the past has passed

As a K-13 student, growing up, I was fooled into believing that the sage on the stage method was the only tried and true instructional practice that would lead to my success as a student. We were taught, tested, drilled, homeworked, derogated, compared to others, overlooked, underestimated, expected to listen to hours of lectures each day, and told “it has always been done this way”. 

There were some really bright spots along the way to be fair, but as many students, unfortunately, find out things change drastically year over year. Even if my experiences were not the norm, there are still others who went through something similar. The cherry on this crud sundae that I am sharing with you is that it was all amplified tenfold in university, but that post will have to wait. Until now, I really never had the scope or tools to consider why? 

After spending the better part of this month reflecting on the past year, it seemed like a good idea to look forward at the road ahead rather than through the rearview mirror of what truly belongs in the past. 

the audacity of it all

Why would anyone so young and uneducated dare to expect anything different let alone differentiated? It seemed that education even into the 2000s was more about control and conformity than the pure pursuit of knowledge, deeper understanding, and meaningful opportunities to put learning into action. Many teachers of a similar vintage as mine learned quickly that those desks were in rows for a reason, that the ancient textbooks weren’t going to cover themselves, and that the first assignment of each year was going to be a retell of what you did on your summer vacation. UGH!!!!

This time provided many eye-opening experiences that required some working out before stepping through the classroom doors in 2009. They can be summed up in a few words: sterile, rigid, and underinspired. 

I never really liked the oppressive nature of my past educational experiences. I have worked hard to unlearn them since becoming an educator. Lately though, I have been reckoning with these truths again as I try to shake them once and for all. Admittedly, it takes effort not to let them creep back into my interactions disguised as something else. Being stuck in a rut can fool you into believing it is a well worn path. Taking time to be mindful of this is especially important as I welcome another 2 teacher candidates into the classroom for Term 2.

I guess we all have to confront our own needs, wants, and desires in the workplace and see if they align with our current realities or not. In that spirit here’s my reflection exercise for you to try if you went through a similar schooling experience or wish to avoid inadvertently providing one for your students. 

taking stock

How much of your past experience from being a student is guiding your leadership in the classroom? I had to work on this especially knowing that learning in the 70s  and 80s was so drastically draconian and undifferentiated.

How do you infuse positive talk with your students each day? More importantly, how are you including positive listening to them? Avoid repeating phrases we were told as students at all costs? Here’s a classic: “If you just work harder you will get it eventually.” For me, eventually was years afterward no thanks to those teachers. What I needed was time and a clearer breakdown of the concept along with some guided practise. Please know that students are usually trying their best why wouldn’t they? 

Here’s another blast from the past: “How come you are the only one who doesn’t get this?” This might as well have been my theme song for grade 13 Math Functions and Relations? How is that supposed to help me or the other students who are too paralyzed with fear to raise their hands? I’ve felt this sentence trying to pass over my teeth and past my lips, but have also developed strategies to make sure it doesn’t happen. 

One more car from the trauma train: “Your brother never had a problem with this.” This was what my sister had to endure. She never deserved to be treated that way. To this day she continues to inspire me despite the attempted spirit murder she went through. It is a terrible injustice to compare siblings in the classroom. Please for the love of pound cake do not let this happen and call it out when it does. 

And finally, and more positively, how are you embracing the future? Does it include space and time for student voice, creativity, equity, intersectionality, identity, inquiry, design thinking, team problem solving, and otherliness? If not, what, other than the chains of the past, is holding you back from adding one, two or all of them to your classroom?

I am asking these questions of myself as a reflective exercise too because we have all come across it through our own years of sitting at our desks while educator after educator leads us through the lesson(s). Yet, even as we were taught multiple intelligences, strengths based learning, zone of proximal development and so much more from Gardner, Maslow, Marzano, Friere, hooks et al. If you are thinking “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” right now you can still benefit from a little proactive maintenance knowing that it is crucial to constantly refine what we do and how we do it in order to ensure a way for our students engage, wonder, and grow towards the future and not the past.

 

Teachers, YOU ROCK!

Do you ever think back in time to the moment when you discovered what you wanted to be when you grow up? Or the moment where you started your education for that career? Or your first official day of work when you have been hired? Well the entire process leading up to that exciting moment is not as easy as one may think. In fact, teaching is actually one of the most challenging careers when you come to think of it.

