This Is My Story

This post by Aviva Dunsiger originally appeared on her blog on January 12th, 2015.

This morning, I read a post by Doug Peterson in response to Vicky LorasStory Challenge. After sharing Doug’s post on Twitter, I got involved in a conversation with both him and Vicky, and I promised that I would share my own story.

My story is definitely different than Doug’s. It’s both funny and serious, and very much me. At the end of last year, I made a difficult decision to change schools. I had been at my last school, Ancaster Meadow, for 9 years. I taught many different grades — from JK-Grade 6 — in many different classrooms, and even taught some of my students for as many as four years. I got to know parents and families, and I made amazing connections that were difficult to leave. But I also knew that I wanted a change and needed a new and different experience. My amazing administrators, Paul and Kristi, supported me as I looked at other teaching possibilities, and that’s when I applied and got offered the Grade 1 teaching position at Dr. Davey School.

I love my new experience. I knew when applying to Dr. Davey about the differences between the schools. I also heard wonderful stories about the students, the community, the supportive staff, and the fantastic administrators, and while the unknown is always scary, I knew that this change was the right one for me. And it was. While I prepared myself for many things, one BIG surprise was the parking situation.

  • There is not one pull through spot at Dr. Davey. I try to NEVER back out of spots. Even at the mall, I will park as far away as possible to just ensure that I get a pull through spot. Backing up is frightening. There is far more potential for accidents.
  • There are no good visuals to help poor parkers like me. On “good weather days” I can use the yellow lines as my visuals, but what about when these lines are covered in snow? There is nothing to guide me.

I may be able to park when I can see the lines, but these snowy months are scary ones for me. Without visuals, how was I ever going to get into a space? At Ancaster Meadow, I devised a winter parking system, but that system wasn’t going to work here. I needed to figure something else out. For a while, I thought that Mother Nature was on my side, and it would be a snow-free year. I wasn’t so lucky though, and since December, we’ve had many snowy parking days.

Here’s my new approach:

1) Arrive early. I always give myself at least 10 extra minutes in the snowy weather. This gives me plenty of opportunities to pull in, back out, and re-park.

2) Make a choice about pulling in or backing in. I can’t really back into a spot, but I can pull right up to the spot in front of me and then reverse. ? This doesn’t work if there are others in the parking lot, but thank goodness, this isn’t the case when I arrive. Changing schools has also forced me to learn how to reverse. If I take it slow and check behind me a lot, I’ve actually mastered this new driving skill. ?

3) Clear away the snow and look for a yellow line. Yes, I am the person that does this. Before turning off my car, I open up the door and run my boot along the ground. I search for the yellow line. If I can’t find it, I try parking again (and again, and again, and again). I will admit that today, after attempt number six, I got out of the car and cleared away a spot’s worth of snow until I found a yellow line (little did I know that there was actually one on the other side of my car ? ).

While this may seem like quite the system — and it definitely is — I have also learned a lot from these parking adventures.

1) Persistence pays off. It may take multiple attempts, but I have gotten into a spot every single day.

2) High expectations matter (for everybody). I wrote more “parking emails” to the staff at Ancaster Meadow then I can even count. They all changed their system for me, and I do really appreciate that, but now I wonder if I should have fought so hard for this new approach. I could have learned to “search for a yellow line” over nine years ago, but I never did. The presence of a handicapped spot right near where I like to park, and the absence of any additional visuals, forces me to problem solve. In the end, it helps me meet with success … no matter how many attempts this may take. ?

3) We all need to learn to laugh at ourselves. Every morning, I giggle as I compose my parking tweets. The same was true for years as I wrote my parking emails to staff. I know that my parking skills are comical. And while there may be some truth to these tweets, there’s also nothing like a little comic relief.



2015-01-12_19-55-19My story is one of change — both the expected and the unexpected changes in life — and how something as small as parking can have such a big impact on who I am and what I’ve learned.

What’s your story? Please consider sharing it as part of this blogging challenge.