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Livia Chan’s true calling was to be a classroom teacher. Her journey led her to serve on the District Staff Development Team in Learning Technologies and recently returned back to the classroom as the Head Teacher at Burnaby School District – SD41 in British Columbia, Canada. Livia has been affiliated with the Teach Better Team supporting educators who contribute to the team blog. There’s so much more about Livia and the gifts she discovered.
Growing up and what it was like as a student
I grew up in a relatively stable working-class community with a mix of Asians, Italians, and other cultures represented so there wasn’t much transiency in our population from K-12. I enjoyed going to school and loved learning new things. I was always active so I would often be found in the gym participating in lunch hour sports activities or after school practices (basketball and badminton). In high school, I also joined a number of clubs so by graduation, I had a lot of service points accumulated.
As an adult, I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree with a Criminology major and Psychology minor at our local university, Simon Fraser University (where my son attends now). Once I discovered that I was called to be an educator, I returned to complete my teaching degree. A few years later, I pursued my Masters degree at the other local campus, the University of British Columbia (where my daughter will be attending in the fall of 2021).
I absolutely LOVE to learn. Even though I left formal schooling, I have not stopped learning as I still see myself as a student and a daily learner.
Why family matters
Jason and I are the parents of two wonderful children, MJ and Saralynn (aged 19 and 17). We are proud of who they are as young adults because of their heart, their passion for things they love, their gratitude, and their kindness. I love how they’re good friends and they’re pretty cool to hang out with too!
Both kids did competitive swimming for a few years together. MJ played ice hockey for 13 years. Saralynn played ringette for 12 years including 3 years at the highest level for her age competing at Nationals (Canadian Ringette Championships). This is a picture of me this summer! It was the first time back on the ice after a few months off due to Covid restrictions.
I had the greatest blessing and honor to be a ringette coach for the 12 years my daughter played. We both are passionate about the sport. The ringette community is a tight-knit one. We both have made lifelong friendships as a result of a LOT of time spent together training for competitions plus 4-5 out-of-town tournaments a year during the most competitive years of ringette. I love the sport and my ringette family!
What is ringette? Watch this video to learn more!
Besides my own family, I am the oldest with two younger brothers. They both have amazing wives with two equally amazing children each. Our family is really close. We enjoy vacations together. My loving parents live in our basement suite so our house is like a hub for visits, family dinners, and parties.
With all of my heart, I adore and love my family so so much. I feel blessed and so grateful every day. My grandma lived with us since I was six months old. She was our caretaker because my parents worked at our family restaurant every day. She hasn’t been with us for over 20 years but the feelings of unconditional love started with her and I still miss her dearly. My parents carry on her legacy and so does the rest of my family. They teach me about unconditional love every day.
Your WHY in becoming a teacher (Blog)
I didn’t know I wanted to be a teacher until my late 20’s. The thought crossed my mind because people and clues in my life pointed me in that direction. I needed to know that it was the right path to take so I started working part-time to volunteer two full days a week. Once I stepped foot in the classrooms and started working with kids, it just felt right. There was a different kind of joy I have never felt in a job before. I knew it that first day. I was meant to be a teacher.
Serving on the District Staff Development Team in Learning Technologies
Nine years ago, I had the great opportunity to work on our Staff Development Team. After serving six years, I returned to the classroom because I was surplus due to budget constraints. So three years ago, I taught in a unique grade 1/2 classroom with two teachers because of a larger class size than allowed as per our contract. The following year, I moved back to a school I was at before to teach grade 3/4 because I wanted an opportunity to work with intermediates. Last year, I moved yet again to become a new Head Teacher where I also taught grade 5. I’ve been so blessed with amazing school communities, students, and families each year. I loved every school and every grade! Teaching five grades in three years has taught me to be flexible and that it’s so much more fun when we include more voice and choice as we co-construct our curriculum!
