Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wind Down

Its hard to believe that we've reached this point in the school year already - the point where things are really beginning to feel like they're winding down. It always seems to sneak up on me too. I've known a few teachers in the past that for some odd reason seem to start counting down the days either at the start of the school year or once January rolls around. I'm not sure why they do this. It all seems a giant exercise in futility to me. (I mean, you know you're in trouble when...) Now, high school exams are right around the corner and the idea of the academic year soon being complete is sinking in fast.

So where does that leave us? Time for my big near-to-the-end-of-the-year retrospective I suppose. In many ways, this was a very challenging year. A large part of that was due to the big staff turn over we experienced. It was an adjustment for me so I can imagine all too well what it was like for the students. Ten new colleagues to work with. All in all, though I think things went about as well as one could reasonably hope to expect, given all the changes. This year, we have a much smaller turn over. Only three positions will be vacated but as far as I know, they have already been filled for August.

Attendance was also a big headache but I could see it coming. I can't complain too much about this. Yes, it was a tougher year than most but, returning in the fall, I knew exactly what I was getting myself into so really, I can't complain about not knowing. Last year's grade 9's were just one of those groups where attendance problems seemed to be a big issue all the way up through school for a good many of them. You do what you can to help out of course, but ultimately, in the end, we are all responsible for the consequences of our actions.

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that other teaching opportunities had popped up for me. I can say definitively now that I will be returning to Inuujaq School. While tempted, I found that I've carved out a nice little niche for myself here. I've grown attached to the community and have forged bonds with the students. This is not always easy to do given cultural and language differences and high staff turn overs. No sense in building the house all over again from the foundation. That, plus I don't relish the prospect of taking time away from my summer break to move all my junk to another community.

I took a break from coaching after Christmas and I hope to get back into it. I'm also planning to get out on the land more. I will most definitely have a skidoo after the sea lift comes in. I'm really looking forward to working with next year's cadre of grade 10's. I've coached a great many of them, their attendance is phenomenal and they are keen to learn. I've known them since they were in grade 7 and have been patiently waiting for 3 years now for them to get into the high school end. We also have all the course scheduling sorted out and I LOVE my schedule for the new year.

So now we are pretty much down to exams and then 3 days of school activities the following week to wrap things up. Yes, it's that time of year again. Things are winding down.