Tag Archives: school

The things we do, or don’t do, for education

I’m living in Nanaimo right now, doing the residency portion of my Masters.  One of the first friends I made on the coast just coined that term – residency – and I think it’s especially apt because Jeremy’s aunt Susan recently spent some time in Lantzville doing a residency of her own.  Anyways, here I am, only 100 km or so from my real home, living in this cute but fake home, and feeling pretty far away from home sometimes, especially right now because I have two special and amazing and really spectacular friends who are going through something (one is wearing a neckbrace, and one is going to be wearing a dress that would typically be white, but I don’t know if hers is going to be, and she’s wearing it all the way over in Bali, so I won’t find out unless I ask her pointedly or wait to see the pictures), and I wish I could be there for both of them, but I can’t really be there for either of them because I’m here, questioning the entire education system (like reading!  READING!  I’m questioning whether we actually need to teach all of the people, all over the world to read, especially when that education comes at the cost of losing one’s culture and traditional knowledge.  I know, crazy.  Watch this film), which I’ve been questioning for a while, but I’m questioning it in different ways than I have before, and that’s good too, but maybe not quite as fun as watching someone wear a white or not-white dress say nice things to and about someone wearing something that’s probably not-a-white dress, and then having that other person say nice things to and about them, and then toasting the things they said afterwards.

This is where you pause to take a breath.  That was one sentence.  Actually, that was 3 sentences, but the first two sentences were of normal length.  The other sentence was a little more lengthy, but I like it, and I’m not changing it, but you should take a breath if you didn’t while reading that sentence.  Just a thought.  Oh, and yes, there were sentences in my parentheses… but those don’t count.

And while my masters (especially this course) may be more “fun” than supporting a friend who’s wearing a neckbrace, she probably isn’t having very much fun and could probably use any kind of not boring loneliness I had to offer (I read recently that loneliness was as bad for you as smoking.  Go get yourself a dog or a cat or a fish lonely people!  Or a person, but you should probably ask them before you “get” them.).

Anyways, I wish the two people I love who are going through these things luck and happiness and unloneliness.  I love you both.

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A cop-out of a post

I’m a bit of an emotional mess from today being the last day of school (teachers have to go in tomorrow for meetings and such, but that really doesn’t count), especially because I have to change schools again for next year, so instead of saying anything about school or work (and instead of apologizing for not having written in months), I’m going to inundate you with pictures of the farm… or at least pictures of my flowers from around the farm.  I’m hoping to write a real post soon.

 

My top 10 Spring Break activities that actually happened

So I’ve been writing this post in my head over the past few days, while weeding the strawberries of nettles (I am, by no means, against the nettle plant.  I am, however, against all sharp and spiny and stingy [not stingy as in miserly, but sting-y, as in nettle-y] plants interspersed with my berries or my flowers.  NOT FAIR.), or while formatting pictures for this poster I had to do for school, or while driving up and down that island beside this island.  So I have ideas about this post, but they’re all pretty meandering.  I would not be surprised if the post is the same, even if it makes a claim to be a list.  Just thought you should know.

Climbing rose

Climbing rose

Kerri’s top 10 Spring break activities that actually happened

10.  Finishing my poster.  I had to do this poster for my Master’s.  It took way longer than I thought it would.  I finished it.  It was pretty.  It felt good.  Now I have this poster that I spent 2 days making and I don’t know what to do with it.  I guess there is always the woodstove.

Baby asparagus.  Only 2 more years!

Baby asparagus. Only 2 more years!

9. I got my haircut.  I’ve been wanting to cut my hair for a long time.  My mom told me not to shave any parts of it.  Then she said that I shouldn’t listen to her.  So I didn’t.

