The Shaun Pepper Podcast

Dr. Christine Younghusband - Helping Tomorrow's Teachers Find Their Jam and Purpose (#12)

February 19, 2021 Shaun Pepper Episode 12
The Shaun Pepper Podcast
Dr. Christine Younghusband - Helping Tomorrow's Teachers Find Their Jam and Purpose (#12)
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The Shaun Pepper Podcast
Dr. Christine Younghusband - Helping Tomorrow's Teachers Find Their Jam and Purpose (#12)
Feb 19, 2021 Episode 12
Shaun Pepper

Dr. Christine Ho Younghusband (@Christine YH) is an assistant professor and the B.Ed. Coordinator at the University of Northern British Columbia. 

She describes herself as a teacher, learner, and leader in BC education. She is passionate about finding ways to enhance the student learning experience.  passion, she completed her doctorate in educational leadership at SFU in 2017, where she examined the professional learning experiences of non-mathematics subject specialist teachers.  She was appointed as a lecturer at UNBC in 2018.

Highlights of her achievements in BC education can be found on her website and include co-moderating #bcedchat on Twitter, serving 2-terms as school trustee, teaching secondary math and science for 16-years in BC public schools, instructing as a sessional at SFU and St.Mark’s College, developing curriculum on the Math K-9 Team, facilitating workshops on BC’s New Curriculum, presenting at TEDxWestVancouverED, emceeing the National Trustees Gathering on Aboriginal Education, being published in EdCan Network Magazine, guest blogging for McGraw-HIll Education, speaking at the UBC Aboriginal Math K-12 Symposium, volunteering on the BC Association of Math Teachers Committee, and serving on the BC School Trustees Association Board of Directors.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How to use values and purpose to have difficult conversations 
  • How UNBC is using ADST to design a better practicum experience.
  • How to build support networks to prevent teacher burnout
  • How other watching other people's jams fills her with joy
  • and much much more.....

***

I wanted to take this time to say thank you! We have reached listeners from around the world across 5 continents, 31 Countries and 149 cities. Without humans like you this podcast would not be possible.

If you enjoy the podcast, would you please subscribe and consider leaving a short review on Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts? It takes less than 60 seconds, and it really makes a difference in helping me to reach more listeners and guests.

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/shaunpepper)

Show Notes Transcript

Dr. Christine Ho Younghusband (@Christine YH) is an assistant professor and the B.Ed. Coordinator at the University of Northern British Columbia. 

She describes herself as a teacher, learner, and leader in BC education. She is passionate about finding ways to enhance the student learning experience.  passion, she completed her doctorate in educational leadership at SFU in 2017, where she examined the professional learning experiences of non-mathematics subject specialist teachers.  She was appointed as a lecturer at UNBC in 2018.

Highlights of her achievements in BC education can be found on her website and include co-moderating #bcedchat on Twitter, serving 2-terms as school trustee, teaching secondary math and science for 16-years in BC public schools, instructing as a sessional at SFU and St.Mark’s College, developing curriculum on the Math K-9 Team, facilitating workshops on BC’s New Curriculum, presenting at TEDxWestVancouverED, emceeing the National Trustees Gathering on Aboriginal Education, being published in EdCan Network Magazine, guest blogging for McGraw-HIll Education, speaking at the UBC Aboriginal Math K-12 Symposium, volunteering on the BC Association of Math Teachers Committee, and serving on the BC School Trustees Association Board of Directors.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How to use values and purpose to have difficult conversations 
  • How UNBC is using ADST to design a better practicum experience.
  • How to build support networks to prevent teacher burnout
  • How other watching other people's jams fills her with joy
  • and much much more.....

***

I wanted to take this time to say thank you! We have reached listeners from around the world across 5 continents, 31 Countries and 149 cities. Without humans like you this podcast would not be possible.

If you enjoy the podcast, would you please subscribe and consider leaving a short review on Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts? It takes less than 60 seconds, and it really makes a difference in helping me to reach more listeners and guests.

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/shaunpepper)

Today on the podcast. We have Christine Ho Younghusband, she's an assistant professor and the B.Ed. Coordinator at the University of Northern British Columbia. She was a math teacher and a school trustee. And in fact was my math teacher. And I'm so happy to have her on the podcast today. I have to add a caveat in here. That is, you will hear me agreeing and nodding and saying, yes. As part of this conversation. Me and Christine fundamentally agree on so many things when it comes to education and values and beliefs. And so I apologize to the listeners you're going to hear a lot of yes. And. Uh, huh. And Oh, totally agree. And, uh, I tried to edit that out, but unfortunately it wasn't, uh, it wasn't that easy to do that. So I appreciate all of your forgiveness for my interjecting between the wonderful thoughts that christine had to share with us. Without further ado. I hope you enjoy this audio journey with Christine Ho Younghusband

Shaun Pepper:

Christine so tell us a little bit about your journey thus far in your career and what led you to becoming a BEd Coordinator at the University of Northern British Columbia

Christine Younghusband:

I was a math teacher on the sunshine coast in British Columbia, Your math teacher which has been really incredible, which sort of set the platform and really my trajectory and my mission and purpose in, I will say in my career. And I almost want to say my life, which is really trying to improve the learning experiences of students, and that's really the underpinning of everything I'm doing in that if I reflect back. I've been a math teacher. I left teaching, pursued my doctorate and became a school trustee because I couldn't let go of public education, really transformed my perspective about systems and leadership, and really helped me complete my research really, which is ironic, which was about math teaching surprise. And then moved into teaching at the university of Northern British Columbia and where I teach people to become teachers. And and right now we're just at the end of our practicum. You remember that practicum? This is short practicum.

