Saturday, April 04, 2009

Time's a-marchin' on

Springtime has kissed Fox Creek at last, and I can imagine lush green lawns beneath the slush and the mud puddles. Although I had vowed to walk around town more when I first moved here, I have yet to point my new pink hightops toward the trails that skirt the town. The only time I've walked anywhere since moving here was the day the car wouldn't start in minus-thirty weather. I had walked home from work, and sorely regretted not taking an offered ride along the way. Those twenty minutes were worse than anything I had experienced in the Canadian Arctic. I felt so sorry for myself and thought that my toes were going to fall off.

Report card time has come and gone, and I was pleased that all of my students passed.  Parent-teacher night will be this coming Wednesday, and then my spring break will start on Friday. I'll be taking the Greyhound to Edmonton before catching a flight back to Vancouver. By the time I get back to Fox Creek on April 19th, I'll have only a little more than two months before my summer holidays -- possibly the last summer vacation I will have as a teacher.

A few days ago, the principal came to my room to speak with me about a few of my students. She stared at me intently for a while with a strange expression before declaring that I had staples all over my hair. I ran my fingers through my hair, and indeed, staples fell out. She had imagined some of the "bad" kids throwing things around in class, but I assured her that it was my own doing, from my continuous attempts to unjam the stapler on my desk, that had sent staples flying through the air. We both had a good laugh, and it felt so good at the end of a frustrating, flurried afternoon.

At work, I've learned to pick my battles and fight for what really matters, but let the rest go. I've stuck to my motto that somtimes, all we can do is laugh, especially at the things that frustrate us the most. I'd still like to stick by my view that every student matters, but on days when particular students just would not cooperate, I've learned to take it easy and try again the next day. More than anything, I've found that what those difficult and challenging students need the most is understanding, not harsh discipline. When a student who has butted heads with all other teachers and who has refused to attend most classes still comes to my class, I see his willingness to focus and work every other day as a good place to start. Although I tell those students that what matters is not whether or not they like their teachers when they complain about all of their teachers, I make sure I let them know that I do indeed like them, despite their antics. When they complain about fellow classmates, I make sure that I say that all of them, complainers and complainees alike, are still good kids at the core. Already, I'm wondering how I could or why I would leave this profession come June....

This past week, I received news that I'd been selected for the major graduate recruitment scholarship. It will pay for my tuition and fees for the first year of my two-year program, and will provide a stipend that should cover my rent for the year.  On top of that, the department has guaranteed me a research grant. I feel so utterly fortunate and blessed. Now there is no reason for me not to go to grad school. All that questioning that started in earnest last year, when I decided to leave the North, all those uncertainties have been laid to rest. Often, the universe has a way of telling us that everything will be fine, particularly during the times when we doubt ourselves the most. 

Time is indeed marching steadily onward, in its own regular rhythm that is in syncopation with my own heartbeat and my own pace. The next phase of life comes all too quickly, and not soon enough....


  1. I think you'll always miss your classroom and your students, maybe especially the "bad" ones. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't go to grad school. You'll love it!

  2. You definitely have a teacher's heart...

    Congratulations on the scholarship!!!

  3. Congrats on the scholarship. You're amazing. i'll just call you zing from now on. EB