Who Will I Be?

The end of Propel is near. As a returnee, my experience has been quite different than last year’s. My independent-work skills have improved, our class is comprised of mostly different students than last year, my project-area is different, and most importantly: my blog titles are now Camp Rock themed rather than last year’s High School Musical theme. This semester has been nothing short of stressful, yet so enjoyable. The fact that we will be heading back to our homeschools in just nine weeks is starting to set in.

My project “idea” from August is the opposite of what my actual project is now. I had originally anticipated doing something music-related, as that’s what everyone told me I should do. I spent the summer planning different ways I could uniquely make my own music. Once the first day hit, I had no idea what to do anymore. After brainstorming with some friends, I resorted to filmmaking. Not exactly sure how I came around to that idea, but I was dead-set on it. You can imagine my dismay when Mr. P and Mr. H said: “instead, you’re going to do a career exploration of teaching…” That came as quite a shock. But the project has developed, and I’ve come to enjoy it. Once a week I go to École Van Belleghem to spend the day in an elementary school classroom. Eventually, I will present a lesson for the students about literary devices in songs. I had a “mid-semester crisis” about two weeks ago where I wanted to drop everything and change my project to creating music, but luckily that feeling has settled down. I still have a bit of regret, but I don’t think that feeling will hold. I’m very grateful to visit the elementary school classroom, it’s something that most future-teachers don’t get the chance to experience in high school.

When I’m not at Van B or working on my lesson, most of my time is spent helping my classmates with their work. I love helping people, I find it so rewarding. Whenever my classmates need feedback, help with their tech, or need advice, I’m always there to lend a helping hand. In return, I sometimes require feedback from my peers towards my lesson. My classmates are lovely, and always return the favour when I ask for help. In the future, I will be needing a lot of feedback once my lesson rolls out. My lesson is close to completed, which means it will be presented beginning next week.

My project is not yet completed but will be done in the blink of an eye. I am presenting my lesson to the grade 5/6 class in about four weeks. I have compiled a list of songs that use literary devices such as: metaphors, similes, personification, imagery, etc… I got feedback on my song choices and then created a graphic organizer. I will begin crafting my script tomorrow.

Although it wasn’t what I had in mind, I do like this project. It’s unique and will be SO beneficial for my future. I have enjoyed my time here thus far, I came back for a reason. I really love Propel and the opportunities I’ve been given. Propel has been a whirlwind of experiences and emotions, but I am so happy I returned.

What We Came Here For

Last week, Mr. Patrician informed us of a new task: reading a book called 101 Things I Learned in __________ School. There were many different subject areas for these books, film, culinary, marketing, architecture, fashion design, and the list goes on. But of all the available options, I realized none of them suited my project. Mr. Patrician then introduced me to a new book I could use as an alternative, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey. It was a fantastically written book, but in particular three “habits” stood out to me most when thinking about my project.


Habit #2: Begin with the End in Mind.

habit 2

We are told this often in Propel. As you are jumpstarting your project, think of what you’d like the end result to be. This helps you know where to begin and makes you think of steps you can take to reach the end goal. That way, you can gear your project towards achieving your fantasy of the finished product. This will be beneficial to my project, as I am crafting a lesson for the kids I will be spending a day with each week for the remainder of the semester. By thinking about the end goal now, I can plan my lesson; keeping in mind what I’d like the takeaway to be for the kids so I can be sure to attain that. It will also be useful as long as I use my time as effectively as possible, that way I will know for sure (more or less) if teaching is my career path of choice. Hopefully by the end I’ll know if I want to apply to the Faculty of Education at Université de Saint-Boniface. I also hope that my lesson will open the students’ eyes a little bit more to the subject in the future.


Habit #5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.

Habit 5

I’d say this habit stuck out to me the most, as I am being mentored by multiple teachers. The content of this habit is this: in order for you to demand to be understood by others, you first need to understand the other person. This works in an endless cycle. We all tend to try and solve people’s problems and want to know them before even attempting to understand what their problem is. Don’t judge someone, instead seek them out and eventually they’ll do the same for you. The best explanation of this habit is to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.” This will be helpful when I am presenting my lesson to the Elementary School Class(es). I need to know what it’s like to be a teacher, what my teachers go through every day on the job, before I can fully understand. This will help me see things from a different point of view: as a student and as an educator. In the end, this will help me gain respect from my mentors, and will give me a better understanding of the struggles they face in day to day life.


and finally, Habit #6: Synergize.

Habit 6

Synergize is the habit of cooperation. It combines teamwork, adaptability and open-minds to find new solutions to problems of the past. The only way this is made possible is by combining everyone’s abilities, that way we can achieve a better end product together rather than by ourselves. “One plus one equals three, or six, or sixty… you name it.” I will be working alongside teachers who know the profession, my peers for feedback, and the kids for their interest and participation. The collaboration will result in an end goal that benefits not only myself, but also the mentors and students I’m working with.