Just recently, I heard someone commenting on how challenging teaching was, that it was not what they thought it would be. For that reason, they would not be pursuing this career anymore. I think when I was in university, I had some kind of idea how challenging teaching would be, but you don’t really find out until the first day of your practicum. Even then, some candidates do not feel the full challenge of teaching until their first day of work. I feel for the people who go through even half of the process only to discover it’s not for them. Perhaps there needs to be a way for candidates to discover that they be not interested in the career before they put all the time and energy into the program. I remember many students dropping out of my program, maybe realizing the career was more challenging than they had first thought. I am so thankful that was not the case for me as I had been sure since I was 15 that I wanted to become a teacher. I am so grateful I had the most supportive mentors, teachers, friends, family and of course, my placement students who made my job easier than it could have been.

Think about all that teachers do within one day. Not only do they have to care for the safety and well being of 20+ children but they also have to run a successful program while thinking about the specific challenges each child faces. I think during university, I had assumed the lessons we teach were in the curriculum documents or would magically appear in a cupboard within our future classrooms. But no, these lessons have to be carefully curated for our classrooms with what sometimes feels like over 100 things taken into consideration. Then, we second guess them and try to pull them off flawlessly, hoping each child learns something from the lesson and listens to it. That has to be done not once, not twice but sometimes six times throughout a school day. That in itself is a huge success! Plus all the little intricacies of the day have to be perfectly run as well. Teaching is not easy and although it is the most rewarding career in the world (in my opinion), you have to be ready to commit to the time and patience that is required.

Once again, I am so happy my 23 year old self saw past the challenges during my placement, the challenges in the university classroom, the long hours in and outside of the classroom and made it through to where I am today. I do not write this post to scare anyone but really, to congratulate all of us who made it out and are now living proof of what hard work and determination look like. Congratulations and well done because being a teacher is NOT a piece of cake!

Happy New Year

An Ode to the New Year

Photo by: Djordje Vezilic

A New Year
A New Start
We wish each other a Happy New Year
But are we intentional about making the year so?

What’s in a New Year?
A restart to the continuation of the school year.
An opportunity to explore learning in all its forms.
A chance to tap into new ways of doing, of understanding.

Over the past year, there has been so much we have learned or hoped to learn.
We examined, reflected, and challenged ourselves as educators and members of the larger society.

As we embark on another new year, one we wish is a happy one,
I implore you to move beyond making resolutions to acting on your resolve.
I encourage you to make the time to learn, unlearn, and relearn.
I challenge you to continue to reflect on and refine your praxis.
And I applaud you as you do the needed work of fostering equitable education for all students.

An ode to this new year.
One that I wish is transformative for you.

 

Reflections from 2022

As I reflect on the year we just had, I can’t help but feel proud of myself, all the educators and of course, the children that endured all of the challenges of the year we had. From countless closures to the uncertainties, our feelings of normalcy were starting to become a thing of the past. For someone who is normally so positive, I found it hard sometimes to carry on with a smile and try to spread the feeling of “All will be well.” So how do we learn from this? How do we use what happened in 2022 to guide us in 2023.

Well as I set goals for 2023, I think I would like to bring a couple of mindsets into the new year:

Never underestimate the power of an experience

2022 was made up of many lovely experiences- whether it be viewing a musical at the local high school or playing in a soccer tournament- students remember every single experience and love to look back on it. So try to take the opportunities as they come. Read every email because you never know when a fun opportunity could come your way. Also, never be afraid to make a fun opportunity happen! I know sometimes I wonder if the students will like something I plan or ask them to plan but they always end up reminiscing on how great of a time it was. So experiences are the greatest treasure I would take from 2022, right down to a game of trivia on the playground.

Nothing is forever 

I remember being upset multiple days during 2022 thinking, “I hope this doesn’t last forever” and the truth is, it never did. So positive thinking almost always wins and stressing over things that are beyond our control never works well. I hope in 2023 that when I am faced with a challenge, I will approach it without dreading its end date and that I can find a way out of it. I know that this will ultimately make me less stressed and will help me stay positive.

