Yes. I. Am. A. Bad. Blogger.
But it's not my fault! Really! It's the zombies that chase me around at night and steal all of my free time and sleeping hours :-) Blame the zombies! (in particular the lesson planning zombie too) There just isn't enough hours in the day (but I am working on fixing this)!
So, I guess, now, while I wait for my coffee to finish dripping is the time for an update.
Let's see ... well, i've been here in the Yukon now for just over a month. Yes, one month down - hard to believe eh? Seems a little strange - yet it feels like much longer at the same time. My class is pretty good, although, they do test me at times - but I"m not letting them win the battle of the wits. It's either follow my classroom rules (which are pretty basic here) and follow the school rules or see-ya later! For the most part, the class gets it, but there are a couple that are still playing the "let's see how far we can push her over the edge game". All in a days work eh?
Hmm... what else.... oh, my truck. The truck is doing just fine. I'll be taking it into Whitehorse soon to get winterized (as in the first oil change and check over and to get my winter tires put on) only wish I could do it all in the same trip - but that's also life in the North. As when the only places that do maintenance on vehicles are located in Whitehorse (ok - yes I know there are other places in communities where I can get basic work done ... but all of my oil changes and maintenance (minus tire changes) have to go through my dealership if I want to keep my warranty - pain in the butt if you ask me, but that's the price you gotta pay if you want your vehicle to stay in tip-top shape (which you do way out here).
hmmm.... let's see... ahh - the satellite. Yes, I am still without my satellite. I only noticed yesterday as I was getting ready to mount it on the post (I'm trying the 8-foot post method first before I beg someone to watch me fall off my roof) that there weren't any mounting screws in the box that Bell gave me. I have all of the hardware needed to put the dishes together ... just nothing to stick them to the house / pole. Sigh. Good thing I'm heading in to Whitehorse this weekend - another thing to be added to my growing list of needs.
Whitehorse .. oh Whitehorse ... it was rather tricky to get a room in Whitehorse this time around as apparently there is this huge learning disabilities conference going on - so practically every hotel is booked (at least those that I've stayed at so far), so I'm staying at a different hotel this time ... gotta give them all at least one chance to impress me. Fortunately for me, I have my next two stays already pre-booked so they can't get rid of me.
So.... readers ... I will make a better effort to keep you all in the loop ... as soon as I get my act in gear :-)
Wheew! What a first week of school. It was busy. Between wrapping my mind around curriculum, hunting down books and getting to know the kids, I am exhausted! This last week had it's ups and downs like any other classroom would - but in all, I do have a good bunch of kids.
This past weekend I loaded up my truck and ran away to Whitehorse for a grocery trip ... I think I'll be back there in three weeks for more - cause even thought I had a list and I thought I bought everything I needed ... I was wrong. Oh well, that's life. And there are always people heading into the city too, so I could always beg them to pick up my forgotten items.
The trip up and back was pretty uneventful. Weather was pretty good, and the critters were well behaved staying in the woods and not on the roads. And it is definitely fall here in Yukon. The trees have begun to turn golden yellow and orange, and the temperatures are dipping down near zero at night now. But it sure is pretty to drive through.
And of course, on my way back to Ross River, I couldn't stop without getting a cinnamon bun. Last time I headed out, I got my cinnamon bun at the lil bakery in Braeburn .. this time though, I remembered my mom saying that I had to stop at Mom's Bakery to get a sourdough cinnamon bun. Yummy! It was very good just as it was, but even better once I got it home, and smothered it in butter and then grilled (fried?) it in a frying pan.
So, what do I have to get on my next trip into the city? More cinnamon buns and the rest of the ingredients I need to make my own sourdough cinnamon buns :-)
Just a quick note (as I am literally falling asleep on my computer (and it's only 10:00pm as I type this) ..
