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Reflections in Nature and in the Classroom

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Beautiful reflections off the Joffre Lake.

A few days ago my husband Valery Milner and I had an amazing hike in the Joffre Lakes Provincial Park in BC. As the summer was winding down, we took some time to enjoy nature and reflect on our lives. While we were hiking up the trail, meeting people speaking many different languages, I couldn’t but think how the beauty of nature can unite people. Nature is something we share and hopefully care to protect. I think the feeling of awe one experiences when hiking in the forest or by the lake, is very empowering. I think passion for science and curiosity about the world around us can unite people as well and can give us energy and inspiration. This is something that I always remember while teaching future mathematics and science teachers.

While admiring the beautiful reflections in the waters of the Upper Joffre Lake, I couldn’t but reflect on my own life and teaching career. Who we are is reflected in how we interact with our family members and friends. It is also reflected in our interactions with our students, in our choices about how and what we teach. I have been a teacher for a quarter of a century now (I followed in my mom’s footsteps). I officially started teaching in Israel, then continued in the US and eventually ended up teaching in Canada. I worked in middle and secondary schools, as well as taught at post-secondary institutions. During these times I naturally had my ups and downs. However, something always drew me back. Coming to the classroom knowing that you have an opportunity to make a difference is exhilarating. You also meet interesting and inspirational people. Most importantly, you learn with them and you learn about yourself.

Reflecting on my teaching career, I think what drew me to it, is my natural curiosity for the world around me. I love this opportunity to interact with inspirational people, to ask questions, to try and figure things out. As tomorrow is the first day of the new academic year here in North America,  I would like to wish all my friends and colleagues, and of course all our students a wonderful new academic year. I know we all will have our ups and down, but I hope we all will have time to pause and to appreciate this wonderful opportunity to be students and teachers. Have a great new academic year. Remember to pause, breath and reflect…

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