Hannah's Adventure Begins
So my mother, and everyone else has been on me to write a blog about my upcoming move to Tuktoyaktuk NWT. I was like, I'll just facebook and Instagram, but then I was like... fine, I don't want all the family on my facebook, so I'll just piggyback on my mom's blog.
This whole story starts long long ago. I can't 100% remember how I stumbled upon an article about the community greenhouse in Inuvik or something. According to google, the first time I searched Inuvik was June 2013. So probably around then. (myactivity.google.com is a terrifying wonderful tool)
I read as much as I could and fell in love with the spirit of the North. As I read about the greenhouses and the Hay River Northern Farm Training Institute, how these people who are neglected and forgotten about by the rest of Canada are tired and done with waiting for government support and are doing things for themselves, partnering with private business and corporations like Hellmanns. How they honour their culture and traditions in a way not really possible in the rest of Canada. (Inuit weren't subjugated under the Indian act until the 1930s, and even after that it was hard to enforce in the northern remote arctic) I apparently (according to google) looked at moving there pretty much immediately. When I realized I was supposed to be a teacher (called my mother and said WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE TELL ME PLEASE) I knew I wanted to teach up there. I went to the University of Alberta and fast tracked my degree. I just graduated. I figured no one but me would be willing to move to the Arctic in January. (I was right) I saw a job posting for a Kindergarten teacher in Tuktoyaktuk starting January 3rd and I was like, Karma and hard work are paying off so hard right now. It was my ideal job and location. And then a month later I interviewed and got it.
When people ask me, why the hell I'm moving to the North Pole, I break it down into 4 "C's". Curriculum, Community, Culture and Cash.
The Kindergarten curriculum of the NWT is holistic and amazing. Every time I read it, I feel like it's the Reynolds Pamphlet and I should break into song like, "HAVE YOU READ THIS?!" (I greatly enjoy Hamilton) When I first read it, I was like, well there's my educational philosophy sorted. I'll just copy this and be like, yup, this is what I believe and am passionate about! It's holistic and cultural and follows how children learn through play and inquiry and are developing their independence and identity. Literacy and Numeracy are important and much of it is localized where possible.
My big thing is localization of materials and resources. I think teaching kids general information as citizens of the world does them a disservice. I'm really passionate about community involvement and I think that especially in small communities, all people should feel like they have a stake in their community. That they matter in their community and that it is a living organism that can change and adapt to their needs if they're willing to participate. I think that knowing where you come from and where you are is so important. As someone who's lived in small towns and big cities, I know that no matter where you live, people complain that there's nothing to do. These people don't feel any sense of belonging to their community. In Edmonton, everyone seems like they're just in Edmonton until something better comes along. In Vancouver, they think they're the best, but they all want to move to Toronto. And in small towns, all the youth regurgitate what they hear on TV about moving to the big city and making something of themselves.
I LOVE small towns. Cities have their charms, and they have malls to shop at and good hospitals, but I'm someone who loves when I get to chat in the grocery store, when kids wave at me from the window of their dads trucks or I get a surprise hug in a Walmart from a former student.
When I was little, growing up in Golden, I remember reading comics in the grocery store while my mom talked to EVERYONE. It was super annoying when you're a kid. As an adult, when that happens to me, I love it. When I was little I could walk around Golden and knew everyone and what was going on. In Drayton Valley, I know a decent amount of people and when I worked at the Library, I felt connected to my community. I was involved, I started a program where children read to the elderly, the infirm and to shelter animals, I had the town planner show them the plans for the future of the town and had the kids give her their hopes and dreams for the town. (It was mostly for a Wendy's. 2 years later, we're getting a Wendy's, so civic participation works!)
In Tuk, I want to get involved with the community as much as I can. During my interview for the job, they said this was expected of all the teachers. So we'll see what this means. I'm really passionate about food security (living in a food desert in the US got me learning and passionate) so I hope to get involved with the group fundraising for a community greenhouse. I want to try and learn Inuvialuktun, I've learned the basics of Gwich'in, and hopefully the pronunciation tricks carry over! I want to eat country foods and go hunting. I want a picture of me with an adorable animal and then of me eating and wearing it. I'm so excited to be rid of Edmonton University hipsters. My friends describe my Garneau enemy as a Vegan with a man-bun cycling on the sidewalk and vaping bubblegum juice. If I ever encounter one of these types in the North I will be furious...
I leave on Wednesday. The moving van comes tomorrow. Mom is the master packer to an insane degree. I fly from Edmonton to Yellowknife to Norman Wells to Inuvik and then take a cab on the Ice Road to Tuktoyaktuk, where a volunteer from the Anglican Church will show me to my new home (The former rectory). I'm bringing 2 suitcases, a cooler and 3 buckets of stuff on the plane. The rest of my stuff in the moving truck won't arrive for a month. The ice road needs to harden...
This is the last winter of the Ice Road, before the all season road is finished. I can't wait to see the transformation of Tuk as it's opened up to the world. It's the furthest north mainland community in Canada, tourism is going to increase.
I start teaching Kindergarten on the 3rd. I'm SO EXCITED. Everyone keeps saying, "It's going to be an adventure, you're going to change lives." Pfft, my blog's going to turn into what I'm watching on netflix far too soon. I'll try to put pictures up. Oh and changing lives? I'm not going up to be all white saviour bullshit. My life will probably be changed, but that's how life works, everything changes your life somehow. I'm going up for the curriculum, the community and the culture. (And the cash is a nice benefit) Oh and the climate. NO MORE HOT WEATHER!!!! YAY.