Thursday, June 21, 2012


One of my leaving cards
Today has been a pretty tough day for me.  My family and I (and 4 packers) packed up our life here in Switzerland into 160 boxes and these were loaded into a 20 foot container which is now about to set sail down the Rhine to Rotterdam and in 10 days time it will be loaded onto a container ship and will set sail for Nhava Sheva, in Mumbai.  It will be sometime in early August before we see our belongings again and until that time we will each be living out of one suitcase.  Sometimes it's good to reduce right down to the essentials - it helps you to appreciate what is important.

Moving from Switzerland, the country that for many years has been top of the quality of life index ratings, to Mumbai where the population of the city is 3 times the size of the country where I'm currently living and over a million people in the city live in slums, is likely to be a challenge - I think of it in terms of night and day.  I'm buoyed up by the support I've got from my new school, by the excitement of returning to the cutting edge of education and of educational technology, by the feeling that I'm valued and that I can make a contribution.  Actually I'm more excited by the possibilities of this move than by any move I've ever made before (and I've lived in 7 countries).

However farewells are hard - the teachers I've worked with have been some of my closest friends ever - the support they have given me has been second to none.  My current school is a tough place to work and yet when things are tough it can bring out the best in people.  Many are hanging on and hoping for better times.  Over the past few months many have also expressed their concern that they will not get the same level of support in the future, or the same vision of how technology can transform learning.  At times I feel like a rat deserting a sinking ship.

Today as I was packing I was feeling quite depressed.  I wrote a post on Facebook about how I felt seeing my entire life being packed in to boxes.  This is the reply I got:

Your whole life doesn't fit into boxes, it never could. Your life is all over this great world in the hearts and minds of your precious family and all the kids you've taught and all the people you've worked with. Bits and pieces fit into the boxes but your life...never.
This is also the person who reminded me earlier this week when I compared my current school to my new school as night and day:

I take it I am here in the 'night'? Night can be beautiful too right? All those sparkling stars....
So in the next few days I will say goodbye to these sparkling stars, the people who have stood by me over the past 3 dark years, who have built me up instead of putting me down, who have shown me that they share the vision, that they want something better from schooling than we are now being offered.  I am proud to call these people my friends, and I will miss them.

I am not good at goodbyes and I know I have 2 more days of them.  But I'm confident that these are not really goodbyes.  I will be a little bit ahead of everyone in place and time, but I am never going to be further away than a Skype call or an email.  Technology has transformed not just the learning, but also the leaving.


  1. I think you must be very brave to make this move - I look forward to reading about your adventures teaching in India

  2. "Follow NO path but leave a trail" is a great guiding line Maggie. Its a line that brave children like, and I certainly liked helping them along that line 2 weeks ago at ISZL. You and I have seen many children come up with ideas and new knowledge,and we have the confidence to let them lead on in these new directions. I hope you can engineer this in Mumbai.

  3. I feel like I could have written this post as my family gets ready to make the move from Calgary (a wonderful place and home for the last 6 years) back to Ecuador (another wonderful place where we lived for 10 years previously) where family and friends await our return. Night and day can both be wonderful. Nothing is good or bad. Everything is what we make of it. Trite, but true. Good luck in your new adventure. I, for one, can't wait for mind to start.