Breaks are for taking a break

I remember trying to plan any break we would get: Christmas, March, summer, etc. I would carve out a few days to plan as far ahead as I could get and not actually spend any of my break on break. This summer, I tried something different. I enjoyed getting married, my honeymoon and then after, I didn’t plan. I didn’t read any documents, instead I watched videos and read articles about first day activities. I read the exciting first day back opportunities our board had made and from there, I let things happen as they may. I started to really plan the curriculum after I got to know my students. Spending weeks of the summer mapping out a plan was something I thought I needed to feel confident about the next school year- however doing so during the first weeks of September proved to be much more productive. By then, I knew my learners and knew the style of teaching I would want to use for that group. This is a style of preparedness I want to save and continue on with for 2023. I don’t think I ever really tried taking time to take a break- a break from the business and the planning. Now I know I can do it.

There are so many other things I’d like to comment on but I have my activities saved in files, my memories saved in photos and of course, actual items saved in my class. I felt it would be most important to write down these mindsets so that others could try them. Although there are many lessons and units I’d love to try again, it’s more important to reflect on the feeling and mindset I’d like to have. Stress is a feeling almost every teacher shares, I’d love to see that change into something else. This blog helps me relieve some of that and I always hope there’s someone out there that will try it too. Either by reading, replying or trying to write their own version. 

Happy new year everyone! 

 

The Wind Down

2022 has come to a close. As I reflect on the year, there are 3 things that I will be taking with me into the next: finding moments to create; doing what I can; and resting. They’re simple and yet, if followed, I think they might help to make 2023 a little better for me.

Finding Moments to Create

When anyone asks me what I enjoy most about teaching, I say that it’s working with children. Sitting down and having the chance to interact and watching as students learn is very rewarding. In my role this year as a STEM teacher, I’ve had several opportunities to do just that. This month, students used cardboard and Makedo to create strong and stable homes that could withstand the huffing and puffing of the “Big Bad Wolf”. As group members worked together on their plans and designs, I had a lot of fun sitting with them to see how we could bring their ideas to life. It wasn’t easy at first but it was really neat to see how even our youngest students – the kindergartens – got the hang of it and created incredible homes that were so unique. Overhearing some tell the stories of their homes and what happens in their homes at the end was a great bonus. 

Reflecting on the year, the times that I enjoyed myself most in the classroom have been when I’ve had the chance to either watch students build or have built with them. Seeing the excitement that students have as they create something is truly a joyous experience. Whether or not it’s perfect, many love to describe the elements of their creations and often ask to save them so that others can see their work. Knowing the joy that creating brings, I’ve tried to incorporate more time for myself to be creative outside of the classroom. Whether it’s through making jewelry, painting or building with Lego, I’ve enjoyed creating and as I walk into 2023, I’m choosing to make more time to do so, whether or not I’m “good at it”. 

Doing What I Can

At the beginning of my career, I think I was very hard on myself when I had a lesson that didn’t go as planned or didn’t get as far as I hoped in a unit, usually due to time. At that point, I didn’t quite grasp that we teach the students in front of us and not who we expect them to be. Once I did, I found that teaching became easier. Don’t get me wrong, my expectations remain high for my students, it’s just that if more scaffolding is required, there’s learning needed and we take our time as we learn before moving on.

This year I had a few different design projects that I had imagined and yet we’re still on our first one. We’ve paused and regrouped while learning new skills and I’m proud of what we have been able to learn and accomplish so far. In 2023, we will continue to do what we can without judgment, knowing that learning is happening.

Resting

This year it didn’t take long for me to fully embrace the fact that I was off for 2 weeks. In years past, I would do a little work towards planning for January or start thinking about Term 1 reports but not this year. I need rest and I’m choosing to not feel guilty about having 2 weeks off to rest and get myself ready for school to start again. There will be no work beyond some writing for this blog and I’ve learned to embrace that. As I walk into 2023 I will continue to be intentional when I am at work and when it’s time to recharge, I’ll take the time to do just that. I do hope that you’re taking some time to rest and relax during this break. Teaching can be quite demanding. Remember that we need to take care of ourselves in order to make the most of the learning experiences within our classroom spaces. Refill your cup. You can only give what you have. 

As you wind down from the events of 2022, what might you take into 2023 that will help make it better for you? Wishing you all the very best for this coming year.

time off time

I received a very encouraging email today while working from home as a result of an imprecisely unplanned present from Mother Nature in the form of a pause prior our previously planned end of school for our winter break. The message could not have come at a more perfect time either. It read;

“I hope you can log off, unplug, relax and enjoy starting asap.  You have all worked so hard under ever-changing and difficult circumstances but the common thread is that you put our students at the forefront of everything you do.”

