I saw a psychic in June who gave me some sage advice. "Jo-Anne", she said, "use your fear as a spur. Stop letting it hinder you, and let it drive you forward." This advice came on the heels of the question, "Are you a teacher?"
"No..." I replied.
"Why NOT??", she questioned.
Fear, I told her. The fear of not getting accepted to Teacher's College, and wasting my time (and money!) on the application. "STOP!" she told me. Stop being afraid of the unknown and jump in with both feet. My fear, she feels, comes more from my fear of success than my fear of failure. If I'm successful, then what? I don't know about that. If I am accepted I know 'what'. I will be a teacher, and a damn good one at that! It's just getting past that first hurdle that has me terrified.
Well, I've decided (or am in the process of deciding) to put that fear aside. No more dangling my toes over the edge and contemplating going in the pool, I'm jumping in with both feet!
I've always wanted to be a teacher, but didn't think it was possible after I switched my major in University from French and Spanish to Political Science. Over the last few years I have learned, however, that I can teach primary grades (JK-6) with my degree, which is exactly what I would like to do. A little more research recently has shown me that my grades - which I was concerned about - are not really an issue.
The teacher's college here in London requires a 70% average in your 10 best courses. A few calculations yesterday helped me determine that I am sitting at a 75.3% in my 10 best courses. Better than I thought!
So I am no longer afraid to apply - whatever happens, happens. Que sera, sera, right? I'm wondering now though if I should apply for next fall or the fall of 2009. My reason being: competition. I thought I could get away with a "mature student status", seeing as I have been out of school for 10 years. However, there is no such "perk" that is considered. We are all looked at equally based on those top 10 course grades. I wonder if waiting an extra year and getting some volunteer experience at a school in would up my chances of acceptance.
Decisions, decisions. It shouldn't be this hard, and sadly I think I'm making it harder than it needs to be. It's that stupid "fear" again. I will conquer it, and I will emerge victorious!!!!
The picture inserted is called "The Paycheck" by Norman Rockwell. The cheque in his hand reads "Goodwill". This is one of my all time favourite Rockwell images (for obvious reasons), and it now adorns my wall. Thanks, Dad.
This is a story that was published in the Sarnia Observer on Thursday, August 9th. I was very touched by the words the reporter wrote, and astonished to see such a beautiful article written about my dad's passing. I had to share it.
'Mr. Goodwill' John Gifford dies; HE HEADED GOODWILL INDUSTRIES IN THE REGION
JACK POIRIER Thursday, August 09, 2007 - 16:00 Local News -
He was known as Mr. Goodwill. John Gifford, a 69-year-old Scotland native, devoted the better part of his working career to serving Goodwill Industries Essex-Kent-Lambton and the people it assists.
Following a lengthy battle with cancer, Gifford died last week at the Bluewater Health palliative care unit. His humble, yet fierce work ethic, served as an inspiration, says Goodwill executive director Kevin Smith.
"He was a man who was passionate about everything in his life," he said. "His legacy will live on."
Gifford served with the agency for 19 years, retiring in 1995. He was Goodwill's first executive director and was the architect of Goodwill's work experience program.
Gifford recently told an Observer reporter that the program helped prepare countless people for successful careers.
"Everything he did, he did with enthusiasm," Smith said.
He said Gifford worked hard to convince local employers to give Goodwill clients an opportunity. His work sowed the seeds for what is now a successful program that provides employment opportunities for people with barriers to employment.
Gifford also expanded the retail operation, moving from a small store on Victoria Street to a larger site on Christina Street.
Yet, he always credited his dedicated staff and committed board of directors for the agency's success.
He was recognized last year with an award named in his honour, the Gifford Goodwill Award, which recognizes local companies for hiring individuals with special needs.
"When he wanted to get something done, he made it happen," Smith said of Gifford. "He was a fighter."
His courageous battle with cancer surpassed doctors' expectations by more than three years.
Gifford also worked as an educator with Alexander Mackenzie high school. His community activism was well regarded, having assisted with the Highland Games and serving as a committee member with the Canadian Cancer Society.
Gifford also worked at State Farm Insurance and was a member of Elks Lodge, Masonic Liberty Lodge 419.
"John's passing is a loss to the community," said Smith. "We're going to miss his laughter and his passion for life."
Thank you for your messages of condolences and your friendship. It is appreciated and will be remembered always.
John Douglas Gifford, April 25, 1938-August 2, 2007
Surrounded by his loved ones, after a long, courageous battle with cancer, John Douglas Gifford of Sarnia passed away at Bluewater Health Palliative Care, Sarnia on Thursday, August 2, 2007, at the age of 69.
John came to Canada in 1956 at the age of 18. He loved Canada so his family followed. He lived in Brantford prior to coming to Sarnia in 1971. John worked at Alexander Mackenzie Highschool, assisted in the Highland Games, worked at State Farm Insurance, was a member of the Elks Lodge, Masonic Liberty Lodge 419, was the Executive Director of Goodwill for 19 years and was a co-owner of Mr. G’s Coffee Shop with his wife. After retirement he worked as a Shuttle Driver for Bailey Toyota where he found a new family. He was also a committee member with the Canadian Cancer Society for 5 years.
Beloved husband of the late Barbara (Edwards) Gifford (1997) and partner of the late Velma Heath (2003).Dearly loved companion of Marielle Parsons.Loved father of Rob Gifford and his wife Ellen, Kim and her husband Richard Jackson, Ian Gifford and his partner Carol, and Jo-Anne and her husband Brad Bishop.Dear grandfather of Kevin and his partner Sarah, Kirstin, Jensen, Haley, Jarrett, Alice and Jack.Loving brother of Shirley MacDonald. Predeceased by his parents Mary and Robert Gifford. Also survived by several nieces and nephews and many close friends.
Cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be held at St. Paul’s United Church, 360 Devine St., Sarnia on Tuesday, August 7, 2007 at 12:30 pm. A time of fellowship with the family will be held following the service.Family and friends will be received at St. Paul’s United Church on Tuesday from 11:00 am until 12:30 pm. A Masonic service will be held at St. Paul's United Church at 10:30 am prior to visitation on Tuesday.Sympathy may be expressed through donations to the Canadian Cancer Society or the charity of your choice.Memories and condolences may be sent online at www.smithfunerahome.ca Arrangements entrusted to SMITH FUNERAL HOME, 1576 London Line, Sarnia, Ontario (519) 542-5541.
Gone from this earth, but never forgotten and always in our hearts.