Author Archives: kathryn truant

About kathryn truant

Dental assistant and educator!

My Two Dads

 

This post is part of a Facebook tribute that I wrote shortly after my father Paddy died. It was a tribute to him, and to Norm, the dad who raised me. An adoptee, I met Paddy when I was 48. The first thing he said to me was, “I’ve missed you. I prayed for you every day, and I love you.” I’d missed him too, without knowing it. I’d yearned for my birth mother, and had felt the pain of separation, even though my adoptive parents loved me unfathomably, but I had never really considered a father.

My birth parents looked for me, and they found me: a 48 year old orphan who was separated by distance from the brother I grew up with. None-the-less, I was surrounded by a raucous and loving household which consisted of a husband who is my high school sweetheart and our three offspring, prodigies each in their own way, but that’s another story, and yes I’m super proud of my children, and so were my two dads.

So, how can I explain the deep affection and admiration that I have for my fathers? I am no longer worried that in doing so, I might lessen or disregard the dad who raised me, because I’m not; Norman taught me all that there is to know about patience, and unconditional love. He taught me how to swim, ski, ride a bike, and appreciate the beauty and power of nature. I had years with my first dad to absorb all the good things; he filled up my happiness reserves enough to sustain me when he died, and enough to sustain me even now. Paddy didn’t replace my dad, he simply arrived at a time in my life when I needed another father, especially one who I could love as much as Norm.

. . .

Paddy told me that he regretted not being able to see me after I was born, or say ‘good-bye.’ In the short time that I spent getting to know my new father, I learned the generosity of his love; it is reflected in my beautiful mother Catherine, and in my siblings. Paddy was battling cancer when we met, so I knew there wasn’t time to waste. Saying ‘goodbye’ to him was something that neither of us wanted to do, but at least we got to tell each other how much we loved each other.

I didn’t get to say ‘goodbye’ to my first dad; Norm died suddenly following one of our regular morning phone chats (I live in BC, and he in Toronto). I was flying out with my husband and our kids to visit him the next day. We were devastated. I hope Norm knew how much we all loved him, and what a positive impact he had on me, my brother, and my children. Mostly, I miss my dads, especially on Father’s Day.

Virtue

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Waikiki

“A virtue is a trait or quality that is deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being. Personal virtues are characteristics valued as promoting collective and individual greatness. In other words, it is a behavior that shows high moral standards. Doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong” (Wikipedia, 2009)

I’ve shared in a previous post (Inventory) about allowing my own light to shine, and taking credit for my own good work. But, I think that true virtue lives in the dark and not in the light.

Examples of virtues include: honesty, humanity, courage, generosity, charity, forgiveness, and the list goes on. If virtues are character traits that reflect goodness, I should act in ways that promote human decency, and not solely to fulfil self-worth. Self-worth will become its own reward when I allow myself the freedom to act and make choices based on the greater good. This is a form of the butterfly effect🦋 (the idea that small causes can have large effects), and certainly the ripple effect🌊 (interactions always have intended and unintended consequences).

Acting with virtuous consequences in mind is the opposite of seeking instant gratification. Virtue requires patience. Sometimes it’s easy to know immediately if we’ve made the right decision or taken the appropriate risk. Sometimes the choices we make are not the right ones (no one is a fortune teller🔮), and we learn from mistakes, hopefully without regret.

So, I try to bring positivity and hope into my day to day interactions as much as possible without the expectation of reward or acknowledgement. I want to take risks, grow, work-hard, help others (the reason for my existence on this beautiful planet🌎), be kind, and trust (other people and myself).

I’ve being contemplating two important questions lately:

– Are my actions and decisions meant to placate my ego, or to make things better for ALL stakeholders involved (myself included)?

– Do I need to take credit for every little thing that I perceive to be awesome⭐️?

I want to let others stand in their own light🌞. Virtuous behaviour thrives in the dark🌛

 

Note: I really ❤️ emojis, I do not apologize for the shameless use😉

 

References:

Wikipedia contributors. (2019, May 2). Virtue. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Virtue&oldid=895119240

Tag, you’re it!