Shaun Pepper:

Yeah, I was just talking to somebody two days ago about my practicum experience. It wasn't the greatest, to be honest, practicums are so funny. I had a really bad experience for my two week. And sometimes in those practicums, maybe we could talk about that a bit, but you're you're going into somebody else's territory, right? So you're going into somebody else's classroom. Even though you'd like it to be the time to develop your own pedagogical idea and philosophy of teaching, you have lots of time to do that after. and so I, sometimes I feel that conflict can be challenging. And so sometimes the fit between the person that you get on practicum and teaching philosophies will butt heads. And that happened. And then the second practicum was amazing. Yeah, no it's funny that you say that, first of all I say in education generally is a crapshoot and it really is. a chance experience, sometimes you connect with your teacher, sometimes you don't, and that's just, yeah. The way it is, whether if it's right or wrong at differences, et cetera, it's, I think that it really gets to the underpinning of what education is about, which is about relationships and connections. And and so we're always looking for that and sometimes it's not perfect, but what you're saying is exactly validating what we're trying to achieve at UNBC and because we're a smaller program, we can have. A bit more of a personal touch. And again, that itself has pros and cons but it's generally it's going well and in the end we're trying to support their learning. And so how do we, my, my mindset is not that we're trying to train teachers that we're trying to encourage, um our teacher candidates to become learners, you know in, and to understand learning.

Christine Younghusband:

And so when they go into their classrooms, how do they create those learning experiences for their students? So I've been like, I've been part of BC's curriculum and part of developing that where we redesigned the MEd and BEd programs NBC, I don't know how I sort of serendipitously trip into these moments that are super exciting to be in, honestly, I think it's been gifts. it's something that I've been wanting is to be part of, I don't like educational reform because that sounds really serious, but I do the idea of transformation and that students are at the heart of what we do. And when I think about BC's curriculum or UNBC with our programming, is that how do we create structures so that we can create those winning experiences for. For our students and learners.

Shaun Pepper:

You said something really interesting about this idea of trends. I think that's probably why I've connected with you as one of my former teachers, is this idea of transforming and, but yet you're very playful. how do you manage the series? no, honestly though, because that's one of the reasons playful. I do I do. I do perceive you as slightly sarcastic playful. You know I appreciate that because honestly, a lot of times what I find is people move in these positions and, everybody drops. What I think is like the shared humanity, right? Everybody compartmentalize into these roles now on this person and they bring that person forward. And that's important because you need to be competent and skillful, but. Also, you need to be yourself. And people are ultimately wanting to not only connect with somebody who's professional and can get their job done. They want to connect with the human being, especially in something like education how do you go about doing that while still being able to make the transformation. Cause I imagine if you're trying to transform things you can't just force things, You have to actually get a collaborative collective group of people together to then change everybody's mind and then agree on moving forward. And so how do you go about using your personality and building relationships to be able to make those transformations.

Christine Younghusband:

Yeah. You know Yeah, that could take the hour.

Shaun Pepper:

That's okay. That's totally okay. My whole goal with the podcast is is for people to explore humanity. And so this idea that we try to pump up our egos in certain roles and in certain ways, and I want to understand better how we can remain human, but still get these tasks done. And so our work doesn't have to become so heavy. It can be light and playful.

Christine Younghusband:

Yeah, no, it, you're asking a great question. And honestly, as I listened to you ask that question, I think, Oh my gosh, this is serendipity. Could the timing be any more perfect to be posing that question to self? Because Honestly, the work that we're doing is serious and the impact that educators have on people's lives is enormous. And I will honestly tell you, I didn't realize that until I left teaching. That's the irony, isn't it? You know and, thinking about transformation and the work that brings that I would say brings me fulfillment, but make me feel aligned. I couldn't achieve in the system, because I always felt, I felt that I was at risk or the system's too big, at least in the role that I was in, which is a classroom teacher. And I'm not saying that classroom teachers are not powerful. In fact, they got the most power because I miss that a hundred percent. Yeah. working with people like you, you're like, like we're still connected because of our connection in a math class. Like that, to me shows me the impact of my work. Of course, this is right here right now. And so that part I think is interesting. I also think that it's an ongoing struggle. what you're tapping on is my struggle, because I want to have voice. I'm going to say things that are disruptive. I am scared shitless. Let's just be Frank because you're putting yourself on the line all the time. And this is where it's so important to understand our why. If the, why is all about, I want to get promoted or I want to get hired, I want to get a win, or I want to keep my job. Or if that is why? We will always, I'll say with air quotes, be stuck because that's not compelling. And really I wrestled with this, it's if I don't say this now, and in my, why is to improve student learning and their experiences, then if whatever it is continues, I have to take ownership of that.

Shaun Pepper:

That's right. Yeah. there's a really interesting I think as people, get into positions of Leadership. It becomes so hard because the relationship has to be there in order to create motivation. And if you obviously want the change to happen faster than it does, and you can see it for that person, but you can't do it for that person. That thing is really difficult. You're right in that. if you're not doing something about it now, then it's not going to change. And therefore you are the one to blame because you didn't push that.

Christine Younghusband:

Yeah. And not even that it to change, but even a chance to change. Yeah. and you know that's where, where my mindset is right now. And I will say that was probably, it's an ongoing struggle. And I think there's moments of struggle like that. I actually have to ask myself that question. I. like myself on the line or I'll just stay the status quo,

Shaun Pepper:

I agree. I think there's some practices that we can put into place. So things like human centered design thinking, these design thinking types of styles that really ease the conflict in the room. Like for instance, sticky note sessions where people agree with put by placing sticky notes. I know that's like silicone Valley. Woo. But it does really help create these, this thing that this isn't my idea. This is like an idea, not my idea. But an idea and we should consider the idea and not who it's coming from, but the idea at face value. And I think sometimes that's really hard for people to separate from because maybe somebody doesn't like somebody and especially in the world that we're living in right now, when you look at US politics, you see these these very much, like we're not looking at an idea that somebody is proposing, we're looking at, are you a Republican or Democrat? That is really important we try to look at an idea objective, no matter who it's coming from.