I look forward to applying these 7 habits to my project and in life, and maybe even making my own.







This Is Me

Proof of Concept is officially over and we have now moved on to our third “phase” of the program. I learned a lot during Proof of Concept, and focused on getting better at managing my time. I, thankfully, reached all my Proof of Concept goals! I followed my checklist to a tee. I had quite a bit of downtime throughout the two weeks, so I was able to complete my smaller tasks during that time. My checklist was comprised of tasks that I enjoyed doing, such as: spending a day with kids, crafting a presentation for our Propel class, and finding ways to be a leader. I’m still on the fence between Education and a different route, but currently, becoming a teacher is definitely seeming to be the one so far! I also learned that I’d like to add a passion-based portion to my project, such as a music-related side project or something of the sort. Preferably, something I can incorporate into teaching. Mr. Hansen suggested an analysis of a song I like, and I am loving that idea!

In my Propel semester last year, we read a story called “Choose Your Struggle” by an author named Mark Manson. We haven’t read it this semester yet, but I have not stopped thinking about this excerpt since I read it last year. Seriously. Not a week goes by where I don’t think about “Choose Your Struggle.” I’m going to be honest, and I don’t like talking about this, but I’ve always wanted fame. Not really for superficial ways, but simply because I want to leave a legacy. I don’t just want to fade into the darkness and be forgotten after I passed, this has always scared me. I didn’t really care how I “achieved” this fame, I love music and I love acting. After reading “Choose Your Struggle”, I realized that becoming famous for your passion is much easier said than done. You have to put in long, never-ending hours to gain the skills to deserve your recognition. I wasn’t sure if I was up for that. After last week’s Proof of Concept experience, I’ve now realized that becoming a teacher also has its struggles, but I’m up for the challenge. Every time I think about how much work and stress goes into becoming a teacher, I do get a bit turned away. But I know that it’s something I would choose to struggle for. I think it’s something meant for me. The outcome is going to be fantastic, and that’s why I power through, and that’s especially why this is a great project choice for me. 

What It Takes

As per my Proof of Concept, I went to visit École Van Belleghem yesterday, which is my old elementary school. The purpose was to see if being an elementary school teacher was something I’d be interested in for the future. I was quite nervous for the day as I wasn’t sure how it would be being back there with all my previous teachers.

As soon as I arrived, I was greeted with open arms by my teachers, and even some I had never met before. It was great. The kids were so kind and polite and a ton of fun to be around. I loved being back in those classrooms and seeing how much I have learned since I too was at that level.

I spent the day with my 6th-grade and 5th-grade teachers, and got to chat with some of my other previous teachers. I got to observe the different teaching styles of two different teachers and how they interact with their students. I also saw how they re-adapted their speech for kids who were in need of some extra explaining afterward, which was very helpful.

The tips the teachers were giving me was very interesting and beneficial. They were talking with me about post-secondary education, what a typical day on the job looks like, and how to make the best use of your lesson plan.

It was such a unique experience to have your past teachers treat you like a colleague rather than a student.

It was certainly a positive experience and I am glad to have had the opportunity to spend the day helping out the kids. I believe teaching could be the job for me.



I Wouldn’t Change A Thing

Our whole lives we’ve been told:

“Be original.” 

“Don’t take other people’s ideas.”

“That concept belongs to so and so, not you.”

But, what if I told you it’s okay to steal… steal like an artist, that is.

Let me explain.

Within the first few weeks of the Propel program, we watched a TEDTalk called “Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon. Now you may be thinking, “that’s quite the daunting title… Are your teachers telling you to steal?”

Yes, they are, but with a purpose.

As a Propel returnee, this is my second time watching the TEDTalk, and I have to say, I love the contents of this piece. Austin Kleon suggests that taking inspiration from the work of other artists and branching off is an acceptable form of personal originality. For centuries, we’ve been taking other’s work and building on to it to make it our own. It’s okay to take inspiration from different pieces of work, but don’t confuse it with copying it exactly. Austin mentions that anything that exists nowadays has taken inspiration from something that came before. For example, current Rap music has taken inspiration from many different genres such as Soul, Pop, Reggae, Blues/Rock, etc… to create a completely new genre. Same goes with many different pieces of literature, art, movies, they all take inspiration from what came before.