 

ocean rhapsody

Robert Bateman’s Ocean Rhapsody (1999)

The moment we’re born, we are tagged for potential greatness. Regardless of your background, I believe that each person can make a difference by adopting this philosophy. This post was inspired by Jeff Bridge’s recent acceptance speech at the Golden Globe Awards as the recipient of the 2019 Cecile B. DeMille Award for ‘outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment’. What struck and inspired me the most about Jeff’s speech, even though I am not an entertainer (professionally 😉), was his reference to the universally well-known game of tag. Jeff also compared individuals to trim tabs (a lesser known reference, but arguably, very applicable to his message), and how this small mechanism can affect positive movement on a large scale.

Jeff Bridges Cecil B. DeMIlle Award Speech.jpg

I had to write this post because I want to remember what Jeff said; it resonates with me. I have recently taken up global activism. Like every decent person, I am disgusted by the pollution of our planet, and the tonnes of plastic waste floating around in our oceans endangering its habitats and inhabitants. I don’t live near the ocean, but I’ve seen the news and heard the first-hand stories and it makes me so sad because the oceans are our planet’s life blood. I also felt sad because I thought: what can I do?

I serendipitously found out about Fishing for Plastic from one of the dentists I work with. Her sister is the co-founder of this grass roots non-profit organization committed to cleaning up the scourge of plastic waste from our ocean’s and coastlines. Please check them out!!! They are hosting a fundraising gala in North Vancouver on February 2nd. I’m helping procure silent auction items, and I am blown away by the generosity of the people I have approached for donations: Robert Bateman (yes, THE Robert Bateman) donated a signed, limited edition print called Ocean Rhapsody. Sue Coleman (yup, THE Sue Coleman) donated FIVE signed, limited edition prints!! Photojournalist Jo-Anne McArthur and her organization We Animals donated a print as well! And, two awesome local Okanagan wineries donated wine: if you’re ever in West Kelowna, please visit the hatch, and Off the Grid. All these people and their organizations have made a difference, and all I had to do was ask.

Throughout this experience, and taking heed of Jeff Bridge’s message, I’ve learned that I am here! I am doing something right now! It is okay to act in small ways towards positive change in the grand scheme of things, no matter how small the acts or how humble the requests seem to be.
Find something that you’re passionate about.
Focus on the things that you love.
It will make a difference. On a small scale AND in the big picture.

Inventory

It’s been a while since I published a post, and it’s not because I’ve been overly busy. I had a lot of time off this summer, and I’m just trying to figure out my goals now that I’ve completed my teaching diploma. I can do a lot of things, and I know a lot of things, and I’ve surprised myself by taking a personal inventory and organizing my many attributes. Keep in mind, that I am not an expert at most of the items on this extensive list. Mostly, I need a pep talk because I am too hard on myself, and I waste too much energy focusing on negative insights. While this post is meant to be satirical, I think it’s important for people (especially woman, as much as I try to avoid genderization) to remember their strengths.

Self-deprecation is one of my best qualities; I am self-deprecating to a fault and often to my own detriment, and this is the point of my post. Performing a personal inventory also encourages me to be my best self for all the Stakeholders in my life: me, my family, my friends, my employers, my coworkers, my patients, my students, and the public at large. So, here is my list:

– I am a great mother (at least I aspire to be)

– I’m a dream wife (most of the time 😉)

– I am a good granddaughter, daughter, sister, cousin, and aunty (I hope)

– I am a good and loyal friend

– I am a dental assistant (I love what I do, and it pays the bills)

– I am a teacher (not a tester: I am saving this topic for a future blog post)

– I am adept at technology (yup, I’m a geek)

– I am an amateur zoo keeper: I am the caregiver of 1 Chihuahua, 1 cockatiel, and 2 geckos

– I can grow anything (although I’ve yet to cross-pollinate an avocado tree)

– I am a fantastic cook (I have a limited repertoire)

– I play guitar and ukulele (nothing fancy though)

– I can play the ukulele while hula-hooping!