Christine Younghusband:

Yep. And it's, and I think that, but it goes back down, I want to tap into some of the ideas that you just mentioned about leadership and relationships and yeah. and really it's about respect. It's about respect and kindness and compassion. Like those virtues that come in with leadership. And honestly, I don't, I'm going to say that if I put myself in the hierarchical, the welcome you're welcome. And that's perfect. But none of my vocab,

Shaun Pepper:

which is it shouldn't be right.

Christine Younghusband:

Yeah. I agree. But in that framework, I mean I'm small. I'm on, I'm here the bottom, but, but and I say that not out of, knowing my place, but I say that in terms of the framework that I'm operating in, and that would be true for K to 12, that would be may possibly true when I was in, you know the governance world and as an elected official, and also, where I am in higher education. You know, but when I take leadership, I and my doctorate was in leadership and I took that degree, really, with that interest of what is leadership, because I always question it all the time and it's not, I would say maybe early on, maybe judging, but on the other hand, it, what about the doing what's the actionable that ties into that, right? But honestly, leadership to me, the leadership that I take, the leadership that I own and hold is I believe that we're all leaders. I believe that we have, I believe we have a responsibility and. the framework that I really truly operate in is not a vertical one, but a horizontal one is a flattened one. So if you're the Dean, I'm going to say Dean or school, principal, or superintendent, or the president of the university, I think we all have roles and responsibilities. And it's my job as a educational leader, to connect with these people, to inform decision-making, to influence where I can and not in terms of we'll say, um I was going to say advocacy, but even, as but it's more of a if they don't know, they can't do anything about it if they don't

Shaun Pepper:

Awareness

Christine Younghusband:

Yeah. yeah, totally awareness and connection again. And really, so some of the components that you in your initial big lengthy question, think part of it, part of my, and how to be playful in it as well, number one is I have to be listening. joining the university has pretty much spent the first two years really trying to listen and understand and. And wonder, why are things the way they are? Who are these people? What are their motivations and not to make a slide deck, but I'm going to tell you, I've learned a lot of my leadership skills. From curling. I'll throw that out there.

Shaun Pepper:

I do remember that you were a curler,

Christine Younghusband:

you know and, and, as a skip, you have to watch people and you're watching how things are unfolding. You're watching the game and there's a strategy and stigma of it's rules to the game, just like there's rules in the university and rules and to even there's policies already set. So I'm not going to be completely rogue. To the rules of the game, for example, like I'm going to take this rock from another ice and put it into my game. I get it. That doesn't make any sense to me. So there's those components there's limitations of what we can and cannot do but definitely listening and watching and observing I think is really important because I think that if we don't really understand what we're looking at, It's hard to take action on how it could be better or different, et cetera, or transform that's one part. The other part is, is to have, as you mentioned, these tough conversations, you know you say sticky notes, cause it's actually a safe way of conversation. Yeah. But really? Yeah, but it is still about, do you have enough social capital and connection and relationships and respect from the people that you're working with to have those tough conversations with and that they're going to say something that may not make me happy. And this is where our ego is really going to stand on the side sometimes. You know our egos are always there, like just take a moment to have a coffee break. No. And and honestly the groups I feel really privileged to be working with such as #bcedchatchat on Twitter. Yes.

Shaun Pepper:

I I try to join as much as I can and I've always. I feel sometimes I feel I'm not going to lie. I feel overwhelmed because there's so many good ideas and they're there. There's just so much to dive into. it's almost becomes a where do I place my attention? Cause you're right. Like it just becomes, yeah, it's just, yeah. There's so much

Christine Younghusband:

regulation skills. Pick a thread pick one

Shaun Pepper:

thread. Exactly.

Christine Younghusband:

but the moderation team, a diverse group of educators in BC who hold different roles in BC education. And we can sit and have. Really tough conversations and support each other in that way. I think it's incredible. Same thing, Oh, I'm going to say I'm this I'm going to Mark all these BC.

Shaun Pepper:

That's great because I think #bcedchat chats are, it's a wonderful resource, especially for educators, sometimes you can feel pretty isolated in your own classroom. And if you're not familiar with Twitter, then I just had Dave Truss on the podcast and he's got a book on Twitter, EDU that I think might be meaningful. but yeah, Twitter is a wonderful tool for educators. So you should definitely try to build your PLN.

Christine Younghusband:

Totally. And I a hundred percent built my community from there because sometimes when you feel like you're by yourself or you feel like you're doing something that's totally different from the crowd, there are other people there who are right there standing beside you, you can't see them yet. Anyway. Um and the other group, you know BC AMT, so the BC Association of Math Teachers. Again, incredible the community that I was a part of for many years and kept in contact with them, the tough conversations we're having about mathematics and math education, and what's good for students. and how do we get there and supporting teachers in their learning to get, I think is amazing. and then again, that community I've also been with that UNBC is we're creating and redesigning the BEd and MEd programs. Yeah, you actually have to be really, and I say critical in a good way. He has to really look at selves to see what's working and what's not working. So to get to these tough conversations, you really have to have that community to do that. So you're listening, you have community and then also is understanding where we can go next. And so I think that. I do take a bit of risk taking and I've had tough conversations where, like I said, we're in practicum, I'm having some tough conversations with some candidates. Um but really it comes from a mindset of learning. This is not a judgment. This is how can we meet expectations? How can we meet these standards so that you can be that educator for your students, And we have to keep modeling that. And What brings me joy and what makes me happy really is staying in my alignment, staying with my purpose. And part of that is about having voice. And part of that is extending myself. And part of that, sometimes it makes me feel like I am taking risks, but when I do and things shift and honestly, my head space is not about. Oh, I made that shift. No, I don't even care. Did it shift? Please. You know how can we make this better for the learners that are in front of us? Because if we really want to have staying power impact, we have to stay focused on that and honest, and it, and I will tell you. It's worked in my favor and hasn't worked in my favor in the end. Yes.

