Saturday, January 13, 2007


On Wednesday morning, I recieved a phone call from our principal asking if I could fill in for her as she wasn't feeling well. The day was chaotic due to post Christmas behaviour issues but we got through it. That evening, our secretary called me. "Did you hear from our principal? She was taken to Slave Lake by ambulance." Sure enough two minutes later, her grandson is at my door confirming the Trout Lake rumour.

The next morning I recieve a phone call from one of the teachers at school. She will be late because some of the community members, including a student of mine, decided to party at the principal's house well she was in the hospital. They refused to leave, the cops were called and some things in the house were wrecked.

That day at school was more subdued as staff and students were worried about their principal and as we dealt with the other happenings that night, such as pulling the principal's car out of the ditch and talking to the cops. At the beginning of the morning, we heard that our principal had a heart attack and then there was speculation about whether or not she would be able to come back and work. I had a sick feeling all day with worry. This is the last thing our principal needed and the last thing our school needed - another year with mulitple principals, another student involved with the cops because of indiscretions while drinking. All the worse case scenarios were going through all our heads. That evening we found out that the doctors don't think it was a heartattack. She should be back by Thursday and in the meantime I am in charge.

I still am worried - not only about the principal but about the student who is no doubt feeling remorse. Hopefully, as teachers we will be able to forgive this breach of privacy and trust and convey our forgiveness to the student. Without our forgiveness, the student will ever be able to forgive himself and will turn to alcohol again to cover up his anger at himself. That is the heartbreaking pattern here. I have seen it happen before with this student and am worried that we are going to see it again.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Lonely Road

Last night I drove back up to Trout. It was dark already when I left Slave. Driving in the dark in the bush is a lot different than driving in the dark in the Prairies. In the Prairies, you see the light of the distant towns and farms. In the bush, there are either no lights in the distance or it is all blocked by the trees. The only light comes from your headlights which create a small tunnel of illumination with darkness pressing in all around. This trip it seemed like I was the only person heading North. For over 250 kilometers I passed only one car and only one car passed me. There was a lot of traffic heading in the opposite direction but there were no headlights in my rearview mirror and no glimpses of red tail lights in front of me. It was just me and the Northern darkness.

For the short times when I was close to another car, their lights gave off additional illumination. The darkness didn't seem so overbearing and I felt relieved at having a fellow traveller along the lonely winter road. The companionship though was shortlived.

Is this somehow a metaphor for my life?