Perhaps serendipitously as I was adding the quote above, another message arrived in my still open board email inbox. It read;

 “thank you for the work that you do each and every day to support the learning, well-being and achievement of our students. What you do matters. It matters to our students; it matters to our families; it matters to your colleagues and it matters to our community.”

These two messages may not give you the feels as you read them on the first pass. In fact, the version of myself from December 2021, would have been the first skeptic in line however this year, I could not help feeling the sincerity in them both knowing who sent them. I am very fortunate that messages from these senders are not uncommon either. I thought it a good idea to add my own sentiments as well, hence the idea for this post.

It’s time off time folx. As of 3:45 pm on Dec 23, 2022 you have led your classroom of learners for the year. You can also take some satisfaction in knowing that 4 tenths of the school year are now in the books or 2 fifths if you’re in my class and have to reduce your fractions. With all those numbers bouncing around in you minds it is truly time off time.

Time off time to…

  • rest
  • relax
  • reach out to help
  • reach out for help
  • rejuvenate your mind
  • reflect on all of your hard work
  • reconnect with friends and family
  • remain still for as long as you choose
  • remember those who are no longer with you
  • re-establish personal boundaries and respect them

Whether you are a new teacher or pulling a decade plus teaching experience with a long rope, it is important for each of us to recharge our mental and physical batteries. This job is demanding and as I have shared in the minutes in between and survival tips,  self care is crucial to being able to burn brightly without burning out each day. That’s it. That’s the message. Wishing you all a restful, relaxing, and restorative winter break. It’s time out time for this teacher.

Pausing and Teaching for Deeper Learning

Have you ever created an assignment or activity only to realize that you need to take a few steps back to do a bit more teaching? This month I found myself once again in this position. I love it because just as we ask our students to be reflective, we as teachers have the chance to do the same. It’s in these moments of reflection that I find better ways of teaching something or supporting students in deeper learning. 

For the last few months, I’ve been working on a design project with students. We started by working on identifying problems; picking one and telling the story of our problem by answering the 5Ws and how. From there, students had the opportunity to focus on a specific user so that they could create a new and innovative solution for that type of person. After coming up with great ideas, students determined the solution that they wanted to work on, storyboarded their solutions and got feedback from peers. As a part of our work, I always believe in the importance of having students share their ideas with authentic audiences and they do this through pitches. Throughout the process, there has been lots of learning and this point was no different. To do our pitches, we are using Google Slides. I realized that as much online learning as we have done over the years, students needed some teaching on how to insert pictures and how to change the font size. When the questions started coming in, I quickly realized that we were a little in over our heads. I wasn’t expecting this. 

We’ve taken a pause and have been working through a Google Slides Scavenger Hunt that was adapted from one created by Caitlin Tucker a few years ago. 

As we’re going through, students are working in partners trying to solve each challenge and are learning some of the basics of Google Slides. We’re taking our time, making sure that we understand how to do each of the tasks so that when it comes time to go back to our pitches, we can easily add pictures and text that will appeal to our audience.

With everything that we feel we have to “get through”, this has been a great reminder of taking the time to pause and explicitly teach so that students can successfully complete a task. I’m certain that after the scavenger hunt there will be things that we might forget about using Google Slides but I do know that with a few simple reminders, students will feel more successful in using the tool to share their innovative solutions with the world. More often than not, our pauses lead to deeper learning.

Remembrance Day

Each year as Remembrance Day draws near, teachers think about how they would like to approach this topic with their class. What worked one year won’t necessarily work the next. Last year, we had a virtual assembly and students reflected privately about the day. This year, we are fortunate to have an in-person assembly where students from K-8 will participate by either reading a poem, playing an instrument or even orchestrating the event. Members from the band will play and the choir will sing. To me, coming together as a school is such a meaningful experience and although we do not do it that often, when we do it means that much more. 

In my class this year, I decided against the colouring of a poppy to put together for the class wreath. Instead, students read a variety of Remembrance Day poems and selected the one word that stood out to them the most. They then would write that word on their poppy numerous times. It was very hard for some students to think of a word that represented a poppy. Maybe they wear one or colour one each year but do not know what the symbol actually represents. Here are some of the words my students came up with: respect, brave, remember, saviour, peace, fearless, hero, strong, hope, and  honour. These poppies will be hung on our class wreath and I hope a few students stop to read the words within them and think about why they were chosen. 