Shaun Pepper:

I can attest to that

Christine Younghusband:

I think that it is to celebrate the ones that are working in, if it's not working, then that's not the direction.

Shaun Pepper:

I completely agree. I think is really important in teaching as well. I mean if you're not teaching it in an environment that you like, you have, you do have choice. And sometimes when I speak with educators they don't feel like they have choice. And part of my thought process is that they don't have choice because sometimes it's fear, but sometimes it's that this higher sense of maybe direction of what they want to do or what they want to accomplish. And without that, sometimes I find it can be really hard for them to get through a tough year. sometimes you get a tough year. Like your class cohort is tough and it's, and if you don't have that North star or this sort of these value systems in place where you can start to make decisions that are hard decisions quickly it can really affect your joy of going to work every day. I think we're seeing teacher burnout at a higher rate than ever and that's why I asked the tough conversation. I think strict teachers are struggling to, to make sense of the new kind of, it's not new, but the growing environment. As it's evolving and changing. there's many teachers that I know that go home and, barely see their family. Cause they then produce an award-winning lesson plan every day and they feel like that's what they needed to do. and there, there is a balance somewhere in between that. I don't know how teachers are rectifying that because everybody wants to change the world. I don't think people go into education thinking, Oh my God, I'm going to get a great paycheck. And I think value system wise, people are going into education because they want to make a change and want to do what's best for students. Hopefully

Christine Younghusband:

make a difference. And no one enters in education thinking that they're going to hurt students. And so that no one has that intention. Great. Um but I think that part of the burnout and I will speak for myself, say I'll use my single data point in makeup, broad pan generalizations.

Shaun Pepper:

That's okay. That's all I do, that's why I have to have a podcast because then I can get other people's perspectives.

Christine Younghusband:

But yeah. for burnout for myself. And I think that, one thing that, talking with teacher candidates right now, it's like, Oh, it's really stressful. It's a lot of work. It's I said, yeah, that's. That's the profession, that's the office. That's what you're going into. this is not a practicum thing. This is a profession thing. And I'm sure that we all educators out there really struggle with that idea about balance and self care and quality learning and teaching experiences, et cetera. But I think part of the burnout for me isn't the award winning lesson plan. I don't think it's the connection with their students. I don't think that. And I'm getting I'm generalizing. I think that if anything what's keeping our candidates in the game. Is practicum and they're with students of course in a socially distance way, but they're with students, like in a safe way, but it's the connection keeps us in the game. That's what educators, it's the connection. And I will tell you that was heartbreaking for me when I left K-12 because. I cried for years after I left education K to 12, because of the connections I was missing and the connections that I had. And and that's not just with students, but it's also with my colleagues as well. but the big thing is. Where burnout comes from is that when we're not operating with what we know is the right thing to do,

Shaun Pepper:

That's what I was trying to get back to is this idea of without having that North star, that value system, then we we we all have it. I think people will think that they don't have a North star, but we do. We have an operating system of things that we think are right. And things that we think are wrong. And sometimes if if the way that we're. Doing something, or we don't feel like we have a voice to, to at least share our opinion about that. I think people can can really get burnt out because it, it becomes I'm doing something that I don't agree with right. Every day I'm showing up and doing something that I fundamentally am not aligned with.

Christine Younghusband:

Yeah. And the other part is, if I'm looking at the system and I'm thinking, what were, what kind of changed from my locus of control, I'll say right that way. Yes.

Shaun Pepper:

Perfect. Great. Yeah, that's a

Christine Younghusband:

perfect way of putting it. one thing is that I think we forget is that we do have agency. We do have agency. We need to take it. We we wrestle with that in our system because it's either you're the agent or you're compliant. And I would say that the battle between the two ideologies, if you will, can wear someone down because if you become the agent, if you're saying a message that might be different from what you're receiving or what is happening, and you feel like you're taking a big risk. And it's a feeling I'm not saying, as for right to their own opinions. And it really, I think it's what I learned in my school. Trustee work is if I don't have my voice, as I mentioned before then either I stay quiet. And accept what's happening or know that there's a consequence of, by not saying something like, so it's my duty to say something as a school trustee, it was my duty to have voice. And I think that we should expect that from not just our educators, but from our learners too.

Shaun Pepper:

So of course

Christine Younghusband:

and but the problem is one of the problems is that we are looking at, and I'm going to say it. We still are operating like a big machine. Yes, absolutely. Yeah.

Shaun Pepper:

And it is systemically we're we're all computers. This is also another reason I started the podcast. I'm actually very fearful of this, this idea that technology is now driving, like because we can, we should. Like that's a, my fundamental way that I'm looking at things right now through technology, because we can send an email all the time. Then we should send an email because it's more efficient to send an email than we should send an email. And it's just because we can with technology doesn't mean we should. And. We're the humans, like what technology is technology? And we can say no to things. Like for instance, people send emails. I don't reply within 24 hours. In fact, if you do it on my website, it says, I'm going to get back to you within 72 hours with my team, because I want you to know, Hey, I'm trying my best, but some days, my podcast went from going from every week to dropping off for two months. And that happened because I had a daughter. And I could think about me, myself being a machine, all of my podcasts scheduled needs to be like this, and I'm a computer and the algorithm says this and, but we're human beings. We're not. Computers. And so we need to recognize that. And so this is what was going through my mind when I started the podcast. And this is the theme that I'm trying to uncover in these conversations.

