- 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.
Saturday, September 29, 2012
Students - check, passports - check (just barely), funding - check, me as a last minute chaperone - check :)This year it was decided that the school would send our graduating students on an end of year Graduation Trip, destination: Paris, Venice, and Rome. Many of our students have not traveled outside of Inukjuak let alone the country. There were feelings of excitement, fear, and curiosity in equal measure as the students prepared to board the plane that would take them so far from what they have always known. En route to Europe we made a stop in Montreal to do a bit of shopping as both students and teachers were in need of summer clothes; hazard of living where the ice breaks up the last weekend of June. After a visit to the local college where a number of our students will be attending this fall and more shopping than is good for any one person, we took the students for a day of at La Ronde. We thought that it would be a good idea to spend the day before our evening flight to Paris burning off energy running around an amusement park. The weather was not promising when we arrived at the park but despite a few showers during the day it didn't hamper the fun. Once we were in the park, teachers and students split up to race for the rides, we would see each other every so often in lines for the different rides. The bad weather was actually a great thing for us for despite it being a holiday in Quebec we had the park nearly to ourselves. Late in afternoon it was time to head to the airport to head to Europe, once we managed to round up all the students we were on our way. I'll admit that I was as excited as they were to fly to Paris, it is one of my favourite cities to wander around. We encourage the students to try and sleep on the plane as we were in for a long day of touring when we arrived, some of them actually listened. After getting everyone through customs and finding all their bags we were on our way into the city of lights. It was fun watching the students reactions to Paris, surprise and delight seemed to be the most common. We found ourselves staying in a hostel not too far from Notre Dame and this is where the 'fun' began. Travelling in the summer in Europe does tend to have its disadvantages, one of which is there are a lot of people. Staying at our hostel were several other large school groups. Nice enough kids but perhaps a little misguided. We were woken up at about 2am by one of the young men yelling "I love you!" and "Will you sleep with me?" to the open windows of the girls on his trip. He was very drunk and apparently very horny. We felt rather sorry for the chaperones of his trip, they had their hands full with 40 students and only 2 chaperones. Not that we were without difficulty on our trip. The next night was another sleepless one for the chaperones on our trip as we had a group of our students sneaking off to "try and find internet" aka "a bar". We found them pretty quickly, actually coming back to the hostel, only a couple of them having drunk too much. Unfortunately one of the boys that had been drinking was on some medication that did not react well with the alcohol. This meant another 2am wakeup call as the male chaperone came to tell us that the student was acting very strangely and seeming to have no idea where he was. Long nights of strange followed by good days of touring around Paris; the Louvre, Versailles, Notre Dame, bike tours, and of course the Eiffel tower. Our last night in Paris was another sleepless one unfortunately. We had a restless evening as the students were getting their bags ready to leave the next day for Venice and there was a great deal of running around between their rooms. The were slow to get settled down and we were keeping an eye on them as we patrolled the halls, often running into the chaperones from the trip with the "love" student. After the chaperones had finally gone to bed for a light doze we were woken by the new that one of our students was feeling ill and in a fair bit of pain. It was decided to take him to the hospital, just to be on the safe side. Good thing we did, it turns out that he need to have his appendix removed. Seriously, what are the odds? A kid flies down from the Arctic and all the way to Europe only to need to have his appendix removed in Paris. Well arrangements were made and his operation was scheduled for later that day, the day we were to be leaving for Venice. It was decided that since I was the extra chaperone, I knew Paris fairly well and spoke French, I would stay with the student during his operation and either take him back to Canada or meet up with the group again depending on what the doctor decided. The rest of the group had to run off to catch the train to Venice I settled back into the hostel for one more night to await the doctors verdict. Side note: there are some very cute and helpful
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Over the course of this past school year my students have been involved in a literary project through the Blue Metropolis Foundation and Quebec Roots. Along with five other communities in Quebec they were chosen to write about life in their community, what it is that makes their town/school unique. Today was the culmination of 7 months of hard work as we were able to see the book in print for the first time. They have been writing, editing, rewriting, and taking photos that describe "Life in our changing culture". The entire project was a great experience for the students as well as myself as we worked together to make our pieces the best that they could be. In the end, Blue Met. was able to get funding for three students (and myself) to fly down from Inukjuak to Montreal to attend the book launch. I was so proud of my students, I actually started to get teared up at one point when two of my students were at the front of the room, reading pieces from their work to the audience of fellow students, authors, and photographers. The cover of the book is actually from a photo that one of my students took, and the girl in the picture was one of the students that was able to come down to Montreal. It was a complete surprise to her, she was pleased but a bit embarrassed to tell the truth. I was interesting to see the students interact at the launch. The Innalik students were the oldest of the students involved and although they were shy at first T, J, and D soon got into the spirit of the launch. After a few of the students presented, the schools were given their books for the first time. I was like christmas, complete with ripping paper as the book boxes were wrapped in newspaper. Once the books were out all heads were down as they saw their hard work of writing and photography in a real book. After the initial read was over all the students began exchanging books, getting autographs from each other. It was great to see my students meet, greet, and exchange signatures from the other groups. You could see the pride and happiness on all the faces of the students involved. It was a great day. I am so proud of them all :)
I feel awful that I haven't been keeping this blog up this year. I let teaching projects and other activities overwhelm me and I let the blog suffer. I ran into a friend at a book launch in Montreal today and she reminded me that she still checks my blog as it is a contact to the North for her. I felt extremely guilty and made a spring resolution to mend my blogging ways. Apologies to anyone that cares. Next post to follow ASAP