that perfect hand…

In Ocean's 11, Danny said that "the house always wins. If you play long enough, never change the stakes, then the house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big… and then, you take the house." Here's the hand I've been dealt, sometimes it's risky and sometimes it's safe, but all the time… it's perfect. It's mine.


being teacher.

Grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea, this one might make you wish I published it in a Reader’s Digest so your eyes didn’t burn so much from the computer screen’s glare…

I’m trying to decide how I feel about this career choice. There is so much work involved in preparing and creating and deciding and learning all the material that needs to be covered for even one 80 minute period. I spent all weekend crafting my introductory lesson to Macbeth and before I walked out the door on Monday, I told Mom I was afraid that I had too much to cover/expected too much. I was surprised to find we covered everything and more over 70 minutes, leaving 10 minutes of “oh no, what now” ringing in my head.

And it’s not just the preparation, it’s the teaching. It’s a difficult task to comprehend something my self so entirely thoroughly before I teach it so that I can ensure my kids will understand it the way I’ve decided they need to. Again, how I decide. Shakespeare is hardly my second language, so expecting 19 grade 11 students to have a love affair with it themselves is a bold request — so my goal is to simply challenge them to give it a chance. However, remember when your teachers in high school or beyond talked about staring into a sea of glossed over eyes and stunned looks of “what the heck are you talking about”? It’s the truth. High school = a whole other world.

In a week, I’ve learned many things.

I have learned that while one lesson and day might go perfectly according to plan, successful both in delivery and student engagement, the next day might be a fail beyond repair. Then the next day, I won’t even recognize the faces that stare at me in earnest… ready to learn. It’s constantly changing and dynamic and unpredictable… they weren’t kidding when they said to be prepared; and be prepared for anything.

I’m also learning that I can’t take things personally. I am so far off the kids’ priority radar that even if I bomb a lesson in my head, they aren’t the wiser nor will they remember the next day. They have boyfriends, girlfriends, after school job, drama, sports and the playoffs, TV shows, obsessions with Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga (oh yes!), break ups and make ups to deal with — far more important than Miss Stam whose knees have gone weak and stomach flip-flops when they haven’t been able to answer three questions in a row as my mind races with insecurity. So as I learn that I can’t take things personally, I am quickly learning how much I truly do carry burdens, of all sorts, in my heart. Seems like more lessons than just for teacher me.

I’m learning tricks of the trade — how to be friendly without being friends, what battles to fight and battles to ignore, and the list goes on and on. I have been blessed with a great group of kids who genuinely seem to enjoy me, which has made this a much more enjoyable transition. My 9s, who I get in a week and a half, seem a lot more distant and a lot harder to please or engage, but they are even more concerned with Justin Bieber than my 11s so I am not too worried.

To say I am humbled is an understatement. In fact, as an English teacher, I feel like I should invent a word that describes how I feel since I can’t seem to come up with the right one. High school students make me so happy… they are funny and obnoxious and emotional and thoughtful and careless and innocent while being experienced and almost wholly real. I know, I know, when you think of your own high school experience, you remember the fake parts and the cliques and insecurity or whatever else there is and I know that all exists. But when I am standing there in front of the room and there are 19 people sitting there, waiting to hear what I have to say, trusting me (albeit, not by choice) and respecting me and opening up to me, well, it’s much easier to see high school students for who they are when you’re teaching them, not being their peer. Make sort of sense?

The stories are already piling up, the comments and anecdotes and encounters are too hilarious to attempt to put into words — plus, I don’t want to privatize my blog so we’ll have to just save those for a coffee date one day. I’ve now had two official evaluations. One by a university supervisor and one by my mentor teacher and they both went super well. The things I have to work on are minor, mostly about disciplinary tactics (being a bit more harsh) or waiting a bit longer for them to answer questions but all in all, I think I am doing well.

Learning lots but not excelling — and in so many ways, I am glad I am not. I think humility is a huge, if not the biggest, part of this job. And realizing that it most definitely is not all about me, and I like that.

Going into the first day, I really wondered how it all would go, especially since I was blessed with no anxiety or fear whatsoever. Even though the fear comes and goes and my confidence is fairly shaky, Miss Stam truly seems to fit like a well worn glove already and when I am standing in front of those kids I know I am exactly where I dreamed of being for so long; were I am sure that I am supposed to be. It also feels pretty darn cool to have my kids step away from their groups in the hallway to say “Hey Miss Stam… I can’t wait for class!”

Me either.


come with me

Since you’ve come along this far (or maybe just beginning on my journey now), I wanted to invite you even further into my world for the next couple weeks… my first two weeks as a student teacher. I am getting ready to go into the classroom on Tuesday and I am beyond excited and slgihtly nervous. The first two weeks are designed as an opportunity to familiarize myself with my mentor teacher, the school layout and operations, the staff/admin, and policies. This way, when I come in April, the unknown will only be limited to the profession itself, not the geography. If you find yourself thinking of me from October 13 – 23, then that is probably why — I can use all of the prayers or support I can get. This is where my mind and heart are overwhelmed with the reality of how blessed I am.