Christine Younghusband:

And and I think there's systems, anytime you're dealing with more than one person there's going to be systems and there's going to be politics and it does get complicated. But I think if anything, what I, what I. I hoped that is part of the transformation that I'm trying to create from where I am like that like those, all those disclaimers is is. Uh we operate at the system, operates in a state of fear all the time. And when you're always scared, then you're always taking everything from scarcity. I'm going to take all the white board pens. I'm going to have all the matching chairs, whatever it is. I'm just

Shaun Pepper:

The scarcity mindset versus abundance, right? You're absolutely right.

Christine Younghusband:

I just think that what I hope for our teacher candidates and what we try to create is always trying to create space. True space for, to ask and worked with coaching teacher and say, this, give them some space to try out, and then they're gonna use their professional judgment if that candidate is ready or not. And I respect that and I respect that. but we asked for those spaces and we ask our teacher candidates to take risks because I want them to going back to our rate at the beginning of our podcast, That practicum experience for them to really understand the early beginnings of the formation of their pedagogical. Of course. Um we, our guests and I want our students to walk into these classrooms with gratitude that we are being invited because they don't have to take us. Yeah, and

Shaun Pepper:

Sorry, not to cut you off, but I used to say thank you to the students. Every, every time I left the classroom and that was something that I learned at my first school, actually, I at Island Pacific school, one of the fundamental things was that, you thank the student before, thank you for class, and then you dismiss the students. And I think that's that's true. You you are being thankful for them because if they're not there, then you're not building that relationship. And if that was your driving force of getting into teaching, then hopefully you can create an environment where they feel safe enough to say, I'm not going to hand this in today because these are the reasons and that's not them saying, Oh, here's the systematic thing. It was due on this date. So now you're getting docked 10%. That's not human. That's not how human beings operate it. Isn't funny. It's very subtle. It's very subtle. if you're watching from like a television with no sound, I'm going to say like it looks the same. Yeah, it looks the same but it's true. We have to get reconnected with the with the human side of what we do in the work that we do and know that it's not always going to be the same, it's not equal. Not all students get the same treatment. But we all have the same standards. We all have the same criteria. We all have the same expectations. And so our work, this is the shift in thinking our work is to try to ensure. But you meet those expectations and and we have to model it in the teacher education program, but guess what? We have to model that in K to 12. And so how do we give ourselves at agency and autonomy to get to that level of I'll say professionalism for our teachers and people in some, and not to say it's not void.

Christine Younghusband:

Our system is not void of that. I was just listening to another it was, an on Instagram. I don't know if it was a podcast. It was, it's definitely entertaining, but I watched, and I'm going to say her name, Shelly Moore and and her wife and they were doing a book club. and I think about out of the whole hour, I think 40 minutes was the update of how they're doing then 20 minutes for the book club. But of that 40 minutes, I just, I was really enjoying listening to them and I thought, you know why do people have to leave the system to have a voice. Yeah, I wonder about that because and she's certainly still part of that, and this is true for a lot, George Curous the same thing. Yeah. Yeah. I follow both of them yet. I bring up just people like that. Cause there's some really, there's some people in the system that still, I don't want to use the word still. Cause that sounds negative. but there's some real change agents that I'm seeing. I'm watching, I love watching Jordan Tinny and a Superintendent of Surrey love watching the superintendent of Vancouver and West Vancouver. And, like there are some people out there you know Chris Regert from Langley who is a principal, there's people who really can see this and I'll tell it back to that assignment thing. what really is making that impact is that people can see that they care. About what? People the students that they're serving and the humanity that sits behind it.

Shaun Pepper:

And that's a very interesting distinction. and and where do you use right. Serving, we are serving our students, we are in

Christine Younghusband:

service to them. That's right. they, you know we wouldn't be there if they weren't there. Yes. That's the truth, like our purpose would not be there.

Shaun Pepper:

For

Christine Younghusband:

sure. and so I think what sort of resonates with me with people in the field and people I want to stay connected to are people who have a high level of integrity.

Shaun Pepper:

Yeah.

Christine Younghusband:

The people who are willing to be honest with their thoughts and their thinking and in about me, I'm open to feedback. you gotta be open to feedback too, you gotta, you can't just give it, you gotta take it as well. and I'm just so enamored by people, use the word creativity, cause that's a common word, but My, my favorite thing, like we all have like what, we, whatever our thing, you know I don't have to say your job. yeah. My jam. Yeah. That's my jam. Yeah. You know what? My favorite jam is. not strawberry or I don't actually, I don't actually like jam be truthful in that, in the concrete sense, but my favorite thing is watching other people's Joe. Yeah, it's true. Witnessing there. Jeff. I love going to circle craft. I am making these dog biscuits, organic, something something I'm listening to their story. I buy the dog biscuit. This is, I'm not buying the biscuit. I'm buying your story,

Shaun Pepper:

the narrative.

Christine Younghusband:

Yeah. because, I make these hand painted silk scarves, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I'm like, and I'm thinking to myself, like why, you know but then I'm so drawn to their drive and their passion and their. the the intrinsic good. The th that they're exuding as they're talking about there, their jam. And so I love going to pro D I love listening and yes, I'm learning, but I'm so drawn to. People's jam. And then, so

Shaun Pepper:

yeah, I think there's something that you notice when somebody is in their flow state where they're comfortable and they they're truly. Engaged in the world could fall away to the side and they would still be doing that. And there's something so authentic and raw about it as well

Christine Younghusband:

and so when I think about that in the jam and my alignment and purpose and why, and how do we keep forging forward in a joyful way? I want that for students. Yeah. and I think BC's curriculum is aligned to that thinking, how do we personalize learning so that they can find their jam.

