About Nicola Whitehouse
Nicola Whitehouse (@MrsNWhitehouse), is Vice-Principal at St. Peter Catholic High School in Orleans. The first nine years of her teaching career were in London, UK and combined with her time spent in Canada she has over ten years experience as a school administrator. Nicola has worked in both private and public education systems here in Canada. She has worked as a vice-principal with the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) for the last four years.
Nicola is deeply passionate about championing student voices to lead change. She believes that demonstrating respect for students and their families by listening to their ideas, being open to those ideas and genuinely considering their value is key. She is an advocate for student associations that provide opportunities for youth to find places of affinity as well as collaborate on solution-based approaches that are essential to providing mentally healthy and supportive education for all. Nicola is married with two children, aged 8 and 10.
**Please note that all of our transcriptions come from rev.com and are 80% accurate. We’re grateful for the robots that make this possible and realize that it’s not a perfect process.
Sam Demma (00:01):
Nicola welcome to the high performing educator podcast. Huge pleasure to have you on the show here today. Please start by introducing yourself.
Nicola Whitehouse (00:09):
Thanks Sam. I’m really happy to be with you today. Thanks so much for the invite. This is gonna be awesome. My name’s Nicola Whitehouse. I am currently a vice principal with the Ottawa Catholic school board. I am fourth year as a vice principal with St. Peter’s Catholic high school out in Orleans. I have been an educator for over 20 years now, which is pretty crazy. Nice to think about that. And about, yeah, I’m just hitting my 10th year of administration. It’s been a pretty awesome so far. I’m a mom and I have two kids who are 10 and eight. And my husband is also in education, so yeah, lots of, lots of chat about school. And being a teacher, being a principal in our house, for sure.
Sam Demma (00:57):
How did you get into education? Did you know from a young age, this is what you want, wanted to do? Tell us a little bit about the path.
Nicola Whitehouse (01:04):
Yeah. You know, it’s so it’s so funny because I saw that question, you know, and you gave me a heads up that we’re gonna chat about it. And it’s one of those things. I sometimes pause to think, how did this happen? And it, it has always been this way for me. Mm. My mother was in education. She finished out her career as the head of student services. My father was an engineer in math and science was like a big part of his life. I have three younger brothers and they kind of took that path and I just felt this natural affinity for education. I enjoyed school. I loved the community sense, the social aspect of, of what school offered me. I really liked leading and, and working with others. And so it just felt like a natural fit that that was gonna be, you know, where I was gonna go.
Nicola Whitehouse (01:54):
I think when I was young in high school, I was, I really gravitated towards the student leadership programs, the mentorship opportunities to work with younger kids to help them, you know, with their learning. And, and then off I went and I, I did my undergrad at Trent university and I was part of their concurrent education program, which saw my last year at Queens, which was amazing. And Queens was phenomenal in opening up opportunities for international teaching experiences. And, and then, you know, off, I went to the UK to a brand new school. It had been in existence for about a year. And, and then my career started there, but yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s just sometimes you just know, and I’ve never thought for a second that I wanted to do something different. I wanted to do different things in education, but like that is always felt home to me and really natural. So yeah, I don’t have like a, you know, sometimes we finds like, oh, I was doing this and I was doing that. And then I ended up in education. My path has been like pretty straight on that being the, the, the, what, what is it? The, the path I’m meant to be on, essentially, I guess if that a better word.
Sam Demma (03:01):
And, and off you went to the UK. Yeah,
Nicola Whitehouse (03:05):
I know. Right.
Sam Demma (03:07):
That’s a big, that’s a big statement. Can you bring us back to that point in your journey and tell, share a little bit more about what inspired you to move there, what you did in the UK and how it influenced you.
