Well we have officially completed two full weeks of teaching at Nasivvik High school, and this week was definitely a full one! To complement our lessons on physical health last week, this week’s focus was more mental health related, and then finished up with some introductions to substance abuse. We started off the week heading to the Health Center early Monday morning before school. We were able to meet with a community health outreach worker, Apphia, who gave us really useful info about health issues in Pond, AND free rein to the closet of health-related teaching goodies (like a candy store for us, but better because there were no processed sugars in sight-helloooooo dental hygiene!).
Monday’s lessons focused on bullying, an issue, we found as the week went on, which is very present and pressing at Nasivvik and Ulaajuk. After school we ran sports club, and worked up a sweat playing basketball. Lay-up Liz (as she can now be referred to) came close to beating the whole boys Bball team in a game of 3-point bump (PRO). Rebound Reba’s height advantage made up for the fact that she was foolishly wearing non-stretch jeans (poor clothing choice for fast-paced basketball). After basket-ball Reba and Liz hung around for Monday Hip-hop, but there was lackluster turnout due to the senior high land trip, so it kind-of turned into art club (Reba was really relieved).
Tuesday was respect, teamwork and cooperation day, and after a shorter than usual lesson we split up classes into teams for structure-building contests… 7 pieces of paper and 10 pieces of tape/ per team resulted in the winning structure of the day by the grade 9 class that could hold 23 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) large books- The New Canadian Encyclopedia volumes to be exact. It was a great day of teaching, maybe our best so far. The whole class really got involved in the activity, and seemed to take away a lot from the lesson. After school it was more basketball, aka more of Liz and Reba reliving their high school glory days.
Wednesday was self-esteem day for teaching, and it we felt it went even better than Tuesday, even though we found it to be a harder lesson to make. It is a seriously important issue up here, especially as bullying is very obvious and everywhere in the school. We had some good goal setting sessions, and played class-wide “guess my future career” type games. In the girls-only grade 7 and 8 classes, we continued to focus more on bullying and self-esteem. We did some great activities to show the effects of bullying and by standing on girls self-esteem, and the girls were definitely all listening (RARE!), so we were pretty stoked with that, and with the comments and questions we got from them after. Our Wednesday after-school art club was a hit this week, with lots of drawing and painting, and sneaky photography. FUN!!!!
Wednesday, we found out that due to new school schedules and end of the year events at Nasivvik, we actually have very few days left for teaching! So, after Wednesdays successful end to Mental Health, we moved on to an intro to Substance Abuse. We learned that students here are pretty knowledgeable about the effects of many substances, such as tobacco, but that this does not stop many of them from participating in substance abuse. This topic will carry over to our third week, and we are definitely going to make it as interesting as possible, to try and get some messages to sink in.
Thursday, we also got to go to the Arctic college in the morning. There was an environmental biology course finishing up this week, and we were asked to come in and give a lesson on the currently known effects of mercury on human health! Such a cool way to spend our morning- the class had just gotten back last week from sampling seals in the Pond Inlet area, and are sending the samples off to Environment Canada soon to test for mercury levels. The class and instructors were all so knowledgeable and into the topic so it was very much a dialogue instead of a formal lesson- SO GREAT!!
Very sadly, there was a death of a student in the community on Friday morning, so we didn’t really teach that day, just hung out in some of the classes with the students. It was very powerful to see the effect of a death on the entire close- knit community of Pond.
That night Liz got seriously studious to finish (err and start) her assignment in a correspondence course she is taking (she is super-woman). She stayed cozy with her new seal fur and raccoon slippers that Rhoda made for here- so lovely! Reba headed over to Rhoda’s house to work on some sewing, and even started making (with a whole lotta help) the pattern and under-layer of her own parka!
Saturday- GIRLS NIGHT (in the afternoon)!!!! Liz and Reba got busy setting up for the girls get together on Saturday morning. The girls arrived at two and the afternoon flew on from there! It was filled with making cupcakes, homemade (and pretty healthy!) pizza, fruit and veggie snacks (on sale at the Co-op- SCORE!), beading, friendship bracelets, water balloons, nail polish, card-playing and chatting! It finished off with a movie on the ‘big-screen’ in the gym. SO MUCH FUN, SO MUCH (HEALTHY) FOOD CONSUMED, SPARKLES AND BEADS EVERYWHERE!!
For the rest of the long weekend we have been doing lesson planning, going for some long walks in the BEAUTIFUL Pond area, organizing for the next 2 1/2 week of teaching (sexual health education countdown- ONE WEEK! woooo!!)
Liz, Reba, and our Mamma for the moment, Juana- Enjoying some sunshine on the sea-ice!!
Sorry for the longest post ever,
COUNTDOWN FOR Discovery SHARKWEEK IS ON (LIZ)! Only 71 days, 8 hours, 6 minutes and 54 seconds …..53….52…
Peace out from the Pondlets