Shaun Pepper:

Yeah, for sure. how have you, how do you see the change in creating teacher candidates space? Like what's the biggest shift? So a lot of people are going to listen to this podcast from a range of professions and disciplines. and. how do you see the shift between when you were in teacher education and to what you're trying to instill today and what what is the biggest kind of takeaways from that?

Christine Younghusband:

Yeah. I, I'll say a few things. One, one thing I'll say about my teacher education program. yes, I got through. Yes, I got probably better grades than I thought I would. So and also my practicum experience was I met some really good people. And ironically, I think where people industry is because I that's how I got my first job because the person I was commuting in with who was friends with my teacher sponsor knew the principal of the school that was hiring that's how that's it, that's how I got through the door. And it was like, I had no idea. but I was just looking back at me as a candidate and being in that classroom. I was so concerned about how I looked and how I was being judged. And I was worried about if I was meeting the targets, if you will. And I was high anxiety. And you're constantly,

Shaun Pepper:

that like this is a career that you want to do. And so this one year will determine whether or not you're whatever you wanted to do and your career path is going to be. There are not. And I think, yeah. Yeah. And so when I see, and I can't speak for all teachers, and I think all teacher EDS always come with this, I will say a similar mindset.

Christine Younghusband:

We all, we're all trying to create these programs that are best suited for the students in front of us. And then therefore the students in front of them for, from where I am at UNBC and with the redesign and what we're trying to create. especially with practicum is back to those, what we've just been talking about is that I have to be honest with them. I have to stick with a high level of integrity that we have standards that we're going to try to meet in that really encouraged creativity. And you can't have all those things without the relationship. do I wish the relationship was better because I'm doing remote learning and they get done with remote learning. Cause I know I get zoomed out too. And so then I'm trying to connect up with them asynchronously, which is also weird. really challenging.

Shaun Pepper:

but you're in, somebody's living room. You're not in a shared space. Like it's like now you're all of a sudden in somebody's home. Yeah, like we are right now.

Christine Younghusband:

Totally. And you miss out on the nuances, you miss out on the little things, you know like if, when you go to a conference it's not the conference. That was the best part. It was me bumping into in the hallway and we had a chat. And, you know it's those little things that I'm missing out on right now. And I'm trying to make the best of it. I think that we all are too generally, but the big shift for me is really mindset. Yeah, mindset and I know we can talk about growth mindset, et cetera. but it, I think in that sort of way of thinking is how I want people to believe and feel. And this is the one thing I'm learning now in higher ed. And I think that we, I was doing it probably in K-12, but maybe not. So explicitly I'm really learning is like, how are you leaving people in terms of how they feel. Yeah, it does in anything. That's what they're going to remember.

Shaun Pepper:

The social, emotional side, and yeah it's, that's the most important part. I think that. Maybe was tucked away before, but that really changes everything. it does honestly like how you're feeling and also being able to express how you're feeling. I'm not a psychologist by any means, but there is lots of evidence to support, the mental health crisis that we're facing with. Teens and young people. And we experienced that challenge as teenagers, but I don't think we experienced that to the level that students and teenagers are experiencing that now. Also, people are fearful of getting too open. And what I mean by that is You know that relationship thing, the boundary between teacher and student, I've talked to people about this, trying to be there and be supportive, but not get too much into something where you're you create this like emotional kind of dependency, if that makes sense.

Christine Younghusband:

Yeah. it's so interesting because the way we've been trying to design and really I'll say design, which infers intentionality. That's right. And I love design and how we're designed. the BA program is in, particularly with practicum is those relationships is to be vulnerable, is to be able to share those things is we have two sets of triads. One tried as the formal triad, which is, the university, we call them practice evaluators. And then we have the, the teacher candidate, which is the student teacher. And then we also have the coaching teacher, which is the teacher sponsor. and and we try to create that relationships so that they're there in a little hub. And certainly I take on a role of BEd coordinator. So I'm outside of that triad, really trying to support their work. So if they have questions, if they have concerns, they all three of them should know. I have their back. Yeah. All three of them should know that. So everything I hear is feedback. yeah. And so that's, so we can get into those tough conversations, looping back in. We can get them those pumps because they know I have their back. They're not left alone to handle it. I am here to facilitate or be the bad guy. It doesn't matter, like whatever is going to help that teacher candidate to meet expectations. Let's do it. That's where my attitude is with that. They also have an informal triad, which is a triad within the teacher candidates. And so they. So we designed that as a framework, as part of their learning experience so that they can have, practice standard to how to be a professional, a practices, but also have those conversations of sharing. And also maybe that shoulder to lean on because, if we don't have those one or two or three people that we can lean on, In in, in confidence, um to be super vulnerable that's where it back to teacher burnout.

Shaun Pepper:

That's I completely agree. I couldn't agree more. And I think that's so important that you guys are developing frameworks and ways to design and think about it. And that's actually one of the frustrations that I've had. I stumbled into design because I became a design teacher in IB. I had a master's degree in educational technology. They wanted to do some sort of digital design. And I said, I can do that because I've always played with digital design. I love digital design, but when I got into the design thinking aspect of it, I was always fascinated by. The ability to use these sort of strategies to create things that meet the needs or the stakeholders of that specific community. I think a lot of the times we take these large kind of frameworks that we can place them into all these different areas. And they're not necessarily going to work. And so what needs to happen is, like you said, we need to think about ways that we can design our own learning community based on a North star set of principles, your principles, to social, emotional learning. That's going to be your North star. Now, other things are going to be in there, but we're going to design from the perspective that we want to make sure that teachers don't burn out. And that's our starting point. And now how do we do that? and I I find that so meaningful to to hear from you to that, that's happening because I don't know that was happening 10 years ago. I don't know that there was intentionality. I think there might've been like, they do it this way. We do it this way. We do it that way. And I don't know that there was much thinking about how to design, like design as opposed to, how do we meet the standards? Does that make sense? Yeah.