Nicola Whitehouse (03:22):
Cool. Yeah, for sure. Yeah, I go, that sounds so simplistic. Right. But I, you know, at 18 I had the amazing opportunity. The school boards in Ontario are pretty phenomenal. I think they run similar type opportunities now, but you were able to go and do a credit, you know, for your final years of high school in, in England was the opportunity. And so I went for the summer and I did a modern Western history course and lived in residence up near Regents park in London. And it was one of those memories that I had stick with me for a really long time. And it was almost always my goal to go back. I think we all maybe feel a connection to our heritage and our ancestry. And I come from an Irish British background and there was something that I wanted to go and connect with, you know, in my future.
Nicola Whitehouse (04:14):
So education offered the opportunity, you know, it was at a time in education where the teaching lists were full. You know, I graduated in 2003. I was ready to start teaching and people were looking for opportunities to kind of take their profession around the world. And so this new school came up and what was really cool too for me was that I wasn’t going to go through the supply to aging agencies. Right. So when you would go over to Europe as a young teacher in your first five years, trying to prove yourself and make connections, you were often picked up by these agencies. And it was day to day as, as, as it would be for supply teacher, but they get kind of complicated and it wasn’t necessarily secure. So there was this new school, it was in the east far east part of London, an area called Beckton.
Nicola Whitehouse (05:03):
So anybody who knows who’s listening, who knows London they run this train aboveground train called the DLR, and we were the final stop, you know, in the east part. And it was in an area that was going through some regrowth and redevelopment. And the school had had a lot of funding put behind it to create this really great opportunity for the kids in the area. And I, Sam, I turned up, I got off the flight. I’m an overp packer. I’m ridiculous. Like I had bags upon bags, pump bags. And my buddy that I was traveling with, looked at me and like, you, you’re not gonna be like, carry all that. Like, I don’t understand where you think this is going. Right. And so I was the safety concern. I had people on the tube, you know, the modern, the, the guys running the tube, kind of on the speaker saying, ma’am do you need somebody to help you?
Nicola Whitehouse (05:53):
Like, it was just like a full, like, depository of all my things, my life, I dragged it into a, a house where I roomed with four or five other educators. And it was, it was crazy Sam, like, it was such a, this is a fun part about when you’re in the beginning of your career and you’re just starting out and you have all these hopes and dreams for what you want it to be. And you’re looking to make these professional connections. And you’re looking to learn to start out with young people in the same situation was phenomenal, you know, and we were put in situations that trusted us, you know, gave us like great amounts of leadership, working with families, working with kids, working on projects that were building this school up from its beginnings to, to what it is a legacy to now, you know, of being a really great institution and you were doing it on the daily with young people who were your age in their, in their twenties.
Nicola Whitehouse (06:45):
And some were a bit older, you know, in their thirties and, and had been in the careers maybe 15, 20 years that you were getting mentorship from, but it created this really unique environment of experiences that I have carried with me, you know because you don’t know what you’re doing when you get in there right away. And you’ve, you’ve been interviewing a lot of educators and a lot of individuals that are in maybe formal education in a, in a high school or in elementary school in other ways doing education. But you don’t know when you start and that’s that you’re learning, you are a learner and that’s, what’s so key to being, I think good and, and high performing and successful as an educator is that when you take that stance as a learner, and you’re constantly seeking out the next opportunity in the next moment to grow, that’s where I think we see the greatest success as a teacher.
Nicola Whitehouse (07:34):
And so a big part of what was going on for me in the U and the experiences I was having there with, you know, limited kind of knowledge of how to do this properly. That’s I think how I became so great, cause I had to learn, I had to figure it out. I had to survive, right. And it was about survival and people listening again that were, are in their first five years of teaching. When you’re growing your resources, you’re growing your skills, behavior management, you’re learning how to develop yourself like pedagogically, but also on how you build relationships with families and with their kids. Those first five years are hard. And they’re some that are like, I’m out. I can’t, this is like too much emotionally it’s too much work long to all that kind of stuff. And then there’s others that really flourish and, and they become incredibly strong. You know, it’s those first five years, we always say, you have to make it through.
Sam Demma (08:28):
Nicola Whitehouse (08:28):
You, I dunno if that’s like what you’re looking for there.
Sam Demma (08:30):
Yeah. That was a phenomenal response. Did you pick up any slang while you were in the UK?