8.  Weeding the strawberries of nettles.  Also the blueberries of wild blackberry.  While I, for the most part, enjoy weeding, I especially enjoy weeding when the roots are really long and tangly, and the ground is pretty soft, and the weeds themselves are pretty big.  I like getting a big pile of weeds without a lot of work, especially when a significant part of that pile is root mass.  I get enjoyment out of it similar to the enjoyment I get when I pop an awesome pimple.  You should try it sometime.  The weeding part I mean.  We have lots of blackberries you can try it on, anytime.

Tractor sign.

Tractor sign.

7.  Beer on a patio.  In the sun.  A whole lot of years (6?  7?  I don’t remember) Jer and I went on our first date on Easter weekend.  We had beers on a patio in the sunshine.  A seagull shat in my beer.  Friends joined us and things got raucous.  It was an amazing day.  This was not that, but it was beers, on a patio, in the sun, with friends.  In April.  Win.

Jeremy made me alder buttons for my sweater.  I win.

Jeremy made me alder buttons for my sweater. I win.

6.  Fancy cocktails with friendfamily in the city.  I like fancy cocktails.  I like beer too, but fancy cocktails are special, and when we were in Calgary we went out with my cousin to a hip place and got to pretend that we weren’t bumpkins for a few hours, and there was a painting of a turtle in a suit, and we drank cocktails with names like “The Dirty Pigeon” (with tamarind and a salty cucumber!) and “The Meat Hook” and “Corn and Oil” and it was a lot of fun.  It made me feel young.

I made me a sweater.  It's orange.  It has handmade, homegrown buttons on it.  Seriously.  I win.

I made me a sweater. It’s orange. It has handmade, homegrown buttons on it. Seriously. I win.

5.  Rock and stick throwing parties.  When we got our land stumped last year, a bunch of rocks came to the surface.  Some sticks too.  Then Jer bought a tractor.  Rocks and tractors don’t get along so well, so I decided to have a rock and stick throwing party.  I thought friends would figure that I wanted them to work for me for free.  They didn’t.  One of them even googled “rock and stick throwing party” before deciding that it was probably a weird Denman Island thing, and hoped that it wasn’t going to be too competitive… I think it’s awesome that my friends trust me enough that I can host a work party with an unclear name and they’ll come and work… before going to the beach and drinking beer in the sun.

See?  Homemade sweater, homegrown buttons.  Orange.  WIN.

See? Homemade sweater, homegrown buttons. Orange. WIN.

4.  Planting all of the flowers.  Well, not ALL of the flowers.  But lots of trays of the flowers, and 2 50-foot rows of the flowers, and there are still all of the flowers coming in the mail.  My lilies are dividing and conquering and growing tall, and my starts are starting and they’re coming.  It’s going to happen!  Be ready for all of the flowers!

"Goats, eating fire-starter".  Almost "Goats, on a fire."

“Goats, eating fire-starter”. Almost “Goats, on a fire.”

3.  No diggity by a campfire.  In harmony.  On an acoustic guitar.  That is all.

2.  Hiking in the mountains.  In the sunshine.  On Vancouver Island with a friend and in Canmore with my mom.  To lakes.  In the sunshine.

The rhubarb is growing!

The rhubarb is growing!

1.  Not working, and especially not commuting.  Do you know how much time I would have in my life if I didn’t spend 5 days a week going to work?  I could ACTUALLY plant all of the flowers.  The blackberries would be exiled to the fences.  The nettles to beyond the fences.  I would knit all of the sweaters and blankets and shawls and hats and socks.  I would hike all of the mountains.  I would drink all of the cocktails and sleep in for all of the mornings.  Until at least 7.  I would miss my job, as I do (a little) right now, especially after drinking all of the cocktails and buying all of the yarn for all of the sweaters.  I would miss my job, but one of the best things about having a job is the days you don’t have to go.

This carrot top was haunted.  Naturally.  As in we didn't carve that face.

This carrot top was haunted. Naturally. As in we didn’t carve that face.