My takeaway from this lesson is that we will always be trailing behind what came before, but that’s okay. One hundred years from now they’ll be doing the same thing, you see it in everything. For example, musicians say they take inspiration from other’s music all the time. An artist of today may take inspiration from a deceased artist of the past. Without this musician’s music from the past, the current artist wouldn’t have had anything to build off of, and the sound would be completely different. Pablo Picasso once said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” He didn’t literally steal other artists work, but rather imitated their work to springboard off of and create something completely new. Another lesson Austin mentions is: “Where you fail to copy your chosen artist is exactly where it gets interesting.” In the gaps between your “failure” and what the work you were imitating is “supposed to look like” lies your unique work. You were never meant to be copying it, they worked hard on their piece, but you can take your failed attempt at copying their piece, and that is where your originality comes in.

I have struggled to come up with a project idea these past few weeks, but every idea I had was piggybacking off of all the other projects I looked at on the Propel website. I’ve been stealing like an artist. I’m not going to copy their exact project, but it does give me a starting point and afterward, I can add my personal flair to it. I’ve also found that I am awful at writing poetry/songs. I’m not sure why, maybe I’m trying too hard? But one thing I’ve found that helps is taking inspiration from songs I enjoy. Whether it’s the central idea, the rhyming pattern, or lines that I can rework, stealing like an artist is an essential part of this process for me.

Whether we like to admit it or not, we take inspiration from everything we see. You just have to embrace it and steal like an artist.

We’re All in This Together

After four months here at Propel, I’m starting my fifth and final upload. I admit, I’m definitely going to miss naming all my blog posts after High School Musical songs, which my teachers have failed to realize until the very moment they read this. They questioned me for my titles, and a few points may have been lost because of it, but I stuck to my theme.

All jokes aside, my heart sinks at the near thought of leaving this program to head back to Béliveau. As much as I like my homeschool, Propel has been life-changing for me in so many ways. With 20-something new, amazing friends, and fantastic teachers who have taught us not only material in the school curriculum, but also helpful life lessons, this semester has been a dream.

You may be asking yourself, Maya, how is your project going? It’s definitely going. On the other hand, my Bohemian Rhapsody PowerPoint, which Mr. Hansen likes to call a “music video”, is going fantastically. You’re probably confused by that statement, that’s okay, come drop in during my Final Presentation for an explanation and an example of the PowerPoint.

As fun as all this joking around has been, my project is actually coming along quite smoothly. I have done an interview for my project every day this week, so far, I have over two hours of audio to listen to for my “Impact and Legacy of Rock Music” article. I’ll have to do A LOT of writing over the break, which may be slightly difficult as my family and I are heading to Arizona and California for two weeks, but I’ll make it work. Upon returning, I’ll pop the writing into Adobe InDesign, add some photos, prep it for printing, and make some copies to be handed out during my Final Presentation evening.

If you’d like to hear some more depth about my project, I will be finishing up the evening with my presentation on Monday, January 28th from 6:30PM – 8:30PM. You’ll be hearing from me, a clothing up-cycler, a musician, an artist, and three video game developers. Do not miss it! For now, check out my Legacy Artefact to hear a bit more about my project.

Thank you all so much for following my magazine thus far and thank you to my wonderful classmates and teachers for this semester.

We’re all in this together.

Click here to check out Maya’s magazine



Get’cha Head In The Game

gantt chart photo 2

A large part of our curriculum is planning, which includes written pieces as well as visual representations. To complement our Action Plans, our class made Timelines to map out how long each Milestone in our projects should take. To do so, we used Gantt charts. We added a start and end day for each Milestone and calculated the amount of Action Steps needed for each Milestone. The purple bars represent the length of each Milestone. The dark purple is the Action Steps we’ve completed, and the light purple has not been started or completed yet. The yellow vertical bar is the current day and where we should be in our projects at this point. The picture I have inserted above demonstrates an example of my Gantt Chart.

I have already completed two of my Milestones, creating a platform for my online portion and creating my first round of content for my POC. Besides those, I have eight other milestones, two of which are on-going and don’t exactly have an official end date. As you can see, I am 5 days behind on a song review and an album review. I was away since Friday, the 23rd and didn’t have as much time as I thought I would’ve had to work on my project during that time. I have just completed one song review today, and I will work hard over the weekend to complete the other song review and the album review to catch myself back up.

As time is quickly ticking away, I’ve realized we have only two months left in our Propel semester. That means it’s time for me to work hard and get my head in the game. The next few weeks are jammed packed with a song review, two album reviews and a concert review. Throughout that time, I will also need to find one more person to be interviewed for the Impact of Rock ‘N Roll interview. Once all candidates are booked, I will need to find a time where they can meet to be interviewed. I can already imagine writing this article will take a while, so I’d like to have the interviews finished as fast as I can. Which means, the next few weeks will be fast paced and I will be working hard, and late into the night. I still need to make questions for the interviews as well, which is stressing me out.

I just need to take a deep breath and relax. With a lot of effort and dedication, I will complete my project by the end of January, and it will be great.