Life with hiccups

Everyone breathes in air to sustain life. Sometimes you breathe easy, other times you've got the hiccups.

A teacher’s poetic goodbye

Mixed emotions fill my heart today.  I’m staying up, prolonging what tomorrow will bring.  As a teacher, I have spent most of my career in such a fabulous place.  Thamesford Public School, has been wonderful to me.  It will be tough to leave close friends and a caring community for the great unknown.

I do look forward to something fresh, since that’s what life is all about.  Change is good, and it’s time I had some.  So, I look forward to shorter drives, longer family time, and fresh faces at my new school.

Teachers become attached to their schools.  We gain friends and familiarity, which makes work feel like family time.  We watch our students learn and grow as they move through their education journey. Tonight I attended grad and was so inspired by the passion and drive those graduates displayed.

Cheers! To new beginnings!

I’ll leave you with the goodbye poem I plan to say tomorrow during the final assembly.  I hope I don’t cry when I’m up there since they call me concrete around there. Oh well, even concrete cracks…so let’s just wait-and-see what happens.

P.S. If you’re a teacher….or just curious, stop by my classroom website and check-out our stop motion animation art work.  It was great fun! Click on “Ms. Solway’s,” below in the poem title.


Thamesford Public School Thunderbirds

Ms. Solway’s Tribute to the T-Birds

I walked into TPS just nine years ago,
A fresh teacher ready to begin.
I was relaxed by all the friendly TPS staff,
And that helped me find ways to pitch in.

Coaching volleyball was such a natural choice,
The athletes so eager and nice.
First coaching the girls, then the boys,
Such energy and drive added spice.

As the years wore on, my teaching grew,
And balanced literacy became all the rave.
That’s when School Council stepped up to the plate,
Thunderwalk money is what they gave.

Along came Ms. De Vree to take on music,
A school show turned me into a believer.
TPS students – sure do give it their best,
So clear when they caught that show fever!

Grade 5, Grade 5/6, Grade 6, even 4/5,
Students learning with passion and fun.
Learning cycles with teaching staff came ‘round,
We found ways to Bump-Up everyone.

Hmm. Time for a break from this fabulous school,
I think… I’ll head on downtown.
To that big board office where opportunity knocks,
I’ll try on the Literacy coach crown.

People are so serious and official down there,
Not as nice as all of you here.
So, back I came for more volleyball and shows,
Terry Fox, and Remembrance Day cheer.

So many friends I look out there and see,
How is it – I’ve decided to go?
All the fun memories and wonderful people sitting there,
And students I have come to know.

So, TPS please don’t change even one thing,
I love your good hearts and nature.
Thunderbirds soar up high over it all,
Excellence is what you should wager.

So long for now, we’ll see each other again,
For the world is so small don’t you see?
Eight great years as a soaring Thunderbird,
Has been a real privilege for me.


Change is Good!

To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly. ~Henri Bergson

After you’ve done a thing the same way for two years, look it over carefully. After five years, look at it with suspicion. And after ten years, throw it away and start all over. ~Alfred Edward Perlman, New York Times, 3 July 1958.

I wish I could say definitively, that I’ve always been the type who enjoys change. But that would be a white lie. At times my desire to change-things-up, to try something new, or to adjust accordingly have been my best qualities. As a teacher, things pop up out of nowhere, all the time. Planning a school day, down to the minute, is just pointless and very frustrating. We all work in a place where things pop-up and our approach, strategy, technique, or model needs to change. Change equals growth. Change is when we learn new things, and when we learn what we’re made of.

Yes, there are some who know me who would say that I, “go with the flow”, I’m flexible and adaptable, or easygoing. Other people might say I’m highly specific, routine, and consistent…or constant. What I will say though, is I am far from being: rigid, inflexible, controlling (ummm most of the time), or uptight.

I think we all enjoy change, at some point in time. Some of us demand change to be able to stay interested, engaged, or fresh. Others like consistency and routine because it’s comfortable there, or we like to practice and fine-tune things while they stay in one place (that’s me). These people like change…after they feel they’ve absorbed and grown fully from that encounter, or experience. Really, when the target stays in one place, we can practice over-and-over until we hit it. LOL, that sounded a lot like controlling and rigid. Whoops!

When life gets busy, complicated, or too many things are rolling down at once, I get uneasy and feel the chaos coming. I quickly try to CREATE and FIND routines. I look for calm and serenity by creating patterns and predictability. In some instances, I have found this to be very helpful and effective. But some things in life DO NOT lend themselves to patterns, routines, and predictability. So, approaching them as such, leads to failure and frustration. So, this is where it is better to play your flexible and adaptable cards.

What I do believe is this, change keeps things interesting. When things change, I pay attention, I engage, I tune-in, I’m in the moment, I take in the information, I show interest.