Nicola Whitehouse (08:37):
Not words necessarily. I can use on this podcast right now, but yeah,
Sam Demma (08:42):
Nicola Whitehouse (08:43):
But yeah, things like, you know, trash was rubbish or you know, the trunk was the boots. You were going going to the Offie, which was the off license you know, to start out your Friday nights, you know, they, there were lot loads of words and the VNA, I never developed the accent. I had some Canadian friends that picked up a LT and maybe I had a little bit of a LT to the way that I would finish off sentences speak in a certain way. But definitely the language when I would, when I moved back to, to Ottawa and was in conversation with friends or with new colleagues, they were like the what? And I’m like, oh yeah, right case. So just put it in the garbage, put it in the trash, you know, that, that was a big one. And so I still carry some of that with me. Yeah.
Sam Demma (09:29):
So you picked up some slang. Did you also meet your husband on this trip? Or how did you get in contact? Yeah, yeah.
Nicola Whitehouse (09:36):
Right. Picked up the slave, picked up the husband and then moved myself back, you know, to Canada. Yeah, I did. I absolutely did. I met my husband who’s British teaching. He was part of this new school that was being built in shaped. He had finished his university at Middlesex in London. And we were friends like that was that’s another, like you had this network of young people that were dating that were friends that were support for each other. And so we knew each other for a big chunk of our career and it was about six or seven years into working together that, you know, we realized that it was more and that you know, we, it was a love interest and yeah, we, and we married and we had our son Oliver in in London.
Nicola Whitehouse (10:24):
So I just say his name because yes, it definitely has that Dickens connection and the whole kinda Oliver to thing. Yeah. For his birth, his birth space. Yeah. And we did a year as he was an associate head teacher and I was ahead of year. So we had administrative roles and it was hard cause we didn’t have family. Right. And so this balance that as educators, we try to keep with our family life and what we need to give to ourselves personally on a, on a wellness level, on a capacity level to what then what we give careers, which is very also personal and very emotional and very dedicated. We found it hard to not have a N or a grandpa, you know, around to help us with the load. So we moved back after our first year and started our careers here in Ottawa. Yeah.
Sam Demma (11:12):
That’s amazing. There’s a, there’s a song called Oliver twist and me and my good friend, not my good friend, my cousin, his name’s Daniel. Yeah. Every once in a while will play FIFA. I just love soccer. We’ll play video games. Yeah. And in the loading screen of the game, there’s soft music in the background and I heard this like British rap and was so intrigued by it that I Shaza it. And it was from the UK and some song called Oliver twist. And it was so awesome.
Nicola Whitehouse (11:41):
Hilarious. It just
Sam Demma (11:42):
Reminded you when you, when you said that, but
Nicola Whitehouse (11:44):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. The connection he’s, he’s the London boy. That’s right. And there’s many references that that’s pretty cool to hear that it got picked up as the name of the track as well. That’s
Sam Demma (11:54):
Oh, cool. And, and you had one rule for your husband when he came to Canada, what was it?
Nicola Whitehouse (11:59):
He had to learn to ski.
Sam Demma (12:03):
Nicola Whitehouse (12:04):
He had to learn to ski. Yeah, exactly. I said, listen, you know, they, and I was able to do that out there in Europe as well. I got to go and check out the Alps and do Italy and do France. And it was, it was super fun. So he knew that about me. I was snowboarding at that time. I, you know, when I snowboarding, since I was 16, but when you have kids, you gotta get back on the skis to teach them. And I said, I can’t do this alone. You gotta, you gotta be part of this. So he did like a trooper that you and he put himself on skis taught himself because be the supportive wife that I was, I was like, yeah, you just go figure that out over there. We’re gonna go and do some, you know, diamonds, but you go over to that bunny hill and he did. And he is amazing. He’s six, six too. So call guy and it’s, that’s no feat right. To figure out the ski, but that’s a fun comedian family thing to do. It’s a good destressor. Yeah.
