Sunday, October 28, 2007

The routine

I did not blog last week and really have nothing to say this week. My life right now is pretty routine and SAD is starting to set in. So here it is, the sad routine of me.

1. Hear the alarm and press snooze three or four times.
2. Wake up later than I want and rush to get ready to school.
3. Go to school and teach until about 4:00.
4. Go home and eat because the starvation has already set in.
5. Go back to school at about 5:00 or 6:00.
6. Stay at school unitl 9:00.
7. Go home and watch TV for an hour.
8. Go to bed.
9. Sleep.
10. Repeat the next day.

My fridge was getting bare so I did have to go grocery shopping on Saturday. This was quite the dilemma for me. Did I want to drive three hours to the "big" grocery store and get exactly what I wanted (maybe) or did I want to drive one hour (these are both one way trip times) and get what was available. Driving one hour won out. The prospect of driving three hours to go shopping solitarily and have no one to know me and greet me at the end of the journey convinced me that Red Earth groceries would be sufficient.

Did I mention that SAD is setting in? Darkness at 8:00 am and again at 6:00 is affecting the emotions and drive. The new elliptical does help a bit to get those endorphins up.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Trip

We thought that we might not be able to go all week but finally on Thursday, we got our field trip number and a bus and driver and it was confirmed. Friday, we could go to Edmonton with 15 of our students (who were a little bit reluctant to go to the Dreamcatcher conference).

Friday morning, we gathered at the school. Eight of the 15 students showed up - the best 8 I think. The bus arrived and we were off. One student, who is 18, was off to Edmonton for the very first time. It was his inaugral trip to a place with buildings over five stories high, with public transit, traffic etc. This made the trip so much more interesting and fun.

The high school students were off to the Dreamcatcher conference in Edmonton. This is a conference designed for aboriginal youth with cultural and other sessions. They had a chance to hang with aboriginal youth and listen to aboriginal speakers. They had a chance to feel pride in their ancestory and hope in their future. All we did in Edmonton was this conference and a movie at the theater. No mall, no shopping, no swimming pool (and yes I am sure we will hear complaints about this.)

It was interesting to see the reaction of my students to the city. Another teacher and I often talk about the lack of natural print in the environment of my students - there is no billboards, no magazines, no signs etc. As a kid, I remember driving down the road, reading the signs that I saw out loud. That is what the teens in the bus started to do. "Totem Building Supplies." "Walmart" "Go Logo Wear" etc. Then one of them started talking about how this was the most traffic that they had ever seen (It wasn't even rush hour.) We had to explain how to use crosswalks and cross walk lights. (So can we cross if the hand is blinking? What do the numbers mean on the side?) Riding the elevator in our hotel was a treat (I am surprised that they didn't fight over who would push the buttons) I had to explain how to go down on the escalator. One of my students exclaimed, "I feel like I am in a movie." The only city experience that he had had was seeing one on movies.

I am so proud of my students and their behaviour in the city. They were the best students at the conference. It was fun hanging out with them instead of telling them to get their math work done. On the way home, I was able to have a wonderful conversation with one of my students about faith and christianity and God. Mostly we talked about Christian history. "No the Bible wasn't originally written in King James English. It was written in Greek and Hebrew." It pains me that most people here think that they need to read the KJV version of the Bible. Most of them are on the verge of illiteracy and at times the Bible is tough enough to understand. Christ came to speak to us in our own languages. He came to take some of the mystery away (bu adding on layers of mystery). And yet for many here, the mystery still remains and the knowledge of Biblical matters rests with the preacher and leadership. It raises my ire.

Monday, October 08, 2007

A World of Pain and Stress

I know that that is not a good intro to a Thanksgiving Day post but alas, it is how I am feeling. It sums up the Trout experience over the past few weeks.

Two weeks ago, we had a hushed day at school. After I arrived, the secretary came into talk to me. Her nephew would not be at school that day. One of the teen boys in Peerless had been killed in a hunting accident. At first they thought that he had accidently shot himself but the police found out that his hunting partner had accidently shot him. The whole school was shocked and the student didn't even attend here. I can't imagine the pain felt in the halls of Peerless. I felt for my students who already know so much pain. I felt for the child's family and the accidental shooter. They will always have to live with this tragedy. I felt fear that it could have happenned to one of my students. Fear that some day I may have to attend the funeral of a student or former student. It is my greatest fear.

All week there was a cloud over Trout. The funeral was the next Monday. On that day we found out that our principal's step-father had suddenly passed away. She had to go to BC to be with her mother. This leaves me in charge of the school. I will have almost been principal for three weeks in a row. There is a lot to do and I am feeling a little stressed (I have to conduct interviews and hire aids and Cree instructors tomorrow). Selfishly, I did notwant her to go console her mother because I wanted her here. Yet I also felt the pain of suddenly losing someone no matter what the age.

On Saturday morning, I recieved a call from one of my students. I could tell automatically that she was crying. This also usually means that she is drunk - which again was the case. But I am learning that truth is often spoken in a drunken slur. She started talking about her fears. Fears for her mother who is sick and going to the doctor. Fears of losing her mother - the person that cares for her the most. Through her pain came anger at all who have abandoned her and hurt her and told her that she is worthless and bad. I prayed prayers as I started to talk the truth. I told her that she is a person who cares and because of that she has value beyond measure. She is a creation of God and so she has value. And yes she may have made mistakes and may still make mistakes - drinking being one of them - but that does not eliminate her value. By the end of our conversation I had her laughing a bit. But the laughter so often does not take away the pain but masks it.

I so badly want to take some of this pain and throw it into an abyss. I so desparately want to force people to hold on to Jesus and place their pain on him. I know that he was standing with those that are pain filled. Invisible but with tears in his eyes.