Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day One Hundred Sixty Nine: Elementary School Dash

The phone rings at the front of my classroom. "Mommy. Are you going to be able to make it?" Arwen's voice is gentle with no demand, only desire.

"Oh, I'm glad you called," I say, "How long does your display go on?"

"Here, I'll let you talk to Mrs. Gehl."

I get the times and Arwen's teacher, who is also my friend, adds, "Somebody sure has been watching the door."

I make arrangements with the office and I dash across the school yard, maybe thirty yards, to the elementary school. I don't wear a jacket. It's sunny. I'm lucky the nearest doorway at the front is just opening, and there is another friend of mine, Annelies. She's all smiles and introduces me to Lynn, a woman who is all the way from British Columbia, and she's a writer, a photographer, an artist, and a broadcaster, or this is what I can gather in our hasty bonding and Annelies is telling Lynn about my Treaty Walks, and we exchange emails and Lynn snaps a picture of the three of us, and I say, "well met" as I rush into the elementary school, and Lynn calls over my shoulder, "well met".

I walk into the classroom, fully a-buzz with students and parents, checking out the social studies projects. I'm almost out of time already, and I don't see Arwen. Roberta, the teacher, calls Arwen and she pops over to me, but I am getting a hug from Katelyn. "I'll have to come back in about fifteen minutes. I'll bring my students so we can stay longer, and then I'll bring my camera, too," I tell Arwen.

I return to the elementary school with my only student who has shown up for my very small third period class. I've left a note on the door, and checked out with the office.

Now I have time to read Arwen and Talisa's display on Women's Regalia in pow wow dancing. There are also some words in English and Cree at the bottom of the display. Arwen is standing on the English side and Talisa on the Cree side. Talisa tells me how to say some of the words. Arwen encourages me to move around to the other displays and visit with her classmates. I snap pictures: Bob Boyer, Sacred Four, Buffalo Supermarket. Buffy Saint Marie is singing through the smart board, accompanied by two girls who taped themselves singing along with her.

I catch myself patting myself on the back that we are educating our children in Community Schools, elementary and high school, where every day they are walking hand-in-hand, newcomer and First Nations, building essential relationships for the Saskatchewan of tomorrow. I am thankful for the teachers and educational assistants who love and mentor all our children. I am thankful for the administration, the school counsellor, the community school coordinator, the student services team, the elders, our nutrition worker, our resource officer, the volunteers, the parents. I'm thankful for student leadership and student initiative and student dreams. I'm thankful for inter-agency cooperation. I'm thankful for the daycare and the little people out for a walk in our hallways. I will slow my dash down to a walk, or maybe even a meander, as I take in the richness our community schools offer.

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