Hello again, and welcome back to our blog!! This past Sunday marked our 1-month anniversary in Pond, and we are here to share a few of our most recent updates. From yoga to colouring pages to sushi, this past week has been a big one.
We started the week at Nasivvik High School by finishing our lessons on mental health and self-care with all the Junior High students. As we wrote in our last blog post, we talked about what “having a full-plate” means, and how we can be extra kind to ourselves during these busy and overwhelming times. With a school full of athletes, musicians, artists, scholars, and bakers, we all have a lot happening in our lives, and we don’t ever want our plates to be too heavy or too messy for us to carry. We are loving being able to share one thing that is on our plates, maybe something that stresses us out, and then thinking of a way that we can take time for ourselves to feel happy and calm through a self-care strategy. We are also taking the students’ advice and making a paper fork and knife to go with our plate in an effort to convince our classes that it is not a big blueberry.
With the Junior High students this past week we also continued our conversation on mental health by talking about stress and grief management. We learnt all about what stress does to our bodies as well as our emotions, how stress is not always unhealthy, what can cause stress in our everyday lives, and what we can do to help ourselves when we feel our most stressed. When we talked about grief, we focused on what grief is, how we all feel different when we are grieving, and what some healthy and unhealthy things are that we might do when we are struggling with these feelings. We understood that for a lot of different reasons, and for a lot of different students, this would be a heavy lesson, so we brought colouring pages for every class so that the students could colour while we taught. We were so impressed with how well everyone was able to focus, even the boys who loved the hockey colouring pages, although they were eager to tell us the puck was missing from the drawing.
We were also very excited to be able to start our long awaited sexual health unit this past week with our Junior High classes. We talked about safe sex and contraception and surprised all the classes with how there really are 10 steps to using a condom.
As always, we also spent a few of our afternoons at Ulaajuk Elementary School. With the two grade 6 classes we learnt about smoking, and how cigarettes can affect our bodies. We talked a lot about how we can keep those around us safe from second-hand smoke, what “eco-friendly” smoking means, how difficult it can be to stop smoking cigarettes, and how even if we are starting Junior High next year it does not mean that we need to also start smoking. As for the grade 4s, we taught a lesson all on mental health, stress, and sleep. We focused on how sometimes we might have big feelings that don’t go away, and who we can talk to if these feelings get too much for us to handle on our own, what stress is and how if we are ever worried about something we need to be extra kind to our SELF (Sleep, Exercise, Leisure (something fun!), and Food), as well as how sleep helps our bodies to feel good and how we need to be remembering to get enough of it, even if it’s light outside at all hours.
Our highlights from Music Club this week, aside from all the braids, painting, guitars, and Truth and Dare, was when Addie found a book in the school’s library ALL about Soulja Boy. And as we all can understand, this was huge for her. After we left the school, a few of the students wanted to bring us on a walk/hike through the snow to see the beautiful view, and on this walk, Hailey found a curling rock on the side of the road. Needless to say, we were both very excited to find the things that we love so much.
This past Sunday we were also able to attend the first ever community yoga! It was for women aged 13-30 and hosted in the gym at Nasivvik by one of the student’s mother, Angie, who is a certified yoga teacher! We bent and reached, breathed and stretched, and loved being able to get ready for our last full week in the classroom by taking time to be mindful and to surround ourselves with such positive energy. Angie is holding another yoga class this Sunday, open to everyone and anyone who is interested, and we are already so excited to try our shot again at a headstand! She is also hoping to have yoga classes for the students during the school day, beginning in the fall, which we think is such an awesome idea.
Last night afterschool we also hosted a Sushi Night! One of the teachers at Nasivvik had told us our first week here how he makes sushi at home, and we were so thankful that he let us borrow his bamboo matts, chopsticks, nigiri mold, and had enough nori to share with us. All of the students were so eager to make themselves sushi, and so so patient and careful.
We had lots of sticky rice, shrimp, salmon, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, avocados, ginger, wasabi, siracha mayonnaise, and everyone’s favourite- soya sauce! As always, we continue to be impressed by how well everyone knows the school’s kitchen, which is such a blessing to us, and we had so much fun being able to enjoy and share such a healthy snack (which at our rate quickly turned into a meal).
We continue to be so grateful for every day that we are able to spend in the classroom, both at Nasivvik and Ulaajuk, and to be able to form relationships with such enthusiastic students and passionate teachers (who invite us to make volcanoes erupt in science class!!).
With love from the North,
Hailey C and Addie B