Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The End Seems Near…

I love teaching secondary. Ends are on everyone’s mind. The end of school seems nearer with the last term beginning in March. Graduation seems to be nearing with fundraising started and staff and administration scrambling to calculate credits achieved and needed and conferencing with students to give them that final push.

For weeks I have tried to help one of my Sec. V English students apply for CEGEP (college/ pre-university), but thanks to Canada post not recognizing our postal code, and the on-line application not recognizing the school, we had a great deal of frustration. She opted to apply to Dawson College yesterday; sound familiar, and I had to reassure her that lightning rarely strikes twice. Only come to find out that she could apply to her preferred school at the same time.

Today we had a woman visit from the Sept Iles CEGEP. My students didn’t say much, or even feel comfortable enough to nod their heads in response to her open questions, but the moment she left we continued the conversation, using what I know about the students as examples, and think I got some of the gears turning. I’m making an effort to do some guidance counseling, considering that the school can’t find anyone willing to take the job up here, and think that I may have talked one person into applying for a music program.

Our other two unconfirmed graduates have applied to the military. They recently completed the second phase of the entrance requirements. I now want to talk to them about applying to do training through the armed forces, but first I have to do some research on the programs.

The students have really started to open up, and now I get to see some of their personalities. It makes things seem more worth it. Now if I can just continue to motivate them into coming and participating we may have four or more graduate.

P.S. still no reliable internet at home, going to try again this week and if it works I'll post some of my recent photos

Monday, February 4, 2008


Well, it’s that time of year. I'm sick of the cold, the snow, and just the winter season. The floors of the apartment are uncomfortably cool on occasion. The apartment door has a build-up of ice that has crept through the key holes. I hate hitting the wall of cold that separates me from my classroom heater. And mostly it is the white. Snow is everywhere. The benefit of living here is that it looks clean. There is no brown slush. The road (if you could call it a road) is made of ice that by now is certainly a foot thick. I walk outside my door and know that I'm at least 3 feet away from the soil because of the build-up of Styrofoam like snow.

I dream of sun and grass and the fresh smells of the changing season. I won’t get that here. The snow in the mountains will still be there when I leave for the summer. I won’t see grass till mid-May.

I look forward to the summer… I never have liked winter, just call me Sam McGee. I am making the most of the conditions with some talk of starting a teacher running club (inside on treadmills), playing badminton during lunch hours and the potential of attending a ptarmigan hunt.

Fingers still crossed that the global warming thing kicks in…

Friday, February 1, 2008

I little news...

Well, the internet is still not working properly, so this is actually the second time I have had to write this. The weather has been uncooperative- pushing past 40km/h. One of the windows in my living room cracked from the combination of cold on the outside, heat on the inside and the pressure of the wind.

Some good has come from the weather. Yesterday the wind was so strong that there was no visibility in the morning, so teachers did not have to go in until 11:30. Then the students didn’t have to come in at all. Today the weather was still bad, so I got an extra hour of sleep and the students didn’t have to come in until 12. And then they shut the water off in the community, so classes ended at 2:00.

Last week was exam week. I had to give two provincial exams in history and English. I had 2 students write the English exam, and 1 passed. I had 17 write the history exam, and 67% passed. That definitely beats the track record of the last two years. Only 30% passed last year, and on one passed the year before. So as a result I have been getting some positive comments. Now we wait to see how the ministry calculates the grades- I hear that they tend to make grade fit the curve, so some of the students may still fail (fingers crossed that that is not the case), I should know next week.

The new term has me teaching economics. My 3 students are starting a small business of making cupcakes. The profits will go towards graduation.