A Personal Journey to the Heart of Teaching - kindle ebook by John Fioravanti


The decision to release a new edition of this book came hand-in-hand with the resolution to create our own publishing company, Fiora Books. After many good years with our friends at Iceberg Publishing, Anne and I decided it was time to strike out on our own. We have been life partners for just over forty years, and now we are also business partners.

This new career of writing and publishing is both exciting and daunting. The adventure into a new world like publishing is invigorating. The other side of that coin is the very steep learning curve, which can be intimidating. As I feel the anxiety today I am reminded of the battle I waged when I began my teaching career – beset with fear of failure and the ever-present self-doubt. Fortunately, with the help of family, friends, and caring colleagues I was able to overcome those twin demons. That experience is helping me with my present inner struggle.

I have been retired from teaching for almost six years and am enjoying much lower stress levels. That’s both good and bad: good for my peace of mind, bad for my waistline. In these years of retirement I had to make the adjustment from my identity as an educator to that of a person without a profession. I had work to do around the house, and I picked up a part-time job driving a dealership shuttle; but I struggled to find meaning. It seemed as though I was no longer making a difference.
For me the adjustment to retirement was slow and difficult. It wasn’t long before I discovered a new inner demon – depression. As I battled with this melancholy, I lost sight of my retirement plan. When this book won a bronze medal IPPY award in 2008, the same month I retired from teaching, I was looking forward to a new career as a novelist. No one was more shocked than I by this recognition for literary excellence. It was pretty heady stuff for a ‘backwoodsman from Dundas’. Yet even with that excitement, the struggle to adjust derailed my plan.

That was unfortunate. After all, this book won a bronze medal IPPY award. There it is: proof I have the ability to write well. Very gradually I brought myself back on track to the point where I once more took up the pen, or rather, the word processor, and discovered the joy in creating fiction. The creative juices began to percolate and stories began to appear. I haven’t had this much fun since my days in the classroom when I shared stories with my students about Canadian history and politics! Soon Anne and I will share many good stories through our own publishing company.

In this book I said on a few occasions that I learned a lot from my students over those thirty-five years in the classroom. For those lessons I am grateful. Now I find myself being schooled by the characters I create. They don’t always behave the way I expect them to. There are occasions when I give them a crisis to deal with, they show me personality traits I didn’t know were there. Other times the plot takes off in an unexpected direction. Then I chuckle, close my word processor and wonder who’s really writing this story?

My passion for teaching has evolved into a passion for creating and sharing as I reinvent myself in this sixth decade of my life. Will I find success in writing and publishing? I hope so, but I’m not worried about it. I am so grateful to be able to share this new adventure with my bride. My shortcomings are her strengths and this business of publishing is invigorating for her too. We are a good team and we’re enjoying it thoroughly. So life continues to teach me new things and the most important lesson for me is that I am the best person I can be when I have work that inspires passion within me.
The depression has lifted, I have new goals, and I walk hand in hand with the woman I love down a brand new path. My personal journey continues…