst experiences came from being a parent of kids who didn't like school. I suffered terribly from disappointment, resentment, and stress, and so did my kids. I also made so many mistakes during those years that I don't think I will ever forgive myself, or the teachers who treated my kids as if they weren't really their students, but merely irritating distractions. I can only hope my kids will forgive us all.

11-Some of my best experiences came from being a parent of kids who didn't like school. The fact that there was no safe place for these two creative, insightful, intelligent, kind, sensitive, honest, brave souls opened my eyes to the shortcomings of our schools, and myself as a teacher. I learned so much about my own students and always pictured my own kids in their place to ask myself how I would have wanted the teacher to treat them if they had been mine.

Step 3: Answer the nominating blogger's 11 questions:

Carolyn's 11 Questions:

1-Favourite quote or saying?

Coincidence? I think not!

2-If you could do your post secondary education over again what (if anything) would you do differently?

I would have participated in theatre, both performances and classes.

3-What inspired you to go into education?

I never had a choice in the matter - teaching was as natural as breathing to me. Before starting school, I nearly went out of my mind waiting to learn the things my older sister was learning. Fractions especially fascinated me. When I finally learned how to read, I taught other kids how to, including my younger brother, because I assumed they were all suffering from the same impatience I had!

4-What is your favourite educational related book you have read and why?

I Am Malala. It's not just about what happened to her, it's about her father, and his ideas about education. That man should have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize along with his daughter. And they both should have won.

5-If you did not have to work what would you do instead (or would you continue to work)?

I would still do my job, but someone else would sure as heck do the cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc, even the uploading and downloading part of my job that takes so much time. But I might work a bit less and travel way more!

6-What is your favourite characteristic about yourself?

I treat everyone the same, regardless of who they are, how famous they are, how old they are, what they look like, or who's watching. Because that's the kind of person I like to be with.

7-What new goals or aspirations do you have for 2014 (professional or personal)?

Same for both areas - play WAY more. Alone and in teams.

8-What one country that you have not visited, would you like to and why?

I have never been off this continent, so that's pretty much wide open. I have always wanted to go to India though. And the wine regions of France.

9-What is your favourite way to unplug and unwind?

Gardening, and drinking wine. Not at the same time though!

10-Strangest food you have ever eaten?

Sushi. I know, I don't get out much.

11-What is the scariest thing you have ever done?

I jumped off a high ledge at a swimming quarry a couple of years ago. Then I did it again right away and didn't let myself hesitate. It was so scary and exhilarating that my heart rate goes up even now when I think of it. I know, I don't get out much.

Step 4: Ask 11 questions:

1. What's the last book you read that had a profound impact on you, personally or professionally - fiction or non-fiction?

2. What is your number one most-hated-pet-peeve grammar mistake that when you hear it you want to scream? If you can't decide on one, I'd LOVE to hear them all!

3. How many careers have you had?

4. Are you the same person face to face as you are online?

5. What celebrity are you certain you could be good friends with if you ever had the chance?

6. Everyone says pedagogy first, edtech tool second, but has it ever worked the other way around for you?

7. What are your desert island foods, record albums, movies? (That only counts as one question.)

8. Who/what always makes you laugh?

9. Do you spend any time at all playing something - alone or competing with others?

10. What was the best professional conference session you ever attended, and what made it the best?

11. Have you ever watched or heard of the movie Être et Avoir? If not, what do you consider to be the best movie about teaching?

Step 5: My nominations for 11 bloggers:

My list of people was really long, but it got shortened when I eliminated people who don't actually blog, as well as those who I know have already done this sunshine award post. I hope you all don't mind being nominated (again if that's the case), and I truly look forward to reading your responses, if you decide to do this!

Kalid Azad @betterexplained
Christian Drouin @christiandrouin
Jennifer Silverman @jensilvermath
John Golden @mathhombre
Gary Strickland @SciAggie
Gregory Taylor @mathtans
Mark Sanford @hfxmark
Jason Bretzmann @jbretzmann
Daryl Bambic @dabambic
Verena Roberts @verenanz
Ines Renner @IRRenner
Susan Van Gelder @susanvg


  1. Hi Audrey!!! Great pic and thank you for the lovely intro :) I love your sense of humour, always is in place and evident, both in person and in your writing. You always get me to smile. I love that you have a blushing problem (I do too) and I used to hate it..but finally I have embraced it....what the heck. I also always your honesty and openness about yourself and this shines through in your reflection. Thanks for being such a rocking peep Audrey! À la prochaine,

    1. Tks for these kind words, Carolyn, it really means a lot to me. And it was so fun to do this! Another way that social media does way more good than harm. Hope to see you soon, my friend!

  2. Thanks for the nomination! Finally got to the questions:
    (I like your answer to 6, by the way!)