I also did an activity where I posed a few thinking questions to the class and asked them to reflect on the answers. Feel free to use these questions with your class either this year or next. These were the questions I posed along with some student answers:

  • What is Remembrance Day? 
    • Remembrance  day is so important the people who fought for us were brave and had the courage I’m so thankful they gave us the peace even if they didn’t wanna do it they still did.
    • Remembrance day is a day where we honour the soldiers that fought for us.
  • How can we remember our fallen soldiers?
    • We can respect the soldiers by taking a moment of silence. 
    • By being respectful during the Remembrance Day ceremony.
  • Why did people fight in the war?
    • They wanted to represent their country and to feel proud to be Canadian 
    • They had to 

Those are just a few of the many answers my grade 7 & 8 students came up with. 

Each Monday, students make a goal for the week in my class and I wanted to share one of my student’s goals this week. He wrote, “To be respectful on Remembrance Day.” I asked him to share with the class why he chose that goal for the week. He shared that each year, he feels that he doesn’t pay attention or respect the ceremony and this year he really wants to do his best to do that. I think it was a very mature goal to select and I look forward to seeing if he writes yes or no next Monday as it is up to each student to share if they felt they met their goal or not. 

I look forward to hearing any suggestions or any new ideas for Remembrance Day activities that I could try with my class next year. 

Curriculum Night

Every year when curriculum night rolls around, I feel challenged. Well, let me clarify. I feel challenged in my hope to ensure that the evening is meaningful for students and their families. I understand that parents are interested in finding out how their child is progressing but with 4 weeks under our belts – and sometimes less than that – I know what I’ve seen so far is often just a tiny glimpse into a child’s potential. We’re still getting to know each other, learning routines and quite frankly, expectations that we may have of each other. So whenever the conversation starts about what we are doing for curriculum night, I ask myself three questions: 

  1. What works for our school community?
  2. How do I encourage students to move freely within our classroom space with a sense of confidence, showing their families what they have been learning?
  3. How can I help parents see this evening as an invitation to open communication and collaboration for this year’s learning journey?

In this post, I’ll share my thoughts on each of these questions.

What works for our school community?

Students, families and the community should be at the forefront of what we do in education. As such, considering all members of our community in planning curriculum night is essential. Being new to my school and school community, it was really important for me to understand what usually happens in order to determine what I might consider doing. I’ve been in schools where the expectations have been formal presentations during particular timeslots and in others where less formal meet-and-greets where handouts are provided. I have found that every school is different. Not only that, but the pandemic has also opened our eyes to what might be done virtually to support a variety of families. This year we went with a less formal, in-person, meet-and-greet where parents popped in and out of classrooms and were free to move around the school at their leisure. During the hour, I found that there were times when there were lulls and then periods when the room was packed and buzzing with excitement. Families felt free to come for parts of the evening when it was ideal for them and had the freedom to not stay for the entire time and I found that worked best for our school community. 

How do I encourage students to move freely within our classroom space with a sense of confidence, showing their families what they have been learning?

This year, I teach prep and although I have a fairly large room, it’s often hard to have student work from all classes on display. As of late, we have been working on design thinking projects that are all in various stages. The kindergarten students and the grade 1/2s all have their animal habitats built and those were on display but the 2/3s and 4/5s have most of their plans and work in piles together as many are just beginning to design prototypes. That said, I tried to consider how students could show parents that they have been learning skills to help them solve real-life problems in a way that was fun and engaging. Our Lego challenges at the beginning of the school year were a great success so I gave out another challenge to students and their families and the builds were on. Families created together and students walked them through their solutions with joy and confidence. It was really great seeing families working together to solve a problem and the rich conversations that came of it. I think it was an opportunity to lighten the pressure of coming in and meeting the teacher and gave students the chance to feel right at home with something familiar that they could share with their families. It was so nice to see some students return later in the evening to sit and build with their families.

How can I help parents see this evening as an invitation to open communication and collaboration for this year’s learning journey?

