Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

poem-pick axe March 14, 2016

I am a pick axe.

I grimly focus on the patch of ground

in front of me, and chip, chip, chip away

at the rocks that block my way.

I will wear down this mountain

day by day.

I will find a seam and harvest value.

Today, it may seem too hard to do,

but I will chip, chip, chip away anyway

until I’ve made a hill of this mountain,

and have found the other side..




I’m smack in the middle of my penultimate grad school course.  I’m finding it hard to concentrate, what with the recent family deaths and illness and related stress.  After a long day at work, I just want to curl up in a warm corner and snooze. This is a required course, so there’s nothing for it but chipping away at readings, chipping away at assignments, chipping away at papers, and then it’ll be over.  One month until the last paper is due, and then it’s through!  The end is nigh!






poem-stop November 25, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:48 am
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This is a stop.

But only a brief one.

Long journeys



Elementary school.

Secondary school.

One bachelor’s degree.

Two bachelor’s degrees.

And finally school feels finished.

So we will celebrate as you don the cap and gown,

walk across a stage,

accept the diploma.

We’ll snap the photos and be glad

This is a stop in the educational journey

But soon it will be your own class room,

filled with your students,

and soon you’ll realize,

your education is just beginning.



poem-leaving August 31, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:44 pm
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The trucks are packed

tight with boxes and furniture.

You’re off to The Big City for university,

to earn the final credentials to begin your career.


Sorry to hear about the flat tire on the Coquihalla Highway, kid.




The Coquihalla Highway connects the interior of BC with the Lower Mainland and Greater Vancouver.  It is a high mountain pass.



Mastering the art… April 30, 2013

Filed under: Teaching — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:27 pm
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Today I accepted placement in a Masters of Education program in Curriculum.  I am hoping to study the innovations in the Finnish system, and hope to take advantage of university exchanges in order to travel to Finland to observe their system in high school class rooms.  As I speak passable Finnish, have lived in Finland, and understand the Finnish culture, I imagine this will be easier for me than many North American educators curious about this system that is one of the few that ranks above Canada’s.  (Four  points above Canada, 22 points above the UK, and 25 points above the US in the 2009 PISA rankings).

I was offered placements at two institutions, so it was a bit of decision, but I am looking forward to studying in the intimate and flexible environment of Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.

Studies won’t begin until September, which hopefully will provide opportunity to finish the editing of Grace Awakening Myth (book 3 in the series) and finish writing Grace Awakening Destiny (book 4) before I start.  I will be teaching (probably full-time) while I am studying, so I will definitely not have any time to be marketing either book with all my Saturdays in classes in Kamloops for the next couple of years!

Do you have a Masters?  Did you do it full time or part time?  How did you find the process?  Do you have any tips?


easy university December 5, 2012

Filed under: Teaching — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:34 pm
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Is university too easy?  Is high school too easy, so kids aren’t prepared for the rigour of university?

Margaret Wente has an interesting piece in the Globe and Mail today.  She asserts that university is being dumbed down because kids have no work ethic or self-discipline.  Knowing that my English 12 class has a phenomenal average (although there are 23 girls to 6 boys, and that definitely has an impact), I know that most of my students work hard and are able to think critically.

I am always surprised that my grade 9 students don’t know some basic things like grammar, sentences, etc.  When I taught at a Middle Elementary school a couple years ago, I was intrigued to see that the kids are taught the skills repetitively from about grade 2.  I don’t know why the kids think it’s new every time, but I’m sure there is some brain theory at play.  Do people dump previous learning whenever they move from one institution to another?

My students know how to write sentences, craft paragraphs, and properly organize a research paper.  I hope they remember when they get to university!  In the last couple of years I’ve received notes from past students relaying compliments they received on their essays, “You must have had a good English teacher in high school.”  🙂  I hope they all have the same comments on their papers!

What do you think?  Is high school or university too easy these days?



keep walking August 13, 2011

Filed under: Pondering — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:31 pm
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If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking. ~Buddhist Saying

It may take a while, but step by step, you get closer to your goal.  Don’t give up.  Don’t be discouraged.  Just keep moving forward.

While I was going to university, I got married, had babies, and moved a dozen times.  These were not activities that promoted speedy academic progress!  It took me 8 years to get my first degree, step by step, course by course.   Eventually the end arrives, if you keep moving toward your goal.

When I was writing Grace Awakening, I wrote 5 pages a day, 25 pages a week, for 6 months.  23 weeks later, there was a novel on my computer.   Some people write 8 hours a day and do 20 or 30 pages a day.  They speed through a novel in a month.  My pace may seem like I’m a tortoise in comparison, but I got there.  If I had gotten down on myself for not being a speedy hare, I might not have finished at all.

Slow and steady wins the race.

Keep your eyes on the prize.



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