Day one of school went off without a hitch. I (so far) have a super group of grade 5/6 students ... although, I think I might have also entered the twilight zone too as they asked to do math today. Yes, you read right. They ASKED to do math rather than do some basic get to know you activities / writing. So... off I went and did an impromptu math class.
Students, I don't think I will ever understand them ... yet I was one not so long ago ... hmmm....
Well, off to sleep as tomorrow is a full day ... lucky for me, I have tomorrow and most of Thursday already planned (yeah!) ... now if only I could get my schedule to work properly ... have to stuff one more math class in there somehow, yet I don't seem to have a spare slot for it ... oh well, back to the drawing board. Night all!
Only in the Yukon do we have these amazing sights to see as we drive .. along our very well kept dirt highways (yes, you read this right ... dirt highways - tis how we roll in the North), although the main highways are 'paved' ... and the one I drive on (The Campbell Highway is partially paved, although the dirt sections are much better than the paved sections).
6:30 PM By Kennie
So yes, I am aware that the blog has been quiet lately ... and with good reason! I’ve been busy getting ready for the new school year! And do I ever have a lot of work to do! Between getting a classroom ready, hunting down text books (or at least one copy for me), unpacking all of the resources that I shipped off to myself from Nunavut and reading my curriculums it’s been one busy week!. And I don’t have much time left either to finish getting ready, but I at least have things ready for Tuesday when my students arrive and soon will also have things ready for the rest of the week ... as soon as I figure out what I am teaching between my two curriculums (which, by the looks of it will be mainly grade 5 as the majority of my class are grade 5 students - I only have two grade 6 students!).
So here ya go, a glimpse at my classroom before students arrive.....
Text Book Corner
Classroom Novels and all of my Teaching Resources
Filing Cabinet, Fridge, Sink
My Corner of Chaos
The Classroom Door
This afternoon I was invited out on a hike through the woods / hiking trails out around Ross River (across the river) with Brian and Ann (fellow teachers at the school). It was a good hiking day - a nice breeze and cool temperatures, the only thing that was missing was the sun.
For more photos from today head here.
Ahh ... sleeping in in the morning, how nice it is! Although soon I won't be able to do that any more on a weekday (booo!).
This morning I just puttered around the house, continued to unpack and put together the bed rails / frame. The instructions that were included with them sucked (yeah, Sears, if you are reading this, the instructions sucked). But, I did manage to eventually put it together. I guess tonight will determine if I did put it together properly or not.
This afternoon I went into the school to check things out. I got a great tour of the school and am slowly remembering where everything is. I do however, know where the office, my classroom, the gym, library and the Mac lab are located - in all , the rooms that I really need to know about :-).
And then I puttered around my classroom for a bit, downloaded my curriculum documents, puttered in my class again and then called it a day. I do have a feeling I will be in there all next week getting things set up and organized.
Sigh... I guess summer vacation is now over :-(
12:19 PM By Kennie
Today was officially day 1 in Ross River.
And what a long day it has been so far.
This morning I traveled on back over to Faro to meet with the housing manager to sign my lease for my unit and to get other paper work under way (fuel, power, insurance....). After meeting with the housing manager, I headed on back over to Kara and Matt’s (you can’t get rid of me that easily!) to pick up some forgotten items and to have one last yummy lunch :-).
The drive in and out of Ross isn’t too bad .. there are patches on the road that are a little, dare I say, entertaining to drive through (deep rivets and pits due to rain) and well, the truck will go where the truck wants to go. Driving up here in the North is definitely making me remember a lot of rules from drivers ed (as in turn into the swerve, not away). I hope that after this year of driving on dirt /gravel roads all of the time I”ll remember how to drive paved roads when I hit the south again!
The rest of today was spent mostly unpacking my boxes (or opening them to see what is in them) and then finding what is desperately needed and what I don’t quite need right away (ie: parka). I can’t believe the amount of stuff that I actually have here with me. Some of it I don’t even remember putting into storage two years ago.. and of course, there is always some stuff that I wish I would have left back down south with the parental units (for safe keeping more than anything - ie: my special glassware). But, oh well. It might come in handy for something someday.
