(Shout out to the Mish PEs for their catchy titles)
Wow where did all of the time go? We’ve been in Pond now for just over 4 weeks but it definitely has not felt that long. This past week was quite different than our past few weeks. The school began a special 3-day period called the Career and Technology Studies (CTS) Unit for the Junior High grades. From what we know about it, the junior high students are given the opportunity to attend special workshops covering a variety of topics (everything from healthy living to movie making).
The workshops are run by their teachers and are a way to provide the students with academic credit while engaging them in unconventional and entertaining lessons. So from Wednesday until Friday, the school was filled with energy as kids were doing military-style teambuilding games, cooking healthy stir-fry dishes, and making tie-dye shirts. Spirits were high and we were more than happy to help where we could and participate in the fun activities…yea we didn’t really help all that much, we just played.
One thing that we did do to help with the CTS sessions was run a stress relief module for the healthy living unit. We talked a lot about the common causes of our stress, as well as healthy ways we could remove those from our lives. We also talked about living a balanced life considering our physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health – also known as the Wellness Wheel (Check it out if you have time! It’s a nice personal exercise.) When we all reflected on our own Wellness Wheels and thought about the people that we lean on during tough times, there were some emotional moments, which really reminded us to recognize and appreciate those pillars of support in our own life. Our mini-lesson ended with a 40-minute yoga class led by Yolanda (some woman from our Yoga video). The kids really liked it! Even though some of the poses were tough (for the students AND us), everyone gave it a shot, which was great. The incredibly difficult time getting up after Yolanda’s yoga lesson was the true sign that we had relieved a lot of our stress. Jon’s favourite pose – the corpse pose closely followed by the one lying on our side in the fetal position. For those of you who aren’t familiar with yoga poses, the corpse pose is just laying on the floor on your back – lazy. Besides the fact that we were learning about stress, one of the best things about teaching this module had to be our invitation to eat all of the delicious things that were made each day in the healthy living unit – chicken stir fry and salads! Yum! Thanks go out to Ina and the students in her healthy living unit for the delicious meals.
Before the CTS units (Monday and Tuesday), we had our last lessons – post-secondary education opportunities and leadership. One of the biggest challenges that students in Nunavut face when thinking about post-secondary education is the adjustment to living on their own and in, potentially, a very different place. Families in Pond Inlet are typically quite large and may live in a single modest housing unit. You can imagine that moving from a community of 2000 where you lived with your family to a city of more than a million on your own can be very difficult. Many students from the south have trouble moving away from home for college or university – imagine the added shock of being totally removed from your friends, family, and your culture. Our goal was to raise awareness about the opportunities that Inuit students have in post-secondary education. We also wanted to demystify some of the fears and myths about going to school in the south and tell the students at Nasivvik about programs available that help to bridge the gap between high school and post-secondary education (such as Nunavut Sivuniksavut http://www.nstraining.ca/ and the “College Foundations Program” at the Arctic College http://www.arcticcollege.ca/en/education-programs/item/4915-college-foundations). It was inspiring to see the interest and intent that many of the students had to attend post-secondary education. Many of the students mentioned a particular interest in going to Nunavut Sivuniksavut!
Well we’re now into the home stretch. It’s remarkable that we are already into our last week in our amazing journey. Everyday we continue to be inspired and learn from the people in this wonderful place. Thanks for following along and we’ll be sure to post soon with updates on some of the exciting events to come: the end of year school assembly and HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION – Get pumped!
Jon and Lindsay – Out