Your affiliation with the Teach Better Team
Quote: “Better Today, Better Tomorrow are not only words that are lived and breathed by everyone on the team, but that mindset is also at the very core of their passion for supporting educators, which makes what we value complement each other so perfectly.”
Currently, I am the Digital Content Editor for the Teach Better Team. I help build the blogging community as well as edit blog posts submitted by our numerous guest bloggers. I first learned about the team when Jeff Gargas, the COO, reached out to ask me to be a guest on Teach Better Talk (my podcast episode). Then I was asked to be an Ambassador. I regularly attend our Administrator Mastermind sessions, sometimes even twice a day! Also, I’m an active participant in our weekly #TeachBetter chats on Twitter too. I am there every Thursday at 5 pm PST and we’d love it if you join us!
I thoroughly enjoy blogging too! So, a few months ago, I started a monthly blog series called Gift Better with the Teach Better Team. I see many things as gifts – relationships, words, time, gratitude, and care, for example. It’s a mindset shift. The more I opened my eyes to see the many gifts around me, the more I discovered a deeper sense of appreciation and happiness.
The gift of believing in others is one of the most impactful ways for students to succeed. A couple of years ago, a talented storyteller, Kiana Sosa, became a published author in my class at the age of 10! Publishing her first book was her school’s passion project. She now has two published books: Ellie and Lou: The Meaning of Friendship and Ellie and Lou: Gardeners of the Jungle. How? Because she had people that believed in her.
Being a Connector
Beyond all of the ways I am involved with the Teach Better Team, one of my passions is to be a connector in every circle I find myself in on the team and outside of the team. I love meeting new people and getting to know them better. Every interaction with others is seen as an opportunity to uplift them and in doing so, I feel uplifted too. Kindness is one of the best ways for self-care and leads to greater happiness. Read this article to learn more.
When you enter a space, do you leave it better than when you first entered? Watch my Innovator’s Mindset podcast episode with George Couros.
George Couros was probably one of the first people I followed so when he reached out to ask me to be a guest on his podcast AND to be a contributing author to a new book called Because of a Teacher, I was beyond thrilled with disbelief! This book answers three questions about educators who inspire you. Which teacher inspired you and why? Administrator? What advice would you give your first year as a teacher? This is a book compiled by George along with a total of 15 contributing authors. My chapter will be about the advice I would give to my first year as a teacher. I am so excited that it will be available in early August 2021! I was a guest on his 3 Questions podcast too – watch here.
I am also a contributing author to a book called 100 No-Nonsense Things that Teachers Should STOP Doing. My chapter is called Stop Boredom at All Costs. As teachers, we have such an important role to educate. I want to make learning interesting, fun, and engaging. In my chapter, you’ll learn ways on how you can do this. I had the great privilege to talk about my chapter on the Pushing Boundaries podcast.
Your Why and What’s Next
Since the pandemic, I discovered that I have a voice and that one person, you and I, can make a difference. By being intentional in every interaction, we all have the power to make an impact and an imprint on people’s hearts. In everything I do, I try to lead with my heart. Choose to generously lead with kindness, love, and gratitude to help brighten other people’s days which makes my day better too!
I am currently working on my own book with my co-authors Jeffry Prickett and Robert Breyer. We are so excited to have a book contract with Road to Awesome. The book is called Impact: The Power of Connected Leadership. We hope it will be available in late 2021 or early 2022!
I love connecting so if anything you’ve heard or read resonates with you, please reach out. I’d love to hear your thoughts! For me, reaching out to others has truly blessed me with so many amazing friendships and has given me numerous opportunities I could not have dreamed of. Becoming a connected educator has changed my life! I’m most active on Twitter so I’m looking forward to meeting you soon!
Livia’s Contact Information
Interested in checking out more of the Rethinking Learning reflections and podcasts, click on the podcast tab at the top, the logo below, or go to https://barbarabray.net/podcasts/
For more information about Barbara’s book, Define Your WHY, go to this page or click on the new image of the book for resources, questions, and links.