Sam Demma (12:52):
You mentioned one of, of the traits of a fulfilled, successful high performing educator is this endless curiosity. I would argue forcing yourself to learn a new skill. You know, not that forties is old, but at any age, you know, forcing yourself to learn a new skill, is, is that trait, in example have you remain curious or how have you fed your own curiosity throughout your journey of education?
Nicola Whitehouse (13:20):
Oh, that’s a good question. I, yeah. You know, it’s, how have I fed my curiosity? I think just to, just to recognize that in that stance as learner and constantly seeking out that new information means that you’ve always got the understanding of what does it mean to learn something new. Mm. You know, and it helps you appreciate what you, who, what the individuals you’re trying to support might be going through. Mm. You know, as you try to design learning for them to be successful, you can reflect on what it is that, you know, you need to do, whether it’s, you know, an audio visual piece, whether it is the amount of practice that you need to have to master fill, you’re always keeping that in mind, in order to support the communities that you serve. You know, for me, Sam, it’s interesting, a big curiosity that I’ve had is how are we making education equitable?
Nicola Whitehouse (14:11):
You know? And it was something that I, you have had to spend a lot of time reading and unlearning to be fair, a lot of what I believe to be true and what I thought to be the right way of doing something to really understand how it was DISA, managing, and short changing the people. I was so dedicated to get it right with. So my curiosity is being fed right now by a lot by large communities that are really investing in having this dialogue about, you know, are we getting this right? You know, and who is holding the power and who is benefiting from the systems that we’re saying are the ways that you need to participate in so that you could be successful. And so, and my curiosity is said, because I’m constantly needing new people with new perspectives and we’re challenging, you know, me to make sure that I am being the best as a principal, as an educator, as a mom, who’s raising children, you know, in this world today to ensure that, you know, that curiosity that you’re talking about is actually making a difference. I’m kind of taking this somewhere else right now, Sam, but like, oh, that’s good. You know, that curiosity is good. And it, and it Def taking that stance of a learner, but what are you gonna do with that to, to make a difference to make that change you know, to help others, I think is, is a huge part of that question that you’re asking.
Sam Demma (15:35):
Yeah. It sounds like what you’re explaining is how curiosity is the first step, but then taking action based on the new knowledge you pick up is even more important than just being curious. Do you have any resources that you have read or do these communities, you mentioned that you have pulled from, that you think other educators should know about maybe a book or an article or a group that you followed or learned from that someone else should also check out if they wanna be a little more curious about the equity space right now?
Nicola Whitehouse (16:06):
Yeah. oh my gosh, I have so many, and I thought about that. I started writing things down and I just, you know, one of the kind of fundamental drop-ins for me, you know, as an educator was really the work of Dr. Gholdy Muhammad. Mm. And, you know, she, if, I don’t know if you’ve heard of her, but she’s written this book and she’s written many books and she’s just phenomenal. She’s one of these, I’m gonna say educators that is constantly planning and constantly designing and sharing with everyone so that they can see how to do it. And I find her work in cultivating genius is it was my starting point to be honest, looking at an equity framework that was going to allow each personalized student, each individual student that was in our care to be able to be seen and to be understood for who they were.
Nicola Whitehouse (16:58):
And I, and I love that when she talks about culturally, who they are, historically, who they are and how do we respond to them in a way that really maximizes the person that you’re serving, not what you’re trying to shape them to be when it comes to the system that we’re working in, but how are you manipulating the system? How are you dismantling even breaking apart the system so that these kids, these students are really coming through as the individuals that they are. And so her work really opened my eyes to assessment and evaluation. You know, what, what grading, you know, what do we need to look at when we’re applying those grades to individuals and the definition of their success? And then it, you know, it introduced me into a community of educators in the us. She’s, she’s an American you know, who is really doing a lot of prolific work in the communities over there, but it, having it come over here into Canada, it’s really created a tidal wave of what we’re trying to look at in education, in regards to the personalization of making sure that what we’re doing for kids, you know, is really seeing them for who they are and meeting them where they’re to make them the best that they can be.