– I’m a runner (it’s not a pretty sight, and neighbours have stopped me to see if I’m okay, or to make sure that I’m not being chased)

– I am a skier

– I am typically optimistic

– I am a lifelong learner

– I’m a blogger (at least I’m trying to be)

My father Paddy told me that ‘it’s okay to stand up and take recognition for my achievements, but it’s not okay to boast.’ He said this was while I was visiting him in palliative care for the last time, and I didn’t know what to think of his advice at the time. Am I too proud?

I’m beginning to understand what he was trying to tell me. I don’t intend this post to be boastful, especially at the expense of overly focusing on my own perceived strengths. I just need to be reminded that it is okay to feel good about myself, take stock of my achievements, and accept credit when necessary. It’s okay to draw attention to my efforts, successes, and failures (all learning moments) for all those at stake (myself included). I am realizing that self-deprecation, and expecting my Stakeholders to passively take notice of my strengths, is a behaviour that is, (and has been) detrimental to self-improvement and self-love. It starts with little things, like, when someone gives me a compliment, I should just say ‘thank you,’ and stop making excuses for my achievements or being embarrassed by the attention; this is hard for me. I am an introvert, and that’s okay, but I need not be a pushover. Thanks for the pep talk dad.

Dad

Exit PIDP

PIDP Books

I did it! I completed the Provincial Instructor Diploma at VCC!! What a fantastic learning and growth experience these past few years have been. I feel like I am ‘living the dream’ because I have a clinical position in an OMS practice, and I recently accepted a position as a substitute instructor in the Dental Assisting program at Okanagan College! To me, professional practice is about being authentic, relatable, and creating a legacy.

The final Capstone Project in the PIDP asked me to reflect on my instructional goals, and encouraged me to remain a reflective practitioner (there is A LOT of reflecting in this program). Reflection can be done in many ways, and this post paraphrases my final project. Have I addressed the diverse learning styles of my students? Have I applied the principles of Bloom’s Taxonomy to encourage higher forms of critical thinking? Are some learners better at retaining theory (cognitive)? Do others prefer a hands-on approach to learning (psychomotor), or do they learn best by how a lesson makes them feel (affective)? I believe that a combination of all three learning domains is the key to active learning.

My greatest ‘aha’ in the PIDP moment was the realization that it does not matter how well I know my subject, although this is extremely important. I discovered that what matters most is how well I can convey my knowledge, skills, and attitudes to my learners.

Learning how adults learn is key. Initially, I thought I was a behaviourist because dentistry is a vocation that requires strict knowledge and skills: pedagogy; an ‘I teach, you learn’ approach. However, the assigned readings introduced me to Carl Rogers’, Freedom to Learn (1969), and Malcolm Knowles’, The Adult Learner (1973 & 2015), and to the humanistic learning theory which focuses on a student-centred approach to learning: andragogy. I discovered that I can do this! I HAVE been doing this throughout my career as a dental assistant, and now I can articulate and improve upon how to teach adults:

– Value: Do learners know WHY something is important?
– Information: Have learners been given all the tools that they will need to learn?
– Relatability: What knowledge or understanding do students already possess?
– Readiness: What will motivate students to learn?
– Reflection: Have students been given the opportunity to critically reflect and act on what they are learning?

I elected to take the PIDP to become an educator, and it has exceeded my expectationsand I can see the value in what I have learned because I feel more confident as an instructor. Thank you, Provincial Instructor Diploma Program. Thank you, Vancouver Community College. Thank you, Jenny Leong (Program Assistant), and thank you to my instructors, Glenn Galy, Jacquie Harris, Bob Aitken, Jeff May, Brian Cassell, Alison Dewhurst, and Karen Brooke 🙂


Bloom’s Taxonomy Link:

Clark, D. (2015, January 12). Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Domains. Big Dog’s & Little Dog’s Performance Juxtaposition. Retrieved from http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/bloom.html

References:
Knowles, M. S. (1973). The Adult Learner. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Knowles, M. S., Holton lll, E. F., Swanson, R. A. (2015). The Adult Learner: The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development (8thed.). New York: Routledge.