Christine Younghusband:

No. And I think that's the shift. I think in the end it takes some of the, I'll say the goods, the good, the goodness from BC's curriculum. One, one is personalized learning, like that. And this is this is one of those tough conversations that I'm having, not everyone has the same learning experience in practicum, so we can't treat and serve and support all candidates the same way. Yeah. That's a big, that's a big idea at the university. So I'm just gonna put that out there, but that's a K to 12 and BC is trying to do, which I think again, another big idea. But how do we create that? how do we create that? We all have this criteria that we're trying to meet it w so it doesn't matter how the kid gets there, or it doesn't matter how the teacher candidate gets there. No, but we need to meet those criteria. That's what matters. The other part is that I love the idea of you bringing up design, but the design thinking ADST we have to in teacher education really adopt that mindset of that iterative process, that this is about. Experiencing, this is about planning. This is about taking risks and learning from it and yes, it's not going to be perfect. And so I think the real shift, I think, where a 10 years ago, or if myself, 20, 25 years ago, I just think my mindset was, Oh, I've done my classes. I should be able to teach. And the constant reminder I have to give out to my people. is this teacher candidates, coaching teachers and practice evaluators and my administrators and our instructors, no practicum is a learning experience. They are trying to transfer a theory into practice. So don't expect. Do you not expect because they've took that assessment course that they know how to assess students in your grade two class versus your physics 12 class, because that theory will look different in both those classes. Of course,

Shaun Pepper:

applied practice is so important and something that you like to be really honest, something that changes by the culture of the community too. Like I'm fortunate that I've only done two year stints because I w I, after I, I left Canada for my first year, I had a student loan debt. I was like, I gotta pay it. and then, you're, you signed two year contracts internationally. And so you get to actually go into all these different educational communities. And that's a real interesting thing because. Not only is your practice based on, what you're bringing in, but it's also shaped by the people that, that the constraints I call them enabling constraints in some areas of what's available to you. If you don't have the resources or if you don't have the time in the schedule, if you don't the way that you did things in your previous school or the way that you did things last year, isn't going to work now. You have a different set of students in front of you, for example. So now how do you keep doing that? And one of the things I wanted to touch on with you just before we leave is how do you then make people feel okay? Because, so you can fail a practicum. So this is something that's always been on my mind. You can fail a practicum, correct? And, but, and you can you can fail at teaching. Like you could not get hired or you can do a poor job at teaching, but how do you then. Get people and encourage people to feel safe enough to try new things and fail. If what they could do is to be safe. And that's always something that's been playing on my mind. I've always been the risk taker. So for instance, like I knew that I probably, in my first practicum that we were discussing, I knew I should have probably just like just let go of it. But again, I couldn't.

Christine Younghusband:

Couldn't do it provoking me, Sean. Cause I would probably would have said to you as one of the people who supported your learning as in your practicum, I would have probably said to you, that's that there's why is that provoking? You. and and to take that as the learning, why is that tapping your shoulder? Why was whatever that educator was doing would be worthwhile not worthwhile in your practice? that actually, ironically is maybe frustrating at the time.

Shaun Pepper:

Yes was probably was posing to you. Probably one of the best learning opportunities you have, right. The one that informed you the most about who you are as an educator. And it framed your thinking in terms of your guiding principles, as you started moving forward as in, into your practice. So if you were actually in classrooms, what worked out perfectly air quotes perfectly, then we couldn't hone in on that. Not to say that we should always be faced with the imperfect. I'm not saying that or the misalignment or disconnected or whatever. But I think that's what I think is so fast because here you are, you know you're saying 10 years after your teacher, ed, that that still resonates with you. that's actually part of your, why, like what I think is fascinating. So I want you to take a step back and think, wow, that was actually probably the best thing that's ever, And I'll say this it also like it, it did ruffle my feathers a bit because I had to then actually get like an advocacy. There's different ways of teaching. Yeah. There's different ways up the mountain. so I had to then advocate on my behalf and get somebody else to come advocate on my behalf to then do the practicum again. And then cause my whole thing was. Yeah, cause I failed the first practicum and I said, listen if I fail again, then totally. I'll accept that. That'll be fine. I just want to be with somebody that's more on the facilitation side because I've always been a great facilitator and I don't like and. That at that time, that was coming off as not being prepared. Oh, this went a little bit longer, this went a little bit shorter or whatever. Um and really my point was to try and engage the students as much as possible and meet them in an active way. And that was my North star and that wasn't everybody's North star. That's that everybody's different. And so in my second practicum, I did see a lot of success, but that was because there was alignment in our North star. Yeah.

Christine Younghusband:

Yeah, totally. And I and it's interesting, cause I also think that systems, back to the, your coaching teacher and the people who are supporting you otherwise need to understand who the learner is too. So I think that's part of the work of teacher education programs to do that you asked me how to, how do we create that for our students to take risks? We have to, we always have to be, I will say nourishing and creating space for us. For teacher candidates to build their efficacy in the practice and not just, teacher candidates, but also our coaching teachers, the ones that who support them in the classroom, because they themselves are taking a risk in lots of ways, which is, yeah, you've got another adult in the room you're responsible for educating them. you got to disclose your thinking. So you have to be a hundred percent vulnerable, a hundred percent believer. Yeah.

Shaun Pepper:

People are observing your lessons now, and that doesn't happen.

