About Me

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Inukjuak, Quebec, Canada
Always up for a new adventure. I love Musicals, photography, my family, road trips, and beads. So far I have been fortunate enough to teach in Japan, South Korea, Kenya, and the Canadian Arctic. Currently in my 5th year in the frozen North and up for any new adventure.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Flying in the North

Living in the northern communities there is really only one way to travel between the towns; you fly. There is the option of taking a snow machine once the snow hits, but 9 hours in the cold vs a 1/2 flight hmmm. There are almost daily scheduled flights but often the school board hires charter flights to get the teachers to and from their communities for training etc. These flights are not the cushy big planes of the south either, our plane was a nine seater with a little room for cargo in the back. As one of my coworkers said; if we go down there is nothing to catch and save you, we're screwed. Despite his lack of confidence in the plane and pilot, I love to fly. There is always that moment of uncertainty as the plane lifts off at the end of the runway. Flying low enough to see the landscape change and flow beneath you. No flight attendants or wheelie carts down the aisles, just a basket at the back of the plane. There is also the chance that your flight might be suddenly cancelled due to weather or the fact that your plane is needed as a medivac flight. Suddenly you find yourself waiting for a few hours in the tiny local airport, hoping to get a spot on the next scheduled flight out. Ah flying in the north.

Lesson learned: always have a pack of cards in your bag and an ipod at the ready.

But on the other hand on my flight up to Kuujuak the first time back in August was a riot. We were again in the small nine-seater because we had the lightest luggage of all the teachers flying up. So after our safety check, which consisted of "Ok so there is the exit at the back, buckle up" we were off. We had the pilot and co-pilot up front and we were left to our own devices, holding our lunch trays on our laps during take-off. Spirits were high and the sky was perfectly clear. Beautiful day, it felt like you could see forever. We had the run of the plane pretty much as long as we stayed out of the cargo area, served ourselves drinks and snacks, last chance for Timmie's coffee and muffins. I felt like a teenager, flying for the first time without parents if that makes sense. Felt a tiny bit of turbulence getting closer to Kuujuak, mainly cause we were so small. Would do the whole thing over again in a heartbeat. Love to fly :)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fire under the Starry Sky

How many teachers can you pile into the back of a truck to take out on the tundra? More than you would think. The decision was made to celebrate the new school year (and the labour day weekend) with a bonfire out on the tundra. Some of the guys had managed to get a huge pile of wood out there ready to go, and as night fell we headed out. Only a few of the teachers here have vehicles and by the time we finished picking everyone up there were close to a dozen of us in the back of the pick-up headed out onto the land. We couldn't have picked a better night. There was enough of a breeze to make things comfortable and to blow away the light cloud cover. The sky was a stunning carpet of twinkling lights and not too long after the stars came out, the northern lights decided to make an appearance as well. They weren't the bright pink, yellow, and green that you see in the famous pictures. Instead we were treated to shimmering waves of green that danced in the sky, illuminating the few clouds that were left with an almost silvery colour. Fire burning brightly as people baked bannock, roasted hotdogs, and enjoyed each others company. It was a great night of camaraderie out on the land. A few of us decided to end the night by walking back to the village. As we walked back, skirting the bay under that blanket of stars I was stuck by a feeling of happiness. I am a teacher in the arctic and I think I am going to love it here.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Personal Hell

... is filled with endless days and nights of planning math lessons and then having to teach them to my unsuspecting students while not betraying the fact that I hate every minute of it (math that is). I understand the value of it. I suffered through it during my time as a student. I applaud those that have chosen some form of math as their career. But as for myself I pity my students. I feel as if I am just turning them in circles as I try my best to explain the different math skills that they will need to know for their exams next year. This is not to say I loathe all forms of math. There were many kinds that I actually enjoyed learning as a student, never thinking that I would one day have to teach it. At this point, I just pray that we will make it through spatial sense and on to graphs without too many confused casualties.