May Guest Blogger Patti Henderson
Grab a coffee and sit down to read about our Guest Blogger of the Month, Patti Henderson! This month Patti – an educator and an account executive of Pearson Education Canada – will be sharing with us her insights on learning, resource development in Canada and her life. Pearson Canada is one of the largest Canadian leading learning companies, and the number one French resource publishing company in the world. Patti travels across Canada, as well as the Western provinces to connect with educators. Thank you Patti for sharing with us your love of coding and app development.
Name: Patti Henderson
Currently residing in: Coquitlam, BC
Company Name: Pearson Canada
Role in Company: Account Executive
Connect with her on the following Social Media outlets
Personal Blog : http://www.vagabondphotography.ca/blog/
Favourite Blog Posts or Articles we can read: http://www.vagabondphotography.ca/2017/03/26/all-that-we-are-is-story/
April Guest Blogger Patti Speaks about Education, Life and Photography
Where do you live?
I live in beautiful Coquitlam, British Columbia. I have lived in BC for two years now and each day I am amazed at how beautiful this province is! I love my new home.
Tell me a little bit about your family?
I grew up on a small farm in Southwestern Ontario with my Dad, Mum, and sister. I started out life as a tomboy and followed my Dad, Jack, everywhere on our farm and while I didn’t love doing chores, I am grateful for the lessons that farm life taught me: resilience, hard work, hope and the freedom to explore. I moved out to BC two years ago, and so I miss my family back home in Ontario daily. My sister, Jenny, is a nurse in Sarnia, Ontario and she and her husband Brian (a teacher!) have three fantastic kids all currently in university and college. I am very proud of the great young people they have become! We recently lost our dear Dad, Jack, to cancer, but we are grateful to still have our Mum with us. Her maiden name is Bobbie McGee…true story!
What is your educational background?
I attended high school at North Lambton Secondary School in Forest, Ontario. I then received my undergrad at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, where I majored in International Relations and Physical Education. I then attended Althouse College at the University of Western Ontario where I received my Bachelor’s of Education.
How did you get become an educator?
I loved school growing up and that love can easily be attributed to the many inspiring teachers I had throughout elementary and secondary school. I loved the act of learning and wished to continue participating in it as a career.
Why did you decide to work for Pearson Canada?
I have been in educational publishing now for 24 years (yikes, that seems like a long time!) and although I didn’t get to pursue my planned career as a teacher, I have been fortunate to participate in supporting learners in a different, and often creative way through educational resource development. After working for Oxford University Press and McGraw-Hill Ryerson, I moved on to Pearson Canada almost 12 years ago now and am very glad I did. My teammates here in Canada are passionate, creative and thoughtful professionals who all share the same goal, which is to help people make the most of their lives through learning.
What inspires you?
This is such a great question! Kindness. Hopefulness. Resiliency. Compassion. In everything.
What has been the most beneficial part of your job?
I have had the good fortune to experience almost every role you can have in educational publishing, from sales, to marketing and publishing. What intersects all three of these is the chance to work daily with our customers to learn how we can do what we do better. So, the time I spend in the field, visiting educators across BC (my territory includes the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and also the Kootenays) informs how I can support the development of resources that can have a positive impact on learning.
What resources inspire you?
I love to read! I guess it is fortunate I am in publishing! I am inspired by so many resources and ideas. On Sundays I generally get to spend a day at home and just read. I usually start my day reading a weekly round up from one of my favourite bloggers, Maria Popova of Brainpickings.org. Brainpickings is a “interestingness digest” of ideas that challenge me to think and reflect. I then move on to whatever stack of books I’m currently reading. Today, once I have finished this wonderful activity (thanks for thinking of me, Victoria!), I will pay a visit to these: Mary Oliver’s Upstream, Will Schwalbe’s Books for Living, and revisit one of my favourite reads of this year, Richard Wagamese’s Embers.
What inspired you to become a teacher?
My teachers from Kinnaird Public School and North Lambton Secondary School did! I am so grateful for the constant support all of my teachers gave me as a young learner. They helped me follow my passions (sports and writing), they encouraged me to grow, and they, along with my parents, instilled in me the life-long habits of hard work, resiliency, and best of all, the curiosity to keep learning each and every day. Even though I am not a teacher now, these habits have served me well in my career in educational publishing.
How has teaching children empowered you?
My time in the classroom was unfortunately much too short (and now, quite long ago!) but one doesn’t soon forget lessons learned from the classroom. I still feel today the remembered joy one experiences from helping a student arrive at an “aha moment” when a light comes on, a spark is ignited. My time in the classroom also taught me to be patient and compassionate with the learning process. Patience does not come easily to this fiery red head! 🙂
How has working with Pearson empowered you?