I checked out the two grocery stores here in town today ... Clare, you are right. I do miss the Northern. But, between the two of them, I should be able to scrape up enough basics until I am able to make it back out to Carmacks / Whitehorse for a proper stock up. And the rest of the day has been unpacking and organizing. The living room area is starting to look a little less cluttered ... but my bedroom is looking more like a tornado hit it every minute. A little bit at a time I guess. It will all eventually get put away (I’ll try not to send anything back home to you mom!).
Tomorrow, hopefully my modem will have arrived at the post office (crossing fingers) so I can get back online to publish these last couple of posts. Oh, how living with the internet is painful ... I don’t know how much longer I will be able to take it.....
Well, I’ve finally made it to Ross River.
The last couple of days (almost a week!) were great over at Matt and Kara’s. Thank-you Thank-you Thank-you for welcoming me into your home and ‘adopting’ me. Hope my disappearance didn’t cause too much chaos for you tonight with the rug-rat. Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon enough :-)
The drive out to Ross River was amazing. The scenery was breath taking - if I would have been more prepared, I would have just mounted my camera to take pictures on intervals, but .. I didn’t think of that until much much later.
I’ve made it to my house. It’s not that shabby of a place .. much better than I thought it was going to be. The only issue that we currently have with the house is the huge bee/wasp nest on the side of the house. But, housing is supposed to be coming over to deal with that soon.
My movers also arrived here tonight as well. I have boxes all over the place currently. Good thing I still have two weeks before school starts .. and at least a week before my housemates stuff arrives here in Ross. Hopefully by then it will all be sorted away .. or at least put away somewheres until I need something.
** note, this was posted after the fact as I just got internet today.
This morning I ventured down to the Motor Vehicle Office / Liquor Store (as they are both in the same building - and as a side note, in the Yukon, especially in the smaller communities, the DMV and Liquor store are in the same building as both are government run - so not only can I get my license there, I can also stock up on brewski at the same time).
To say the least, I will definitely miss my Nunavut license. That thing was quite classy, even if it was only a laminated piece of cardboard. But at least it looked legit and had security features (plus, when explaining it to the RCMP/Police/Liquor Store, they actually did believe that it was legit).
Now, my Yukon drivers license? I could make it on my computer [and because of this, I am not posting up a photo of it - seriously, it could be QED]. I am not entirely sure how it will be perceived as my primary ID when I get on a plane (I did get some strange looks with my Nunavut one), or how it will be perceived by our southern RCMP/Cops/Highway Patrol/State Troupers. I guess, I will just have to see how that goes when I wind up having to present it to them. Good thing I also always travel with my Passport ... hopefully that will keep me out of too much trouble :-)
Ahhh fresh, organic, garden grown, just picked this morning veggies ... and they are all mine ... mine! (plus, I supported a good cause in getting them .. the Faro Search and Rescue, as I imagine at some point while I am up here, I will be in need of their services).
Just a quick note to let you all know that I made it to Faro in one piece (without getting lost) and am crashing at Kara and Matt's for the weekend before heading to Ross.
Today was filled with crazy shopping (satellite, mattress and enough food for at least three weeks - minus fresh veggies .. gotta figure that one out now) then filled with crazy driving cross country. The scenery was amazing - I only with the sun would have come out for a bit so the Yukon could really show off it's beauty. Fall, I think, is also just around the corner as many of the trees (well, the leaves) that I passed along the way were starting to turn yellow and the temperature has taken a nice dip downwards compared to previous weeks.
I do have photos, and will be posting them as I can over the next couple of days (I don't want to use up all of Kara's bandwidth :-) ).
So.. these will have to do for now:
Today orientation brought us out to Brooks Brook (about 30 minutes outside of Teslin) and to Teslin. Today focused a lot on making connections: connections to the land, to our heritage/culture, to education and to each other.
