This morning, I read a post by Doug Peterson in response to Vicky Loras‘ Story Challenge. After sharing Doug’s post on Twitter, I got involved in a conversation with both him and Vicky, and I promised that I would share my own story.
My story is definitely different than Doug’s. It’s both funny and serious, and very much me. At the end of last year, I made a difficult decision to change schools. I had been at my last school, Ancaster Meadow, for 9 years. I taught many different grades — from JK-Grade 6 — in many different classrooms, and even taught some of my students for as many as four years. I got to know parents and families, and I made amazing connections that were difficult to leave. But I also knew that I wanted a change and needed a new and different experience. My amazing administrators, Paul and Kristi, supported me as I looked at other teaching possibilities, and that’s when I applied and got offered the Grade 1 teaching position at Dr. Davey School.
I love my new experience. I knew when applying to Dr. Davey about the differences between the schools. I also heard wonderful stories about the students, the community, the supportive staff, and the fantastic administrators, and while the unknown is always scary, I knew that this change was the right one for me. And it was. While I prepared myself for many things, one BIG surprise was the parking situation.
- There is not one pull through spot at Dr. Davey. I try to NEVER back out of spots. Even at the mall, I will park as far away as possible to just ensure that I get a pull through spot. Backing up is frightening. There is far more potential for accidents.
- There are no good visuals to help poor parkers like me. On “good weather days” I can use the yellow lines as my visuals, but what about when these lines are covered in snow? There is nothing to guide me.
I may be able to park when I can see the lines, but these snowy months are scary ones for me. Without visuals, how was I ever going to get into a space? At Ancaster Meadow, I devised a winter parking system, but that system wasn’t going to work here. I needed to figure something else out. For a while, I thought that Mother Nature was on my side, and it would be a snow-free year. I wasn’t so lucky though, and since December, we’ve had many snowy parking days.
Here’s my new approach:
1) Arrive early. I always give myself at least 10 extra minutes in the snowy weather. This gives me plenty of opportunities to pull in, back out, and re-park.
2) Make a choice about pulling in or backing in. I can’t really back into a spot, but I can pull right up to the spot in front of me and then reverse. 🙂 This doesn’t work if there are others in the parking lot, but thank goodness, this isn’t the case when I arrive. Changing schools has also forced me to learn how to reverse. If I take it slow and check behind me a lot, I’ve actually mastered this new driving skill. 🙂
3) Clear away the snow and look for a yellow line. Yes, I am the person that does this. Before turning off my car, I open up the door and run my boot along the ground. I search for the yellow line. If I can’t find it, I try parking again (and again, and again, and again). I will admit that today, after attempt number six, I got out of the car and cleared away a spot’s worth of snow until I found a yellow line (little did I know that there was actually one on the other side of my car 🙂 ).
While this may seem like quite the system — and it definitely is — I have also learned a lot from these parking adventures.
1) Persistence pays off. It may take multiple attempts, but I have gotten into a spot every single day.
2) High expectations matter (for everybody). I wrote more “parking emails” to the staff at Ancaster Meadow then I can even count. They all changed their system for me, and I do really appreciate that, but now I wonder if I should have fought so hard for this new approach. I could have learned to “search for a yellow line” over nine years ago, but I never did. The presence of a handicapped spot right near where I like to park, and the absence of any additional visuals, forces me to problem solve. In the end, it helps me meet with success … no matter how many attempts this may take. 🙂
3) We all need to learn to laugh at ourselves. Every morning, I giggle as I compose my parking tweets. The same was true for years as I wrote my parking emails to staff. I know that my parking skills are comical. And while there may be some truth to these tweets, there’s also nothing like a little comic relief.
My story is one of change — both the expected and the unexpected changes in life — and how something as small as parking can have such a big impact on who I am and what I’ve learned.
What’s your story? Please consider sharing it as part of this blogging challenge.
Do you know what is better than morning parking tweets? Parking blogs, that’s what! I do love how you can make anything into a reflective learning experience, Aviva.
Maybe your next teaching assignment will be as a driving instructor. 🙂
Thanks for the comment, Kristi! While writing this post, I thought: this would be the perfect post for our parking blog. 🙂 In all honesty though, if my next teaching assignment is as a driving instructor, I’d suggest that everyone stay off the roads. 🙂
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You have inspired me to design boots with built-in scrapers. Dragon’s Den watch out!
Happy to hear that you are continuing to learn valuable life skills 🙂
Hahaha, Paul! I see that your sense of humour hasn’t changed. 🙂 Love your Dragon’s Den idea. If you become a millionaire, I want a portion of the profits for the inspiration — or maybe I’ll just settle on a pair of the boots. 🙂 As for me, hey, I try to always be learning! 🙂
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l love how you use your everyday conflicts to show something that gets me thinking.
Thanks Yusra! I’d love to know more about some of your thoughts. Maybe you’d even like to blog your story. What’s an event in your life that helped you learn and grow?
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