Adventures of the Gillam Cohort Part 5
Gillam Cohort, Post #5
December 9, 2012
Dave Gets Into the Spirit of the Holidays
The Christmas spirit is here in Gillam. Even the Grinch made an appearance, as well as Santa. On the day of the Santa Parade, I helped out with the Grade 12 class preparing hotdogs, coffee, hot chocolate, and the kids’ crafts table for the community gathering in the recreation centre after the parade.
After the parade, members of the community piled into the recreation centre to warm themselves, visit with friends and family, as well as line up to sit on Santa’s knee. The place was packed! The kids’ craft table was a huge hit. People lined up along the length of the gym to visit Santa. These events drive and illustrate community spirit in small towns. Community spirit is certainly high in Gillam.
The school is preparing for the end of the semester. The timetable here is different than most schools because of the new semester system they have implemented. The first semester runs from September until Christmas break. High school students have three core courses per day. In January, the second semester contains elective courses that run all day for 20 days. In other words, students attend one course all day for 20 days. However, if students did not pass a core course, they attend credit recovery for 20 days, under certain conditions in an effort to complete enough outcomes to obtain the credit. At the end of January, the third semester resumes where the first semester left off, with three core courses per day for high school students. Finally, June mirrors January with 20 days of one course. This system was brought about to increase course completion rates. There are challenges and advantages to this system. Since this is the first year of the new schedule, the results will be interesting.
In many ways, Gillam is a northern wilderness community merging between the ways of the future and the ways of the past.
~ Dave Overgaard
Freezing Gillam Warms Lynne-Marie’s Heart
Hard to believe we have started our last week in Gillam! Thanks to Dave, our house is lit up for Christmas!
There has been so much going on up here and we all have our fingers in different pies. I have been spending time a few days a week in the library helping out with different reading clubs and have found it quite enjoyable and a great way to develop more relationships with the students. As many of the students in these clubs are also in my French classes, it has created a chance to deepen my relationship with them.
My class is hard at work developing their own games on magnets and I am truly looking forward to seeing their finished products at the end of the week and playing the games with my students.
The wide range of students’ abilities, levels of interest and attendance has really been an eye opening experience. I find it shocking how quickly I have gotten used to some students missing the majority of my classes as some almost never show up in the morning. I try my best to encourage them to come by making them feel special when they do show up, and by having interesting classes with the hopes that they will not want to miss them. At times it feels like it is wasted energy, but then I realize that it is not always their choice not to show up for school.
I have also been genuinely touched by the kindness and affection my students have shown me. The other day, I was walking down the hall and a group of students embraced me and brought tears to my eyes. I may very well have been making my share of mistakes, but one thing I do know is that I am learning a lot about myself and the variety of students up here. I am already looking forward to my return in the spring.