Rogers, C. (1969). Freedom to Learn. Columbus: Charles E. Merrill.

I❤️🇨🇦

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To say that I love Canada is an understatement; I am so grateful and proud to be Canadian! I am spending this Canada Day outside as much as possible. I have fresh air, clean water, a comfy chair, and a clammy in hand.

As Canadians, we have a reputation for being friendly and polite, even amidst the adversity of our (at times) over-bearing neighbour to the south. Our Prime Minister has our backs though. I like that I can do my part in the Canada/US trade war by boycotting Heinz® ketchup, and I am sure that I can find an adequate ketchup that’s made in Canada. But, I’m worried that the ketchup boycott is the tip of the iceberg. As much as I love Canada, I also love the US. I don’t visit there often, but I enjoy their sports, movies, music, and technology (I’m a huge Apple Inc.® fan).

How far will this trade war and the tactics used by both sides continue? I’m okay with no ketchup, but what if we are asked to boycott Clamato® juice? I don’t think that there’s a substitute for the delicious drink that Canadians love to mix with our beer. I’d still be enjoying Canada Day, but with no clammy. What will my limit be? Cheers eh?!

 

My Butterfly Effect🦋

Butterfly

3260 Professional Practice Blog (Week 8): Professional Development Plan

Now that I am almost finished the PIDP, this week’s blog assignment is to reflect on, and share my future plans as a dental assistant, and an aspiring educator. I plan on continuing to be a lifelong learner. I am not an over-achiever; I am just innately and insatiably curious.

As a CDA, my licensing body, the College of Dental Surgeons of BC, mandates profession-based continuing education, and continuous practice. I am happy about his because it means that I can continue to work as a surgical assistant AND pursue a position as a college instructor. Continuing education for a dental assistant is typically offered by local dental associations. Every October, Kelowna hosts the Thompson-Okanagan Dental Society meeting. The four-day event facilitates a trade show with all the latest technologies in dentistry, offers hands-on clinics, and lectures on an endless variety of topics that pertain to dentistry and healthcare. In addition, my Health Care Provider CPR re-certification is required annually, which gives me another opportunity for continuing education. And, I am fortunate that my employers sponsor my attendance in both instances.

Continuing education as an educator will require more autonomous research. I want to continue pursuing higher education. I am enjoying the PIDP, and I want to keep learning. My goal would be to complete a master’s degree. I put my education on hold while I raised my children; now it’s ‘my time’ and I feel the ‘sky is the limit’. I am considering several avenues, and I need some serious advising, because education is time-consuming and it can be expensive. Do I continue at Vancouver Community College and enrol in the Certificate in Online/eLearning Instruction? Or, the Simon Fraser University Masters of Education Degree in Curriculum and Instruction: Post-Secondary offered in partnership with Vancouver Community College? Do I consider applying for the Business Studies Certificate for Healthcare Professionals at Okanagan College? OR, do I apply to my dream program at Royal Roads University in Victoria, for the Graduate Diploma in Learning and Technology? Do I enrol in a free Edx course on Health Professional Teaching Skills at the University of Toronto? AND, I want to design an online course some day: Edx offers a free course on Creating a Course with Edx Studio.

I really appreciate this assignment because it has organized my goals, and the PIDP has certainly inspired me to continue my scholarly pursuits, while continuing to practice as a dental assistant. One of the questions in this week’s required blog post is: where will I be in 5 years? I can only say that I hope I’ll still be practicing as a dental assistant in some capacity, and I know that I will still be learning. I call this my butterfly effect: The idea that a small change in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere.

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 5.10.45 PM I took the above photo this May in Christina Lake, BC. The fauna is a Western Tiger Swallowtail butterfly, and the flora is Washington Hawthorn flower.