Being new, this was the first time meeting many families. Because of our Lego challenge, I did enjoy that there wasn’t the pressure of a formal presentation.  I chose to create a slideshow that was on a loop and noticed that many families – while building – were taking a look and jotting down information on how we could connect. I have a classroom blog that I use to update families on what we get up to in our classroom and many noted that it was a great way to start conversations about what students are learning and doing on a weekly basis. I also let parents know that my door is always open and that I look forward to working with them in supporting their children this year. For the few who were asking for specifics, I asked if we could set up a time to speak and also mentioned that progress reports and interviews are coming up soon and that would give me more of an opportunity to get to know their child and for us to have the chance to have a more meaningful conversation.

How does curriculum night work in your school? What considerations are made when planning the evening? Please feel free to share as the more we know and are able to consider, the better we become in our practice. Based on our curriculum night this year, I’m excited to work with students and their families for a successful year of learning.  Hope you are too!

smashing pumpkin spiced thinking – school edition

I can almost hear it now, the sound of the last pumpkin spiced anything be sold and the leftovers being shipped back to the warehouses for next year. I am positive that the chemicals that make up these products have a half life and will ensure it’s best before date does not expire for another decade or more.

Who buys this stuff? To my knowledge, I do not think anyone in my circle of friends has ever been excited about pumpin spiced goodies and drinks. Cue the relief. Not that there is anything wrong with it. We all go through a curious phase or two in our lives, but once the trance wears off it’s usually back to the status quo.

Have you ever been persuaded to try something that you instantly regretted afterwards? At first, you think you like it because how could all that hype be wrong? Once that fades and the taste kicks in you’re left to be alone with your decision(s). I mean where would we all be without the gift of knowledge regret provides us?

I’ll give you an example: Hammer pants  One of many the blessings of being a certain age is that any evidence of my bad decision making has not been digitally preserved. Case in point with this late 80s fashion craze. I am sure that it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Speaking of good ideas at the time

Starting out as an educator, all of those years ago, I came with my own set of bags packed full of the way that I was going to lead my class. Inside that luggage were many positive, and unfortunately, negative experiences and I was determined to repeat what worked and bury what didn’t. What could possibly go wrong?

What I quickly realized in those first years was there were already several well traveled paths to follow along that started to be seen as ruts rather than pathways to success. I found myself trying to shape my students around the resources in the building rather than the other way around. Things went well, teach, practice, test, and repeat, but it came with a cost. Those lessons never felt like they were relevant to my students. They lacked depth and scope for a number of reasons, some of which are on me as a new teacher, and others because they fell within the “We’ve always done it this way” space.

When my second year rolled around it was easy to follow along the well worn path once more, but instead of proceeding safely along with so many others, I made a decision to wander off to see what else was out there. Don’t get me wrong, I could still see the trail to provide some cardinal directions, but my detours began to provide us all much richer and diverse perspectives. It only took a year to realize that there were many paths to create and pursue that could edify both students and their teachers.

I began to seek out others who wandered off in their spaces and ended up connecting with an insightful and supportive global professional learning network or PLN. All these years later, I am thankful for the connections and kindness that helped me navigate off of what was the norm and around some other ruts that needed avoiding.

Where do I find these amazing folx?

For me, it started out at school board level events and edtech training sessions. It didn’t take long before I joined Twitter when it became a truly global cohort. Yes, Twitter can still be used for good and not evil despite its new owner and legions of misinformed malicious account holders exercising their free speech without facts or accountability. End rant.

I joined weekly discussions via #edchat and then #etmooc and then #CnEdChat to start and started following some of the more experienced and supportive educators on the platform. As time went on, I started a blog called What and Why are Everything to hash out some of my thoughts. Our weekly Q and A discussions on Twitter became sources of great perspective and growth which continue to inhabit my practice to this day. It was almost like I was given permission to be the teacher I wanted to be rather than another educator flattening the well worn path.

What started happening was the democratization of my classroom through student directed learning, Genius Hours, and the use of videos to enhance the scope of my instruction. What better way could there be to bring an expert into the class room with the click of a button rather than read through a text book that had been written years beforehand.

This shift in thinking helped me realize the static and fluid natures of knowledge that we have to balance each day for our students and ourselves. It also moved me past some of my negative experiences as a student. I appreciate how some of the things I went through empowered me not to repeat them just like I would never buy a pair of Hammer pants or pumpkin spiced anything again.