I am SO very fortunate to get to work with thoughtful, passionate professionals each day! The Pearson Canada team is made up of extraordinarily hard workers who care very deeply about creating the very best learning resources that are humanly possible. I got to witness this passion and commitment first hand when I worked at our head office for eight years. We were always the last people to leave the office each day, tired but elated because what we do can have a positive impact in the life of a learner. We love what we do. It gives each of us a chance to make a difference in some meaningful way, and so, like teaching, educational publishing is a calling, and a wonderful, fortunate one!
How does Pearson’s mission statement – To help people make more of their lives through learning. We believe that companies, like people, are Always Learning empower you – empower you? The world of education is constantly changing, evolving and improving. We see and experience this every day. To work for a company that understands this and allows all of us the curiosity and freedom to evolve and change and hopefully improve with educators and students is a lucky place to be!
Tell me more about Pearson and their materials.
According to the website “Pearson Canada is Canada’s leading learning company. We provide innovative learning materials, technologies, assessments, and services to educators, professionals, and students in order to help people everywhere aim higher and fulfill their true potential.” Here in Canada, we are seeing an amazing and transformative shift in the way we develop resources. We have taken a page from the software developer’s playbook and have adopted design thinking as much more creative, intuitive and thoughtful way to develop resources that truly support our teachers and learners. We seek out a problem to solve and then create smaller prototypes that can be tested in the classroom to ensure we are on the right track. It is a challenging process for us as the format is typically the last piece of the puzzle in this equation, and we pivot many times throughout the process in order to get it right. As a result, the end product may look very different from when we started, but will be better because we have worked with educators to build something that will truly work in the classroom and support both teachers and learners.
What do you see happening with education in the future?
What a journey we have been on! I do see education continuing on the path to more personalized learning, and I do see us harnessing the power of technology to enable this shift. I am an “early adapter” when it comes to technology but I firmly believe that technology is just a vehicle that can support great pedagogy in new and engaging ways. I also see schools continuing their role as the engaging hub of their community, and I do think that the educator’s role in empowering students to crave learning throughout their life will remain and grow far into the future. We are fortunate to live is such interesting times!
How do you network and work with others in education?
I am a big fan of Twitter! I find it to be one of the best communities that allows educators to share and grow on a daily basis. I participate in my own way by sharing interesting things I find with the broader community via Twitter. I also have had fun curating interesting articles via the app Flipboard. I have a variety of magazines that I am building on an ongoing basis based on a variety of professional and personal interests from Education Technology to Photography and Publishing.
What does a normal day look like for you, in your profession?
Well…it starts early! I am usually wide awake before dawn so I can spend some time, over coffee, to learn from my Professional Learning Community on Twitter. I then I hop in my car and either visit district offices or schools across half of beautiful BC. On any given day I may visit three different schools or three different districts! I love it when my day also includes taking a ferry ride to get to my first appointment (having grown up in Ontario, this highly civilized way to travel is a novelty for me, even after two years on the road). I may be learning about the realities of the classroom in the development phase of one resource, or sharing what’s new in a recently published resource, or participating in author meetings. Each is exciting and energizes me. I am fortunate!
What experience or experiences in education stick out in your mind?
As a card-carrying introvert, I value the many deep, engaging conversations I have with educators each day in their classrooms or district offices. I love hearing the joy and passion educators bring to their roles and how that can translate into a new idea for an innovative resource. It is the very human interaction I have with each person I meet that often sticks with me long after I have visited a school or district.
What hobbies do you have?
You ask the best questions Victoria! While my career takes up much of my day and life (happily, as I truly love what I do), it also affords me the opportunity to travel across this gorgeous province. Wherever I go I usually have my camera with me and so photography is my most passionate hobby. I love capturing a moment in time, or the unending beauty that surrounds us, especially here on the west coast. And it feeds my creativity on weekends. It is a hobby that you can eternally grow into.
Tell us about your personal blog and what made you create it?
I have a photography blog that I started about 7 years ago now, called The Adventures of a Vagabond Photographer. At that time, I was working as a marketer for Pearson, living in Ontario, but traveling across Canada. I took to taking my camera with me and capturing the gorgeous landscapes that we are graced with here in Canada. I originally started my blog to let my family know where I had been and that I enjoyed my stay, but over the years, it has grown into a platform for sharing life experiences through photography. I find writing therapeutic and from week to week, or month to month I sort out my life through sharing the images and words that continually shape me. Life is at times wonderful and challenging. I feel fortunate to have a place to capture the best bits and to have friends and family who share my journey along the way.
Anything else you would like to share or tell about your life?
My Dad, Jack, who recently passed away, taught me a lot throughout his long and very good life. I miss him daily, but his life lessons stay with me and help shape how I try to live each day. Life is about the journey, not the destination. Enjoy it fully. And don’t forget to check the oil!
Thank you to our guest blogger this month!