Saturday 22 October 2022

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. That is all to say, being the lazy ass writer that I am, here I am again.

I ended my previous post with the dinner party we were going to have for all of the new teachers. Went really well. Our house is obviously not meant for having eight or nine guests over but we managed and those that came over seemed to survive okay. My wonderful wife cooked up something exclusively vegetarian and it was tasty and good and everyone ate their fill. Add in a little conversation and it was nice to have people over. Not sure when we will do it again but hope we will.

We had a bonfire get-together as well near my boss’s house and that was fun. Except that my poor wife felt left out since people wouldn’t/couldn’t talk with her. Hard when your first language is non-local and your second language is not the preferred method. French is dominant this year in the school, with very few attempts to provide translation or guidance. But in a social setting? It would be nice that a few would at least try rather than ignore. Cannot control it so we’ve learned to live with it.

Speaking of French, Thy’s application for her Permanent Residency has been more or less rejected, again. Or at least sort of. We were told that we have lived too long in Quebec and would have to submit a new application via the French authorities in Quebec. So, we did - and lo and behold this new twist in the road has been approved by the powers that be. The acknowledgement letter was all in French so using Google Lens we translated it line by line. I am not ashamed to say I cried like a little boy when I realized that the letter was saying, yes, ok, let’s get this new ball rolling again. Man, the stress and worry and sweaty moments has been a lot to deal with. Now we sit and wait, again, hoping someone will give us a new direction soon.

I was fortunate enough to have one of my colleagues also read the acknowledgement letter for me, to confirm what we thought was true. He’s just a really nice guy, pure and simple. We noted that he was looking a little sad a week or two ago. Then he decided he would adopt one of the neighbour’s puppies. It is really gratifying to see how happy he is now, to see the internal love flood out in real time. Pilou is a delightful little girl, one of seven puppies we used to feed on a regular basis. There are only three left now, Socks, Socks Two and Dirty Socks, plus Mommy Dog and Auntie Dog, and the occasional Daddy Dog, who crowd our doorstep on a regular basis for the daily handouts. Hunter has a major league crush on my friend and she has been granted visitation rights to him and his puppy. Amongst all the weirdness (more on that later) a little love goes a very long way.

“Thy’s Kitchen” was going fast and furious, with steamed up windows, frantic preparations and very happy customers. Then, for some reason, the business slowed a bit - it felt like after Thanksgiving people were running out of money. Then this week things exploded again and she was hard at it for nearly twelve hours. Crazy! Regardless of the ups and downs of just about any new business, we are making all sorts of new friends via Thy’s culinary masterpieces… culinary art, indeed.

We did have a first of the year potluck at my boss’s place. It was really fun, except that Thy and Hunter couldn’t attend due to colds. Lots of good people, lots of amazing food, good chats, silly laughter - kind of what you need when you are a teacher. We have a good crew this year, all working hard to work together - which, as it turns out, may become the theme of the year.

Weirdness. Well, I had a student threaten to kill me with an upraised chair - is that weird enough? Outcome was simple enough - I talked him down from it, simply because I was confident his intent was not for that but more along the lines of crying out for help. His is a sad case that keeps me awake at night, but I haven’t given up on him. He has since advised that he is quitting school (he is 18) and since that pronouncement I have bumped into him twice, each time imploring him to come back, don’t give up on yourself, etc. We’ll see how it develops.

Weirdness, too. The level of animosity in the school is way above normal levels. That’s partially due to all of the new teachers this year and the atypical approach by all the kids: push a button or two until you see where you are at. The button pushing has gotten way out of hand though, with cussing reaching filthy levels, spitting, farting in teachers’ faces, etc. Madness - stuff you know if you did it on the street someone is going to get fucked up.  Eventually someone is going to snap, unless as a group we step up and follow the process of how these things are handled in the school. What we are seeing is a consequence of non-consequence based, harm reduction teaching. Couple that with an inability of following processes set in to place to help these kids and you get some really ugly situations.

And there is more that just makes me sad but I really cannot comment on it in this very public forum. Nothing with my immediate family, just with my work family, <sigh>, the folks I spend a lot of time with. And care about. And worry about. And want to see as successful and happy and smiling and laughing human beings.

We’ll figure it out, simply because we have to - the kids are counting on it.

Take care everyone, until the next time! All blessings to you and yours, continued safe passage on all your journeys.

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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...