Nicola Whitehouse (18:11):
So I, I will name that one text as being something that’s always been on my mind, connecting me to other pieces. And then, you know, through the pandemic, Sam, what was so amazing was the amount of virtual learning that was going on and conferences and spaces that you could jump into and vibe with people and, and discuss, and plan and commit to action without leaving the comfort of your couch. Yeah. You know, and that was, you know, for some people frustrating, they were missing like their trips off to the, the hotels and all that conference experience. But for me, it was as a mom and, and all the things that you had to manage in the pandemic and knowing I had this learning and curiosity that needed to, we said I had immediate access to so much that was you know, so helpful and Twitter with all of its downfalls, you know, and you have to be careful. Yeah. Because it does have an emotional toll and you have to really check with yourself about what are you reading and, and the reality of it, it for educators, there’s an incredible C global that I have really thrived on in the last two years, which has been really powerful. Yeah.
Sam Demma (19:15):
Awesome. Thanks for sharing those resources. You, yeah. You took us to the UK and then you brought us back. What happened when you got back? You, you handed your son over to N and what did the rest of the career journey look like to bring you to where you are now?
Nicola Whitehouse (19:33):
Yeah, so that’s, that’s interesting. It was really humbling, right? Because to come back to Canada again, hitting a time where we were not at, at a shortage of educators to transfer my experience that I had had in the UK as an administrator back year to the Canadian system, to the Ontario system was a tough journey. You know, it, it was, we are in a system right now where it’s changing. I have to say the last five years, we’ve seen a real shift of honoring the international experience of educators and finding them places equal. It’s not just education too. It’s it’s medicine. It would be it’s any type of system that has a lot of competition in it. So what ended up happen to me is I went back to supply teaching day to day, you know, and I made my application to the auto Catholic school board.
Nicola Whitehouse (20:24):
My husband had been able to make a connection with a private school here that was looking for new leadership. And so he, he got a position as an assistant head teacher there, which was phenomenal. It was a deputy head teacher at the time. And so he had some connections to private schools in the city. And so I started supply teaching day to day, and I was frustrated. I was at the time because you have pride as to how long it took you to work in your career to get to certain stages. And you wanna, you wanna keep going, you wanna keep moving forward. But, and then to come back into supply teaching, though, it was awesome. It was awesome because it was really fun to move out of you know, a high level experience of kind of what I was doing on a system level of management.
Nicola Whitehouse (21:10):
Just get back in there with the kids and, and to be in about four or five different communities every other week was really cool. So I met a lot of teachers that were doing the same thing. I met a lot of teachers in the building and I did that for about two years and then ended up with a permanent position at a private school. And so was there for about a year and a half, two years. My timing is kind of off now from the pandemic. So forgive me on that. And then I went and got myself qualified to become an administrator. I did the principal’s qualification course here in Ontario. Nice. and applied with the Catholic school board. And I was known to them through the work I’d been doing already. And I was successful.
Nicola Whitehouse (21:53):
And so, yeah, my first placement as principal with the board was here at St. Peter’s, which has been amazing. So it took some time and it worked out, you know, as a mom, who’s raising two young kids. I, you know, I had my daughter while I was supply teaching. That also was a good and work life balance. And, you know, Hey, I had, I been given the job that I was looking for straight out of moving from the UK. I don’t know, maybe my daughter wouldn’t have come along so soon. So, you know, there’s blessings in the way that life kind of works out for you. And you have to reflect on that and know that there’s a, there’s a path. There’s a reason why things are happening there.
Sam Demma (22:27):
Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. I, and you’re one of the first people that have moved to the UK and taught there that I’ve had on the podcast. So I appreciate you sharing the entire journey on the show. I think it may even inspire some other young educators or anyone actually to explore teaching in other areas as it means to see more of the world. It sounds like you’ve done a lot of traveling, not only in the UK which is awesome. Yeah. Thinking about, oh, go.
