Saturday 9 October 2021

Teaching at Minus Fifty - Part Seven

Two months - we landed in Salluit two months ago. Sixty-one days. First Thanksgiving weekend in Canada in ten years (other than that quick one week adventure so my wife could see a real Ontario Autumn - it was so fast it doesn’t really count =) ). Two months - much to be grateful for, much to be happy about, much to think about.

Two weeks - we took two weeks to re-jig, to rethink how we were teaching and how we were going to teach. Necessary for the health and welfare of the teachers, the students, for everyone in our little community. The attached picture is from the inside of my new Visual Arts classroom. We moved some classes, made some changes as to who taught what. So, one week into this new arrangement and I couldn’t be happier. My French language colleagues were supportive and amenable to the changes made - thus I now teach all of the Visual Arts classes, French and English (save one French credit-level class). The brilliance of the kids I am now teaching is a tribute to their teachers that taught before me - sharp, funny, engaged, a real privilege to be around and work with. And I am learning so much! Makes you want to drag your butt out of bed in the morning, know what I mean?

We are starting to see progressively cooler days now. Even our Terry Fox Run was interrupted and subsequently delayed by 100 km/h wind gusts. No snow yet - lots of reports of flurries and such up on the highlands but nothing “down here”. The locals are saying this is the rainiest they can remember and it has been unusually wet this Fall. There was 150 cm of snow last year but the long range forecasts are calling for a lot less snow, with far colder temperatures (see for one perspective on this). It will be Winter, that’s one thing I can say for sure - and definitely colder than what we have seen. We’ve got some solid winter clothing to keep us going, but during the Christmas break I can see us doing some additional purchases, just to keep us ahead of the game, so-to-speak.

Some of my art supplies arrived this week - so exciting. I am hopeful I will help give these kids a leg up or two on some fundamental techniques and then they can express their stories in a number of different ways. Some, quite frankly, don’t need much guidance from me - there are a number of gifted artists in this community. In talking with my senior French class just yesterday we were talking about the viability of bringing in an expert artist and having them guided through a traditional art form that translates into the message they want to portray. Man, who would have thought this is just one path I could travel in my 65th year. Amazing; so looking forward to figuring that all out.

Of course, just this week we celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. In closing it is worth noting again that my beloved @the le has made all the difference. Her level of patience with her crazy husband and his even crazier ideas (“c’mon honey - how cold can it get?”) gives me hope and makes my heart very happy.

Being this is Thanksgiving, regardless of what you believe, or where you are, it is my sincerest hope that you get to spend time with the ones you love. All blessings to you and yours; continued safe passage on all your journeys. From our family to yours: much love and happiness today and everyday.

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Teaching at Minus Fifty - Part Seventeen

So, back to writing again. New position at the school has me writing a lot more than I am used to, so keyboard time is preoccupied with that...