We first began by creating a large circle in the tent field where we were welcomed by the Teslin Tlingit Council/Representatives to the area followed by a prayer said by an elder in Tlingit (the language of the Tlinkit), followed by a very moving (and poignant) song sung by one of our teachers about the loss of her people's culture and what would elders think of it. It was quite a moving song, and did bring home the message of how today's First Nations peoples are struggling to find their way between the modern world and the traditional ways of their peoples.
After, we introduced ourselves to each other. It was quite amazing to see how many new teachers were there that are from out East. We had ourselves a little kitchen (well campfire) party at lunch and swapped stories.
We then broke off into round table meetings where we discussed the link between education and First Nations and how everything fits together.
In the afternoon, after our first session, we had a "free choice" of what activity we would like to do. We had the choice of canoeing, learning about medicinal plants, traditional music, hand games, a philosophical hike thought he woods or a trip into Teslin to view the town and heritage center. I chose to head on down to Teslin/Heritage center as this might be the only time that I might get there, unless I decide to drive into BC.
Those of us who went to Teslin/Heritage Center were escorted by Chief Peter Johnston (of the Teslin Tlingit), who provided us with a vast amount of information about the history of the Teslin Reserve (now called a settlement site) and the town of Teslin itself. While at the Teslin Heritage Center, the structure of the totem poles was explained to us.
Each of the totems represent elements of land, water and air. On the outside are a raven (Kukhhittan) and eagle (Dakhl'awedi) that represent the air element. The two middle totems, frog (Ishkitan) and beaver (Deshitan) represent the water element. The center totem, wolf (Yanyedi) represents the land element. And because the Teslin Tlinkit are an inland peoples, the totems all point inland. edit: also as Michael has pointed out to me, each of these also represent the five clans within the Teslin Tlingit.
After our visit to Teslin/Heritage center we returned to Brooks Brook for a delicious homemade supper of Turkey, veggies, salad and other fixins all made by some really great volunteers. The food was amazing!
After we all ate and cleaned up, it was time to get heading back to town ..... at least that is how we all felt as we were starting to fall into sleepy time (being up and at the Board office for 6:45am is tough).
It was a great day out learning about First Nations Education and the history of Education and First Nations as well as learning more about the Tlinkit people.
Since I currently have no personal transportation here in Whitehorse (I am picking up my truck on Thursday). my options for transportation are a) walking b) taxi c) hitch-hiking or d) bus. Well ... walking would have been nice, but it's a 6km walk and I didn't feel like walking through Whitehorse starting at 6:30 am to make it to a 8:00 am meeting. Taxi .. yeah, I kinda want to keep my money - well as much of it as I can. Hitch-hiking, don't really think my mother would approve. Bus. Oh the bus. Yes public transportation. We all know my experiences using the bus this summer in Fredericton (well, at least those of you who follow me on twitter / facebook).
So, yes, i dared this morning. I took the bus. But first, I had to find the bus stop. I had a general idea of where I had to go, so I just walked through downtown before heading out to the transfer location. And on my journey through the downtown to my bank as I needed some cash I found the most wonderful place in the world!
I almost didn't even see it as I was concentrating too hard on finding the bank building. But, just out of the corner of my eye, I saw that familiar green circle and that nice looking lady in the middle
Yes, Starbucks. Hallelujah! Grande Hazelnut Latte here I come!
Happy and caffeinated, I continued my walk downtown towards the bus stop. I found it. However, I had no idea what side of the street I should be on. Now, I did have a map of the city and the bus route map .. but my mapping skills are not all that great. Thankfully, there was a huge bus schedule billboard there that told me if I wanted to go on these routes you should be on the side of the road with the Canadian Tire (well, the old Canadian Tire building).
The bus driver was very nice too and confirmed that I was indeed on the right bus ... I however had no idea what stop I should stop at, but he said not to worry and that he would just stop at the one I needed (Yeah!). And yes, i did make it to my location for the day.