Christine Younghusband:

Yeah. Classrooms are walking into your classroom. So even though it's a fixed framework, cause we're walking in there as guests, but they have to show you that. Because typically, as when you're in the practice, and all these communities that we're trying to create within the program. And I love when teacher candidates say to me what we were alone when we're teaching. Yeah. So it's, I think it's ironic, right? Because we'd be created. So well, this community building and collective action and and collaboration and communication and all those good things that, yeah, when you're standing there in front of 30 students, it's just, you. like so how do you create those communities to, to feel good about just being you in that classroom? Number one, creating space for that teacher candidate to do that, helping and supporting the coaching teacher as they're being vulnerable, because they're taking a lot of risks by having a teacher candidate and then also the university, the person who's supporting them. I have to support them to let them know that they, that it's okay. That it's okay. And you know what, the teacher candidates who are really struggling right now in our practicum are the ones who are too concerned with the show too concerned about how they are doing it, the ones who are connected to their students, creating these learning opportunities for their students, creating engagement for their students, those teacher candidates in the, in their, in the supporting teachers. Or are doing okay. it's the ones that are like, I have to put on the show. I wa I didn't do this. I didn't do that. And I'm like, okay. But. How did that connect to student learning? how did that connect to your students? that's a big thing. And the way I started diagnosed that I'm going to say, this is my diagnosis, because I will tell you as we end this, because I really wanted to say this about teacher education, because it was an awakening coming back to teacher education. Cause you forget how difficult it is to become a teacher. We forget that teaching is a profession. It is complex, a complex as tons of things to know, and it will be our lifetime to know a fraction of that. Um and honestly the candidates who go through our program and I've witnesses are in transformation. They're transforming from student to educator. And that is a huge paradigm shift. And again, the people who are struggling, not just, worried about, Oh, I didn't hand out this swearing and whatever I'm I'm reenacting. I have no idea but the sense that father they're all focused on themselves. And so what about the people, again, who you're serving what's happened to them and you know what the problem is that they're still a student. Their mindset is still student, the ones who are in my mind, meeting expectations in their current illnesses or short practicum or her meeting expectations. Because, we frame it as taking risks. We frame it as being creative, we frame it, whatever. But what truth is, they're learning their identities as educators. That's the short practicum. And as they're doing that, they're succeeding. It's the ones who still identify themselves as I'm a student that got to get this right. I got to pass that observation. I got there in that head space. They're struggling. Back to the original of our beginning of our talk is, the letting go human nature thing. They got to let go. This is not about the grade. It's not about the grade. Let that go.

Shaun Pepper:

Yeah. I think that's a lot in a lot of professional programs too. Like I have, I've spoken to a lot of people that have done medicine as well. And they said you don't, there's not really a way you can fail out of medical school. Like you would have to once you're in there it's pretty supportive. I mean they're trying everything they want you to succeed. And I think that's the same thing with with teaching is that once you're there. Once you're there and you've qualified and you're putting your best foot forward. I don't want to say that people don't fail because lots of people do fail, but

Christine Younghusband:

And I don't perceive fail as bad. Yeah,

Shaun Pepper:

no me neither. No,

Christine Younghusband:

I think

Shaun Pepper:

it's a career. It's a career path. it's a choice to pursue a different career path and maybe it's not the right career path for you

Christine Younghusband:

possibly. I say, it's always a question back is how important is this to you? and what are you willing to do to not compromising self, but what are you willing to do to get to where you want to be?

Shaun Pepper:

Yep. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. and interesting in that discussion was that was how much energy I had to put in to make sure that I was still going to graduate and then pass the practicum. And then, cause then the expectation is that much higher, right? When we, when you move on to the full practicum, the amount of pressure was. Much more plus the amount of work that I had to do outside of that to just make it happen. Cause I knew I wanted to be an educator and I knew I wanted to make a difference. So you're very right about our biggest failures end up being our biggest learning, learning yeah. Biggest teacher. Absolutely. Yeah. Just the closing question. So how would you like people's lives to change as a result of your interaction at work at home or online?

Christine Younghusband:

So I heard my purpose, which is to improve the learning experiences of students. Um and I've taken on different roles and continue to do that, which is fun to recognize what sort of my direction is. but honestly, how do I, what I'm really looking for. And I want this for my child to, in her learning experiences. And it sounds pretty cliche, but I really believe in this. I want people to be happy. Yeah. That's I hope so. If they're going through practicum and I love getting feedback emails so I check in with them and they, and all you hear is joy. Awesome. Yeah. Awesome. and so people had a great class. And I'm not saying, and I'm not saying that every step along the way is going to be easy. It shouldn't be, if we're really are trying to create change or transform or learn or learning is not necessarily easy, there is, I think that there's elements of struggle. I think that's, it's important to have that there. but but as they're doing it, they need to be happy. Where they're going, they need to be happy. And and I always think that we always talk about self check or checking in. If we're not feeling that way, if we're not presenting ourselves that way, then it's a question that we have to answer. So that's what I, that's what I hope for. A trail, I want to leave behind me. Happy happiness.

Shaun Pepper:

cause I'm happy, dude. I can say that genuinely, you're one of my favorite people to talk to you about education. You are poignant. You do actually, you get down to the nitty gritty. During that whole time, you're giggling and laughing. And that's one of the reasons I really wanted to interview you today. So you do definitely bring that happiness to your discussion no matter what that is.

Christine Younghusband:

What was my answer? Did I get it right?

Shaun Pepper:

you missed the bubble. You were outside of the multiple choice bubble and it didn't actually scan when I went to put it through the scanner. So I don't know if I can give that to you. If people want to engage with you and your work, where can they find you online?

Christine Younghusband:

so right now publicly, they can find me on Twitter. I think that's my best modality in education @ChristineYH

Shaun Pepper:

perfect. Wonderful. thank you so much for being on the podcast and I really appreciate you helping us understand teacher education and the transformation that's happening in education. Thank you.

Christine Younghusband:

No, thanks for having me, Sean.