Nakasuk School an impressive place
Years ago somebody told me about how they did school inspections in Alberta.
I don’t know if this is still the case but back then apparently among all the team of high-powered mathematics, English, science, and physical education specialists, there was one guy whose specialty was — walking.
He did nothing else except stroll aimlessly around the school, just quietly observing how the school worked. Those impressions became a vital part of the overall evaluation.
A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to get a contract from the teacher education Program to help in one of their courses, which was being held in a classroom in Nakasuk.
One of my “techniques” when teaching adults is to give them an exercise to do on their own, and then get out of their way, so that they don’t have me hanging around like a hungry raven. So in Nakasuk I did a lot of walking. And I couldn’t help noticing things.
The first thing I noticed was the couple of mornings I had to get in early to set things up. School starts at 9 a.m. You probably start work at 8:30.
The next time you have to drive past Nakasuk at 8 a.m. or earlier, notice how many teachers’ cars are parked there at that time. And my strolls around the school were very “educational,” with lots of student work on the walls of the corridors. I learned things about ptarmigans’ stomachs that I would never have guessed.
They teach with their doors open there — I used to hide behind mine. The loudest noise is a buzz of interest. There is a lot more colorful and attractive information on the walls.
There’s lots of physical exercise in those classrooms too, with kids bouncing to their feet with their hands up, eager to give answers. The kids have to move around a lot.
They go comparatively quietly in comparatively regular lines, even the ones at the end of the column when the teacher has disappeared round the corner.
There was a fire drill. I remember fire drills as exercises in chaos and anarchy. Not here.
And it’s not as if these are repressed little victims of harsh discipline. These are lively, open and friendly young people.
In an earlier existence, I was principal of the eventually six-room Puvirnituq Day School between 1959 and 1963.
It was a good little place in its own way. But I am more impressed with Nakasuk.
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