Change is good! We all grow with change and we reengage with life. We meet new people, try new things, learn new ways, and find new passion. I’m due for a change. So, after teaching at Thamesford Public School for the past nine years, I am packing up to head to a school closer to home. It is another step closer to simplifying life, so I can have more fun living it!!

What are your views on change?


Wow, my first blog award nomination!

I must admit, I was quite excited when Coach Sue, over at, “The Courage To Adventure Blog” sent me a message to tell me she was nominating me for the, “One Lovely Blog Award”.  I am grateful and honoured, to receive this “gift” from one of my favourite bloggers.  Coach Sue consistently posts blogs that are inspiring, positive, insightful…and real.  When I read her posts, I come away feeling more relaxed, invigorated and enlightened. So, you have to go and visit Coach Sue! Thank you for the nomination!

Like all blogging awards, the “One Lovely Blog Award” has a few requests of the nominee.  I will do my best to follow the rules, but to be perfectly honest, I have NEVER been very good at doing that (lol). So, here are the rules:

  • Give generous thanks to the blogger that nominated you – Check!
  • Write seven things about yourself.
  • Make a list of 15 bloggers you admire and let them know how awesome they are! These folks are the next round of honorees for the “One Lovely Blog Award” (I have decided to stick with 10).

Here I go…

Seven things about myself:

1) My mom always called me her third son, since I was an extreme Tomboy from a young age.  But with two fully stocked, testosterone brothers; I didn’t stand a chance at becoming a dignified, elegant, feminine lady.

2) I am sort of a published writer…sort of.  Upon completing my Honours BA in Psychology, with thesis…my thesis went on to become part of a published article in the journal, Animal Cognition. The title of the article is, Chunking versus foraging search patterns by rats in the hierarchically baited radial maze. This explains a lot about me, doesn’t it? I studied animal behaviour.  This does explain why I am such and effective grade six teacher (lol).

3) I played varsity volleyball (power hitter) and varsity soccer (goalkeeper) for the University of Windsor Lancers. Being a goalkeeper for a low ranking university soccer team is a very frustrating experience though, trust me.

4) I love teaching students, mentoring teachers, and doing anything related to learning about learning (that sounds awkward), see #2.

5) I think, operate, and approach life at mach speed.

6) I have struggled with bouts of perfectionism, but I think I have finally perfected my way out of it. Ba-ha-ha-ha!

7) Family time is my favourite time.  When all four of us are together, everything just feels better.

Now it’s time to nominate some other worthy bloggers. To be honest, I only visit a handful of blogs because I tend to read every post and all comments.  I try NOT to spend endless hours online, so although I do read a lot of blogs, I don’t follow fifteen.  Many of the blogs I do visit are more commercial or professional and my understanding is that the “One Lovely Blog Award” is not really something they would re-post or acknowledge. I will list as many lovely blogs as I can. I would urge you to visit them, since they all do wonderful work in their own way.

1. – also on Coach Sue’s list, but it is one of my favourites!
2. – The Red Neck Princess is fun, real, and spirited
4. – celebrates the many rewards and benefits of writing in a wonderful way
5. – shares her writing, her writing tips, and inspires those who love to write
6. – words to inspire and motivate us to live and be positive
7. – real and honest information about health and nutrition
8. – for the wannabe writer in me
9. – finding the balance between the busy and the body
10. – Dan Rockwell doesn’t need my recognition, but you need to follow him if you have any interest in leadership, human resources, business, or organizational harmony (regardless of industry)

Thanks again, Coach Sue! Keep sharing, writing, and inspiring.

All the best,


How about a bit of poetry?

After a full day of report card writing…I thought I would post a poem I attempted, after hiking one of our wonderful trails at the Lower Thames River Conservation Area. London, Ontario is known as the, Forest City and this is a title we certainly deserve.

Poetry is not really my thing, but I pretend to try every once in a while.



Out we are on our familiar trail, feeling a warm unexpected breeze.

My young ones march on through the mud, with a squish and a squelch.

Nimble they are, tippy-toeing along downed logs, pressing down  in the thick mud.


Watch out! I call out, as mountain bikes whiz by!

SQUACK go their brakes, as the riders’ edge down the steep hill on two wheels.

The vitality in the wood vibrates, with animals, critters, and explorers carrying on.


Out on the pond their long, ebony necks dip-in, looking for lunch.

My young ones race ahead, taking every risk their path has to offer.

They beam with joy, planning every step, through muddy traps and slippery logs.


Detectives we become, seeking out our skinny, slithery friend.

SNAP goes the camera, over-and-over again.  Did we capture his urgent attempts to hide?

We leave him be, and carry on to our destination. Civilization awaits.


Up high in the sky, competing with every chirp, tweet, bleat and caw.

Birds welcome this wonderful day in Spring.

Our adventure is complete and we bid farewell to our familiar trail.

My daughter Allie, looking out over a London pond at the Lower Thames River Conservation Area.

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