The lack of fingernail dirt

I knew when I started my Masters that I would be giving some things up… namely the month of July and the joy of dirty fingers and toes, music festivals and late nights and lake swims and beach fires that month entails.  I knew that I would be living in Nanaimo for the month of July, completing two courses, and I knew it would be hard. Of course I knew that the schoolyear part of the year was going to be hard too.  Life already seemed full before I went back to school… being a farmer and a full-time teacher was a lot.  2 and a half hours of commuting every day takes a sizable chunk out of my waking hours… I was busy last year.  I remember being busy.  At least I think I remember being busy. This year I’m busy.  Like officially seriously busy.  Like I don’t write a blog anymore busy.  Like there has been a serious lack of dirt under my nails busy.  I don’t take many pictures either.  I don’t walk my dog enough and I certainly don’t do enough dishes… although I have done them twice in the past 10 days (and Jeremy didn’t even have to rewash them), so that must count for something, right?  I do still knit.  Every day.  I don’t know how busy I would have to get in order for that to stop.  I don’t actually know if it’s possible – I would probably just sleep less.  I think I already am sleeping less.  Hrm… Things are good.  I’m not going to tell you what things, or how good, but they are.  Spring break is coming up and Jeremy is planning a trip and I don’t have to and my dog is coming with us and that makes me happy.  I’ve (almost) finished 2 out of 5 chapters of my thesis, and that also makes me happy.  I just finished knitting an orange cardigan and it’s the prettiest thing and Jeremy’s going to make me alder wood buttons and, well… orange cardigan with handmade buttons?  And then there’s the flowers… my hyacinths are blooming and I think they have the prettiest smell in the universe, and my lilies are all poking their heads out of the ground, and so are all of these other plants that I remember planting but didn’t label (because I’m like that), and we have trays and trays of seeds in the windows (including 3 of flowers) and they’re all sprouting and my fingernails are still clean and I should probably go do something about that 2nd chapter that’s (almost) finished, because soon almost won’t be enough, but not before I give you some pictures. I’ll try to come back soon.

The things that are awesome and the things that aren’t

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s rained a lot over here on the west coast as of late.  We got over 300 mm of rain in 36 hoursMaple tree coming down last week, and another rain warning came in yesterday.  300 mm of rain is enough to make a big mess. Our neighbours’ driveway washed out, a bunch of trees came down because the ground was just too saturated with water, and the town of Courtenay declared a state of emergency.  Thank goodness we had just had the big maple that kept dropping branches on our driveway taken down, because I wonder whether it woThen the whole thing came downuld have fallen (on our house) in the storm.  I kept waiting for school to be cancelled, but it wasn’t.  Anyways, after all of that rain, a day of sunshine seemed like an incredible miracle.  That was today.  It was sunny.  It was miraculous.  We went for a walk.  In the sunshine.  With our friends.  Being on vacation is awesome.

The branches came off first

A very full pond

Things that aren’t awesome are dick roosters who attack people who are here visiting, and then attack me on the bottom of my foot so I step on them and then feel trapped with this angry rooster under my foot until Jeremy comes to save me.  I don’t know who won that fight.  I think most spectators would say that the rooster won, even though I was the one stepping on him.  When we’re eating him for dinner, maybe then I’ll have won.

Tree down on the fence

Another thing that isn’t awesome is a hawk eating our chickens.  After the dick rooster incident we found a pile of feathers.  Then we found a half-eaten chicken.  Damn.

Driveway disappeared

The seasonal ditch became a river

Other things that are awesome include everything.  Jeremy let me get the Christmas tree I wantedWet woods this year, and it’s so tall that, after we cut a foot off the bottom, it extends into our skylight.  It’s amazing.  Plus,          I have an amazing job, an amazing partner, an amazing dog (she did NOT eat this chicken.  This isn’t one of those “we think it’s a hawk but really it’s our dog” chicken deaths), an amazing family, amazing friends, and am just pretty darn lucky all the time.  And then the sun came out

Potatoes and corn

I didn’t disappear, I promise.  I was here, all along, just writing (and reading) other things… lesson plans, year plans, essays, literature reviews…  Summer vacation ended (and boy, when it decided to end it ended FAST) and I got busy.  Who knew that having a full-time job and a farm and doing my Master’s was going to be a lot of work?

