Thursday, August 31, 2006

Back to school

It has been way too long since the last time I posted must be jet lag..;o) Well school started this week and my brain is still insisting that I should still be on vacation. I have realised, as time goes on, that I could easily get used to being a person of leisure. Do you know those people who say, "If ever I won 10 million dollars nothing would change, I'd keep right on working.. " well they are full of it. That is a load of BS. I'd stop working in the next micro-second and leave my job to some deserving young person. This said, I haven't won the lottery so I'm back to school.
This year I am starting my thirtieth year of teaching... that's right 30 years. That's probably longer than some of you have been on this green earth, and to tell the truth, despite all the grumbling, I still love what I do... so that's my confession for the day.
The adolescents of today are often maligned, but the vast majority of them are good people, growing up in a world that can't be easy to grow up in. After all they are the product of their upbringing... and we are the ones who did the upbringing. So if they are so awful, we have only to look in a mirror to see who is to blame. We adults seem to have a selective memory when it comes to our youth... I seem to remember some rather weird and wacky things that I did at that age. ;o)
That said, I met my new batch of students yesterday and they seem to be a good bunch of kids...should be fun.

Monday, August 07, 2006

I'm back from a great vacation

Well our vacation in the UK is over. snif snif... I guess we have to come back someday. It was great fun and we saw and did some fantastic things.
Hiking on Dartmoor and seeing the wild ponies on the other side of a tor. Such a beautiful place.
Seeing Stonehenge, awe inspiring.
Driving around Cornwall and Wales with the ocean cliffs on one side and the hedgerows on the other. Sleeping at a campground in Tewksbury close to Tewksbury abbey. Staying at another canpground beside Castle Howard (the house shown in the film Brideshead Revisted) and realising people still live there. Visiting numerous castles, abbeys, and churches that date back almost 1000 years (I'm rabid amateur historian. I'm facinated by piles of old stones ;o). Visiting neolithique sites such as a flint mine or a copper mine that date back 4000-5000 years (first industrial revolution?). The Batttle of Hastings, Dover Castle, The city of York (just loved it), Stratford on Avon and old William Shakespeare, the British Museum and it goes on and on. There is so much history in that one small island, it is amazing.
The weather was superbe, we only really had 3 days of rain in 5 weeks. The British meterological service said that it was the warmest and sunniest July since they have records. Must have known we were coming.
Was there something we didn't like as much... well to tell the truth London was disappointing. There are some fantastic things to see but we felt that the wild cat developement was ruining what would have otherwise been a very beautiful city. There were beautiful little Wren churches surrounded by huge, ugly, cement and glass buildings. Some of them were truly ugly, like the Modern Tate (looks like what Dartmoor prison should look like), the glass pineapple etc. For once I think that Prince Charles was right and that the developpers are killing the soul of the city. London should have taken a page from Paris and forced the developement outside the city. Oh well that's my gripe for the day. (As you can see I'm not a great fan of big cities)
But we did have loads of fun and we met some really extraordinarily nice people, like the taxi driver in Liverpool, who when we asked him for directions to drive to a certain road, told us to follow him and led us to the address that we needed to go. There were many other people who took the time to explain things when we had questions, who were patient with us when we were lost and searching, and chatted with us when they noticed that we were Canadians. We'll always keep a fond memory of the people of the UK.