Nicola Whitehouse (22:54):
Ahead. You know what, so just to add to that, right? Because I think that we can get ourselves into a system or a a journey that seems guaranteed, right? There’s a lot of young people that wanna be employed, right. And they wanna make sure that they have that next step locked down. And I think I encourage young educators to take a risk and take a jump, as you’re saying, go and see another part of the world and experience that and gather everything you can from that, whether it’s only for a year, six months, and that’s all you do and bring that back to where you wanna be permanently. I find that I am interviewing now looking for diversity in experience. Yeah. You know, and if I can find a candidate that knows how distant different systems work, not just the one they grew up in that is phenomenal, you know, and obviously again, working in public education, there are ways that we have to go about with our hiring and employment.
Nicola Whitehouse (23:44):
But when I have the capacity to select somebody that may have had that international experience, that is a big win. And, and so forget about the hiring piece, but, but personally, you know, if you truly believe that your career as an educator is a calling and you are passionate about that, you wanna go and collect as many of those experiences possible. So I really, when I, when I’m working with young educators who are still in the program for teaching, and they’re considering, you know, where am I gonna go to apply for gods? I’m always pushing that option. I’m always saying, go and see what’s the offered internationally. Even if it’s just across the board of the us and check out how these differences work. I think it’s super important. Yeah.
Sam Demma (24:23):
You mentioned I, that’s an awesome point. I think back to when I was 13 and moved to Italy for six months, not to teach, but just to pursue my dreams and living in a different country was such an eye opening eye opening experience. And at that age, I couldn’t even leave the college by myself. I was so young and my mom was FaceTiming me every night. So I definitely didn’t even get the full survival experience. Didn’t have four or five bags on the train and people yelling at me for my safety.
Sam Demma (24:55):
It was, it was such an eye opening experience just to see a different culture and how life was lived in a, in a different place on the world. Thinking about, you know, you said earlier that one part of education is building relationships, thinking about building relationships with students and also staff. How do you think that happens? Like how do you build a relationship with a student to the point where they trust you and, you know, they, they are excited to be in your class or be your student.
Nicola Whitehouse (25:30):
I, yeah, I think it is really about, and it’s an interesting balance that you have to say, you have to navigate because it is about vulnerability and it is about being open to who is in front of you. Right? So we think about working with young people, you know, being vulnerable, but at the same time, obviously still create keeping your professional boundaries and, and keeping your understanding that you are the adult there of the child, that kind of thing. But you can make yourself vulnerable in the sense of saying, I don’t have the answers and what I’m hearing from you, and what I’m seeing you bring to the table is definitely part of the learning that I would like to as your teacher. It is, I definitely see the capacity for you to be in control of what we’re doing here. And you know, when you’re building relationships, you wanna feel like you have a partner in that relationship. So when you’re, when you’re trying to get to know young people, you’ve got a champion where they’re at, what they know as being true and powerful.
Nicola Whitehouse (26:33):
And you have to give voice and space to that. And I think when young people feel seen and heard, you know, and, and feel empowered by the fact that you’re gonna say to them, you know, in grade 10 that they absolutely can take the lead and we’re gonna hear what they have to say and then make decisions from that. That’s a huge relationship builder, you know, and consistency is a big part of that too, right? When we are exhausted, when we’re overwhelmed, being consistent in your approach with young people, so that they can rely on you for that, that is a huge relationship builder as well, you know, and it, and it’s the same with staff as well is to also see and hear them. You have priorities as a leader or anybody when you’re working, even just as colleagues as to what you wanna achieve, but you’re only going to achieve that as well as you can hear and see the others that you need to work with, you know, and they have to feel that investment in, in whatever the project is or whatever it, the problem that needs to be solved might be.
Nicola Whitehouse (27:28):
And I think what’s so cool about education. Is there a strong bond, like family level bonds between teachers that grow up together? Like I said, in those first five years, and they stay connected in their careers or go through some really like intense kind of projects or things together, and really achieve something big or go through a really tough time, you know, as human beings, you know you are bonded and it’s, and it’s, again, through that vulnerability and through that openness to accept that I need you to be successful. And, and so that I can be successful. And you, you teamwork on that. I think that that’s a huge part of making successful connections and relationships and, and it’s all empowerment, right. When we all feel empowered to make that difference, that you’ve talked a lot about, right. In your journey, that’s where you see, I think true positive relationships and difference making, you know, happening. That makes sense. Yeah.
