From the Teacher’s Desk: Sweet Serendipity

By Leonard Quilty

Trade your expectation for appreciation and the world changes instantly.
~ Tony Robbins

For two days in mid-February, our two day teacher convention took place in downtown Calgary. These two days offer a great opportunity to network with fellow teachers and gain some valuable information to improve our teaching practice. One of the sessions I attended was on the Writer’s Workshop. This gathering was a great case in point of teachers helping teachers with their craft.

A corollary benefit of the two days in downtown Calgary is simply the serendipity of the occasion. By that I mean, it’s the activities on the periphery of the meetings and the networking that can really add another flavour to the event.
At noontime on the first day I decided to stroll down Stephen Avenue in order to take in some of the sights and sounds of this vibrant city. Unlike most main streets in a downtown core, Stephen Avenue is unique in that it has no vehicular traffic. It’s a veritable pedestrian paradise offering up an eclectic viewing sample of boutique stores, shopping malls, high end restaurants and traditional pubs.

As in past years, I found myself gravitating towards a building complex called Bankers Hall. This impressive structure houses a variety of marketing venues. The list runs the gamut from a Starbucks outlet, to a post office, a liquor store, a few sit down restaurants and, not surprisingly, a branch of the CIBC.

As I stepped off one of the escalators inside the building, immediately I was caught up in the gait of numerous other walkers. Almost in unison, we plied our way through the throng of people, many of whom wore a visage of determination as if they feared being late for some important rendezvous. A few others though, mostly in groups of two or three, were content to move along at a slower pace. Their countenance told a different story – a tale maybe of an unhurried agenda, where time spent in the company of friends was treasure enough for the moment.
Of course, what always catches my attention in a group of walkers like this is the sight of people who, while weaving precariously through the crowd, are staring at their mobile device – their smartphone. Some are even performing the impressive feat of typing a text message while marching along with soldier like precision.

Breaking free of the crowd, I quickly detoured to a Chinese restaurant and ordered a takeout meal of chicken, rice, and noodles. After I retrieved my order, I managed to find a small table among a group of tables and chairs sandwiched between two other eating establishments. From this vantage point, I was flanked on both sides by the previous parade of passersby, who now had to edge sideways at times as they continued on their merry way.
After finishing my pleasant meal, I quickly left Bankers Hall and scooted across the street to a Chapters location. With about a half hour to spare before the resumption of my meetings, I was happy to lose myself among the shelves of personal development books.

With all due respect to Lee DeWyze’s catchy tune of the same name, “sweet serendipity” is definitely its own reward.

Leonard Quilty is a guidance counsellor with the Centre for Learning@Home in Okotoks, Alberta. He can be reached by e-mail at Leonard is the author of A Manual for Peace ( and the eBook Inspiration from the Teacher’s Desk, Vol. 1 (