I mean, it’s not every day we are aware that we’re living our dream come true … right?

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more on that

Main Entry: authentic
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: real, genuine


accurate, actual, authoritative, bona fide, certain, convincing, credible, creditable, dependable, factual, faithful, for real, legit, legitimate, official, original, pure, reliable, sure, true, trustworthy, trusty, twenty-four carat, valid, veritable
Notes: genuine means not fake or counterfeit – or sincerely felt or expressed, while authentic means conforming to fact and therefore worthy of belief and trust

Who wouldn’t want to be that? I’m trying.



When I was about 13 years old, I starting dreaming about going to university. I imagined it would be like the American colleges we see in the movies… like Princeton or Harvard or Stanford… with old brick buildings, cobblestone walkways, and stained glass windows in the library. Unfortunately, when I arrived in Calgary, my vision of what college was rapidly changed. The buildings were old, sure, but not character-old. And Mount Royal College even had automatically flushing toilets, which did not go over very well with me.

UVic happened to be a little more part of what my dreams were. Even though the buildings are fairly new, if not brand new, my imagined campus with huge trees, with big trunks to lean up against when studying and leaves to fall in autumn, and brick walkways flanked with grassy areas, where it’s very common to find someone playing an impromptu “Dave Matthews” or “Jack Johnson” on his acoustic guitar by the fountain. Even though it rains, you can almost skip from tree to tree to keep shelter from the winds. The magnificent reds and oranges of the leaves are replaced with beautiful lilac buds and scads of daffodils in the spring. Every time I walk out of a building, I take a huge breath and think “This isn’t like in Dawson’s Creek…but it’s close!” UVic is beautiful, but the geographics still didn’t fit my college imagination; my college dream.

(I stole this picture off the web…it hardly does any justice to the school…I really need a camera)

The more I think about it though, UVic was my dream. In grade 12, right before grad, we had to fill out a form that said “Where you plan to be next year” and I wrote “Victoria.” When I got my diploma, they said “Kate Stam, future plans: UVic”. When I was 10, Victoria was the main, vivid vacation spot I had so I always wanted to live or end up here. Life panned out, I spent 3 very important and growing years in Calgary, before I came here. I never was accepted to UVic the year I graduated high school. I couldn’t come here. Yet I was so sure Victoria is where I was supposed to be.

This is interesting because God has a way of bringing our lives either full circle, or back onto the path of His plan. Now I am almost done the first half of my second year at UVic, my fifth year at post-secondary, and I am marvelling in something kind of bizarre: my dream came true — I am at the University of Victoria. Wow. I am struggling because I just got an e-mail a few days ago that said:

Hi, Katie,

Here is your new updated degree report. You are all set
to graduate April, 2009.  Let me know if you have any

Wow! Are you serious? I mean, it’s felt like a lifetime ago that I started this adventure, and I am so unbelievably excited to finish this part of my education, but a quiet voice in my heart whispered “already?” That’s the thing about dreams come true — when they do, you have to appreciate and enjoy and envelope yourself in the awe of that moment when that dream is realized…and then spend every moment living with that realization and doing with that dream all that you can to show you’ve appreciated it. Because all that dreams come true are are answered prayers. And I don’t think I’ve used these one and a bit years so far giving back to the Lord in what He gave to me in realizing this dream. I need to remember that… and I thought I would share that for you and your own answered prayer-dreams… what have you done with your own dreams come true and answered prayers?

And after my moment or understanding, I thought that I need to do something to really appreciate my own answered prayers and then thought… however selfishly… “But thank you Lord, I get to graduate. Finally!



My boyfriend. I have been debating for the last few weeks whether I should show you guys my new man, as he is currently running from the law since breaking out of prison last spring. We rendezvous when he can but he stays in hiding most of the time. Him and his brother are innocent of their crimes, and last week when I saw him, the president was going to set them free. This would’ve been wonderful because I could have brought him home for the summer or to Camrose next weekend, but it turns out, the president did not follow through on her promise.

So I just wait. It’s very agonizing, as I don’t know when I will see him next. He sneaks around, leaving me origami cranes on my pillow and the seat of my car to let me know he’s near by. I just hope this is all over soon so I can take him to meet my mom and start planning our wedding.

Here he is, Michael Scofield. Isn’t he beautiful? I mean, I am a little biased but I think you would all agree.

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this just in

I turned on the TV last night to the words “Great Save by Michael Wall” (or something to that effect) and turns out, yesterday, Sunday, November 26th was a friend of mine’s first game in the NHL! And… they won! I can’t do it justice because I missed some of it, but read about it here:
and here
and guess what? here too

Second best part: he beat CALGARY! I only wish it had been at home so I could’ve watched it up close, but a win on home ice? 🙂 🙂 🙂 Awesome Michael, nothing quite compares. It couldn’t happen to a better, or more deserving, guy. Yea!

r. 12:2-8