It's hard to believe that I have been teaching for nearly seven weeks. I should really clarify, I don't teach so much as facilitate learning, mark, and build relationships with my students. In many ways I feel as though I am being paid to learn. Being a teacher in the alternative school system, in a culture different from my own, has proved very rewarding. I have been fortunate to attend two camping trips with my students, for which I am truly grateful. Elders, singers, drummers, corn soup (!!), canoeing, swimming, campfires, medicine walks, and great conversations are just some of the many highlights of these trips. The end of this full-time teaching term will be a sad one. I could write a novel about all of the stories and learning that has happened.
Just hours after my last day at the school I will be on a plane to Thunder Bay. I'm stopping there first to reconnect with old friends from teachers' college. The church I attended while at Lakehead U called Grassroots, is also giving me some time to share with the congregation about Agidasin Initiatives. There is a partnership in the works between Grassroots and AI, which excites me very much. Pastor Chris and his wife Shawnee will be driving me to Kenora from Tbay, so they can meet Austin and Rachel, the couple who run AI. I certainly don't mind driving with Chris & Shawnee for the five hour trip, not to mention it means I won't have to take the bus!
Orientation will just be getting underway when I arrive to Kenora on the 20th. By June 26th we will be moving to our respective communities. I cannot wait to meet the team and especially the people we will be serving and working for!
Like I said before, I have been learning so much through my job with the Aboriginal Alternative High School. To call it a blessing doesn't even begin to describe it. What's more, the way everything is coming together, the support coming in, the connections being made - it all blows my mind. Words won't do justice so I'll stop the rambling.
One last thing before I go: this weekend is the National Forgiven Summit, an Aboriginal conference about forgiving the wounds of the past in order to move forward in grace and love (at least, I think that's what it's about? see i4give.ca for proper info). How incredibly timely and relevant, just days before I head out to the reserve. I hope to learn more about people's experiences with the injustices and what some Aboriginal people are doing to deal with such hurts in a positive way.