Well, hello readers!
It’s been a while since I last wrote. Actually, looking back on my posts, it’s been just over a year since I last posted my thoughts on teaching. This past year has been a blur. Teaching kindergarten in my little Northern community proved to be one of the most challenging years yet. With only 23 little ones in the classroom, I thought “Well, this won’t be too bad! I know many classes in Ontario have over 30 children in one room.” Well, with a few non-verbal students, cases of autism (both confirmed and suspected), and many of the students coming from turbulent homes, these poor little ones only knew how to deal with problems in a violent way. Little Johnny was playing with a toy that little Tommy had been playing with an hour ago? Tommy did not want to let that go. So what does he do? He decides to punch, scratch, bite or push little Johnny until he gets that toy.
The beginning of the year was very rough. I could not have done it without my fabulous teaching partner. She was always there for me to bounce ideas or to cry on her shoulder. By the winter, I thought that nothing was changing. I started viewing my teaching in a negative way, to the point where I dreaded walking through the school doors every morning. Although I received loads of encouragement from my teacher friends, I felt hopeless. No matter what I tried in the classroom, the students did not have the support needed at home to continue building on what they were learning at school.
On top of school stress, the community of 1200 people has had multiple suicides this year. The mentality was beginning to be toxic, even to someone who doesn’t suffer from mental illness. That is when I decided that I needed to go back home, to Ontario. Being far away from family and friends in my home province was beginning to be too much. In May, I said my goodbyes to a community that had been home for the past 3 years. I left some amazing friends. As I write this, I can’t help tears from falling. Goodbyes are hard. I sometimes feel like I let my students down because I feel like I have given up on them. When I get into that mindset, I remind myself that I am not a miracle worker. There is only one miracle worker: Jesus Christ. All I can do, whether or not I am living in the community, is to keep praying for them.
The day that I arrived in Ontario is the day that I left for a trip to Ireland with some friends. It was a great way to get my mind off of goodbyes, and a great way to begin a new chapter. We drove around the whole island in 12 days. Here are some of the highlights from the trip:
Literally two days after arriving back in Canada, while unpacking all of my boxes in my new apartment, I had a job interview for a French teaching position at a local Christian school. So, long story short, I was offered a one-year contract at the school, which is where I have been working since August.
In August, I went on another trip. This time, I visited Greece and some of the Grecian islands with my housemate and coworker from the Northwest Territories. I did all of the traveling I could do this summer! This trip was also amazing. Hot, but beautiful.
It has been quite the change. I really enjoy having the opportunity to share my faith with the students. We can openly talk about Jesus. Our staff also has daily morning devotions together. I like to begin the day with prayer and a thought or passage to focus on throughout the day. Although teaching at any school is not without its problems, I am blessed to be at such a great school this year! I promise to keep you posted this year about my teaching adventures.