So Justin Trudeau arrived in our region yesterday to beat the political war drum. I had planned to write a bit on it and was actually in the process of doing up a post when his majesty was upstaged as a result of a Facebook conversation I had, not with le bebe but with a former student of mine from Nunavut. I won't mention names here but can say that her kind words were heart-warming and inspiring and provided a welcome end to a long work day.
As a bit of background, I taught in a couple different Nunavut communities from 2003 to 2009, spending 2 years in Qikiqtarjuaq (formerly Broughton Island) and 4 years in Arctic Bay. I actually didn't have this student in my class very long as she had moved to where I was working for part of a school year before returning to her home community. As things turned out, I had flown through her community a couple of times and got to know some of the students there through some sports tournaments in Iqaluit I attended as a coach. Frankly, I think it was only one (perhaps two) courses that I had her for so I didn't think I had really made that much of an impression.
Anyhow, as a way of showing how you can really have an impact on a person without knowing and also as a way of showing that teenagers really do listen (oftentimes more than we give them credit for) I've included a truncated version of our conversation below...minus some bad spelling and parts I'd rather just keep private. I'll call her Marie.
Marie - How the heck are you?
Me - Not too bad. You?
Marie - I'm great. If it wasn't for me taking social studies in Arctic Bay I would never have went into NTEP [here she refers to the Nunavut Teacher Education Program run through Nunavut Arctic College]. I suck at social studies, but you can teach!
Me - Thanks :)
Marie - Take it as a compliment. You're welcome.
Me - I saw you had done NTEP and were now back in [her home community]. That's awesome. I really do appreciate that, Marie.
I then went on to mention about how I felt it was important for Nunavut to have local teachers in leadership positions and that she would do well to which she responded that having a mix of teachers from Nunavut and other parts of the country was a positive thing as well.
So there you have it. I suppose we can all get hung up in image and people who just do a lot of talk. I like to focus on the young people that actually get out and DO. In my humble opinion, they do the greatest amount of good...and make the biggest difference.