Sunday 1 May 2022

Teaching at Minus Fifty - Part Fifteen

The first of May, Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!

Or something like that. 

With Nine Inch Nails back on the road, maybe…

I believe I can see the future

'Cause I repeat the same routine

Nah - everyday is a blessing, isn’t it?

Up at 05:00; washroom; morning meds; exercise (that’s new - bought a resistance band “kit” and have been at it for a couple of weeks now - the prodigious belly has not changed); prayers; breakfast; catch up on the world news (the horrors of the Russian invasion and silent fistbumps everytime I see another Russian tank get creamed); catch up on the sports (sad to see the Raptors knocked out, hoping the Leafs and Jays find a way to dominate); shave/shower; get dressed; kisses and hugs (if they are awake); off to work.

The walk is strange one now - the sunrise is around ten to five and sunset is about quarter past nine. The sun remains relatively low in the sky and it is very white. Really glad we got those extra dark sunglasses dialled up in Vietnam before we left (glasses are so cheap there - miss buying ‘em).

This past week was a crazy one for walk-ins. On Monday the local pack came to visit - first time they were aggressive and even one of them was displaying a really strange stumbling gait. Didn’t realise it at the time but that one was probably rabid. The word did come out later that we apparently had an outbreak of rabies in the community. On Tuesday I did not see a single dog, save for one tied up on the porch - people were taking extra steps. By Wednesday I was met up with two dogs who were super aggressive - the first time I can remember being scared. Reported them to the local authority and then assisted in pointing them out to him on Friday.

School has been challenging; as of tonight we have seven teaching days left before exams. There is the unfortunate tension that comes about when you have to sit down with a youngster and explain that the past practice of showing up was enough to pass Visual Arts was over, that you actually had to do work to earn your grade. Some kids get it, most have never heard of the need to be responsible. I feel I have given everyone a fair opportunity, but still I am setting up extra “recovery” classes for those who are in dire need of a passing grade. I did have a student tell me flat out that she was not interested in passing. I honoured her request, knowing that it was more likely the daily frustration of existence speaking then a real desire to fail. She has come to me asking for a second chance - no problem at all; of all people I don’t want her to  go on with the stigma of failure, we’ll figure it out together.

Home life has been very good. My beautiful wife is establishing a place in the community through her remarkable breads and delicious stuffed meat sandwiches. Of course her cinnamon rolls are a big hit; quite the little bakery we have going at our humble abode. Planning for even more in the Summer/Fall is underway, stay tuned. The Hunter has begun to read and with a real fervour. English/Vietnamese, it does not matter - all is fair game to her curious mind. The evening games before bedtime are starting to include more and more of the “ABC’s of something, something” - her capacity to learn amazes me.

We’ve made our plans for a short Summer visit. That means for some of my intrepid readers we are hopeful we can get together and catch up. Looking forward to it!

All our love…

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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...