Sam Demma (28:24):
Yeah. A hundred percent. I think behind every success story is carrying human beings. There’s so many people that, you know, play into all of our paths there’s and sometimes it’s like, it’s a miracle, like God put this person in my path. Like how, how did it happen that we crossed at this exact moment? There’s such a small chance. So yeah, there’s, it’s so true that people play such a massive role behind any difference making if you could walk into the first class you ever taught, or the first couple years of education yeah. With all the advice and knowledge you have now, and top your younger self on the shoulder and say is what you needed to hear. What advice would you have given your younger self?
Nicola Whitehouse (29:12):
I, yeah, this is not personal. Yep. These these kids are carrying a lot and they are some of them in crisis. And what you experienced in that first 50 minutes, which had you close your door and burst into tears from the shock of it. And that was truly my first day on the job to now know, you know, how young people function, you know, in, in a classroom to, to be patient with them and to always keep. And I was, I was doing that, I think at the time, but I don’t think I realized it. Listen, listen, listen, listen, and don’t give up and continue to look at the problem in different ways. And, and consider, there are gonna be many ways to kind of solve and support these kids. But I think the biggest thing Sam was we as educators wanna get it.
Nicola Whitehouse (30:08):
Right, right. We are, we are often in these careers as people pleasers as ones that wanna be known to be handling things and when we’re we can lead. And so we take it personally when it of fails. Right. And I would look back now and say there were a lot of failures, there were a lot of mistakes. There were things said that you look back and go, Ooh. Yeah, that was not the right thing. But, but give yourself grace on that. And as long as you were still committed to learning from that mistake and making the changes and not getting stuck in saying, no, I’m standing on this, like I’m gonna stick with it. This is how it has to be. But being open to that flexibility and vulnerability I think that that is a, a big thing that you need when you’re first starting out. And, you know, that’s what I would be going back to remind myself of, I think, in those early days, yeah.
Sam Demma (30:59):
That’s such a, and
Nicola Whitehouse (31:00):
Get some more sleep guess some more sleep, stop staying up till two in the morning, planning these lessons. They don’t need you to work that hard. You just go in there and listen to them. They don’t already tell you what they need from you. You don’t need to be up till two. O’clock trying to get this unit ready for that. That’s what I’d say.
Sam Demma (31:16):
If I made 15 second promo videos for each of these podcasts, that would be the promo for this one. Yeah.
Nicola Whitehouse (31:24):
Pretty much, pretty much. Oh gosh.
Sam Demma (31:27):
Thank you for doing this. This has been such a fun and enjoyable and reflective conversation. If someone is tuning in, wants to reach out, ask you a question, what would be the best way for them to get in touch?
Nicola Whitehouse (31:41):
I think on, yeah, Twitter, I’m pretty active. I did I take a little bit of a break, I think probably through the holidays, but yeah, I’m @MrsNWhitehouse on Twitter. And you can always reach out to me at my school board email as well, which is firstname.lastname@example.org. And I love meeting new people and I love making connections, super passionate about student voice and the unique and different ways that we’re making sure that’s centered in our school communities. So if there are people listening today that would love to collaborate internationally or even down in Toronto I would love to make those connections. That would be great.
Sam Demma (32:19):
Awesome. Thanks again, Cola for coming on the show. Keep up the great work and we’ll talk soon.
Nicola Whitehouse (32:24):
Thanks, Sam. It’s awesome.
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The High Performing Educator Podcast was brought to life during the outbreak of COVID-19 to provide you with inspirational stories and practical advice from your colleagues in education. By tuning in, you will hear the stories and ideas of the world’s brightest and most ambitious educators. You can expect interviews with Principals, Teachers, Guidance Counsellors, National Student Association, Directors and anybody that works with youth. You can find and listen to all the episodes for free here.