Ink blot potato test

But I handed in my first significant assignment on Friday, and I have my week planned at school, and yesterday Head-sized potatoit rained so I knit and knit and started to warp my loom, and then today I got to play outside.  It was sunny (SUNNY!) and it’s still sunny and I dug potatoes and dug gladiolas and walked to my neighbours’ and I had coffee and got vitamin D from the sun instead of from a bottle.

Jer grew this amazing corn this year – it’s called Painted Mountain – and it’s a dried corn that’s supposed to be good for making cornmeal.  What it’s REALLY good for is being absolutely stunning.  Like STUNNING.  If I was corn, I would be this corn, and I would rotate through different colours every day of the week.

.I want to be them all

Imagine eating cornbread that looked like this.

Imagine eating cornbread that looked like this.

Corn.  Jer grew that.

Our cheepcheeps have grown into brawkbrawks and the one that I thought was a rooster turned out to be a…

rooster.  His name is Rosco.  The hens started laying eggs this week and they’re wee and I like them.  Soon we’re going to have more eggs than we know what to do with.  I’m going to end there, and post some pictures, and hopefully I’ll have something else to write about, that doesn’t involve quotations and references and weird verb tenses before 5 weeks from now.

Summer vacation in September

Many of my teacher friends have been somewhat all-consumed by the strike.  They post articles on Facebook and organize rallies.  They support each other in turns, for as one’s energy and optimism wanes, another’s peaks.  I’ve felt distant and removed from the whole situation, mostly by choice due to my job situation – I didn’t feel emotionally prepared to deal with teachers complaining about how they wanted to be back in their classrooms when I didn’t have a classroom to be back in.  So I, for better or worse, stayed on summer vacation.  To be honest, it was almost completely for the better.  I arranged flowers, spent innumerable hours canning, and read books.  I knit (of course I knit… probably less than I would have on the picket line though).  Certainly I read the articles about the strike that had been posted, and if I ever went to town anymore I would have gone to the rallies.  But I haven’t gone to town, so I didn’t go to the rallies.  I talked to people about the strike, and encouraged others to get involved.  I wrote letters to the Education Minister and to Christy Clark and to my MLA.  But I stayed home and hung out in my hammock and farmed.  I went to the beach.  I continued to spend time in the sun.  And I felt a little guilty, but not enough to do anything about it.  I think if the weather had been different, or if the farm wasn’t so awesome, or I didn’t have a million things to do to keep busy I would have been more present in the strike.  But it wasn’t.

Until Wednesday when I was offered a job, which made today the last day of my summer vacation.  As Jeremy said, I get to ease back into working life… I’ll be going to hang out on picket lines, but I won’t be doing it all of the hours of the day.  I’ll still be able to knit lots.  I’ll be hanging out in the sunshine (or the rain, but thank GOODNESS it’s not snowing here, like it was in Calgary or in Fort Nelson).  I am certainly grateful to have a job, but the end of summer break is always a bit of a heartbreaker too.  I don’t feel like I’m exuding as much excitement here as I should be… I wasn’t able to write this yesterday because I was so happy.  This morning, the first thing I said, while I was still half-asleep was “I got a job!”… so if you read this and think that I’m being indifferent, read it differently, or at least realize that’s not where it’s coming from.

My job, for those of you who care, is a 4/5 at Miracle Beach Elementary.  English classroom, not French (crazy!).  Yes, it will be a further commute, but it also gives me continuing status, and it’s a job which will pay for me to go to University.  Plus, the school is pretty much on the beach.  Tomorrow I go to meet some of the staff.  Maybe one day I’ll even get to meet my students.