Ink & Paper

Friday, December 03, 2004

Ten Greatest Canadians as rated by Canada and the CBC

1. Tommy Douglas
2. Terry Fox
3. Pierre Trudeau
4. Frederick Banting
5. David Suzuki
6. Lester B. Pearson
7. Don Cherry
8. Sir John A. MacDonald
9. Alexander Graham Bell
10. Wayne Gretzky

I know this review is a few days late, but rest assured it caused a hell of an arguement in the staff room, which was all in good fun and pretty sweet actually.

Jay's Take: I actually agree with most of this list, altho the order could be changed up a bit. Numbers one to five are fine with me, and I had a small smile as I envisioned the Alberta reaction to Trudeau and Suzuki, two guys who probably wouldn't fit into the redneck genre that Alberta loves to promote.

However, I do take a lot of issue with numbers six through ten. Pearson, MacDonald, and Bell are fine, altho they should be 6, 7, and 8 respectively. I can even somewhat agree with Gretzky at number ten, as he did provide the face for Canadian hockey all over the world. But I wouldn't put him any higher than ten.

Don Cherry? Are you f**king kidding me? Don "I am a loudmouth, arrogant, throwback, ignorant SOB" Cherry? What the hell? Seriously, this list was going fine until they notched Cherry in there. C'mon, among all these other notables, people who discovered insulin, founded and linked the country, raised uncountable dollars for cancer, etc etc, we decide that some guy, who "works" for five minutes half of the year yapping about face shields, is worthy of a spot on this list? What does that say about Canadians and our percieved notion of beng higher up the intelligence food chain than the Americans? Not too much, in my opinion. During a contest where we could have chosen to highlight many things about us other than hockey, we choose Don Cherry ahead of the inventor of modern communications (who was a Scot by birth anyway) and the founding Prime Minister of the country. That is pretty sad Canada.

I'm not ragging on Canada, but as we constantly bemoan the fact that we have no national identity besides hockey and identifying ourselves as unAmerican, it seems rather counterproductive, or perhaps overly safe, to rely on old stereotypes like hockey to contribute to a national warm and fuzzy feeling. I'm not saying that we should distance ourselves from hockey as a national sport, but I surely think that if we absoutely needed to mention two hockey men in the list, we could have chosen better than Cherry. Rocket Richard? Gordie Howe? Esa Tikkanen? (oops, typo)

Anyway, that is my rant for the day. Two last points: No women made the list and no authors made it either. I'm not sure about the women issue, but seeing as how Pierre Berton just passed away, one might have considered the impact he had on documenting the broad history that our land covers.

That's all, take care.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 7:53 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


Thursday, December 02, 2004

Sorry it has been a while, the internet here has been a little wacky.

On the dumb dean front, we had a department meeting on Wednesday and it went well. By that I mean there was no confrontation which is nice, because as you all know, especially the ladies, I'm a lover, not a fighter. But that doesn't mean we actually got anything done. So far as I can tell, we managed to agree that Susan had to go talk to admin about putting the benchmarks off until February. So we'll see how that goes, I don't care one way or the other and I suspect that Susan will forget tofollow up to admin and then we will be going through this all again in February or March. We'll see. But the funny thing was that halfway through the meeting and right in the middle of something another teacher was saying, Susan gets up and leaves. Just walks out the door, not a word. The remaining three of us look at each other, somewhat surprised. Silence until Jay says: "Well I guess thats the end of the meeting." We all get up and leave, finding out later that Susan had decided that she needed to go to talk to admin RIGHT THAT MINUTE. So that is the kinda leadership I have.

In other school news, we had another 'runner', a gent by the name of Roy, who frankly won't be missed that much. He was a PE guy, stuck teaching the Middle School boys (or as I like to call 'em, Satan Jrs.) He ended up being a seething pit of depressive comments and no one was surprised that he ran. And word on the street is that the lady they hired to replace the first runner, whose class I was covering for a month and a half, is planning on leaving after only a week or so. Some disagreement with admin. Who knows, the truth is rather murky and malleable. I don't think I would volunteer to teach the G6 boys again, not without significant cash in advance. We'll see, but the school seems to be splitting apart, at least in the middle school.

Me though, I just keep on trucking, life is okay as I am largely removed from most of the fracas. Wow, I just used the word fracas, cool. The people I hang around with are good and I seem to be able to avoid bitter bastards on a fairly regular basis. Who woulda thought that I would be the one on the positive, sunshiny side? Eh, different country, different Jay, I guess. But I can tell you this, if I ever do climb the ladder to admin, which is something I am considering as a long term goal, I will certainly reflect on this year and remember the lessons in poor staff/admin relations. So I am learning, always learning.

I also shaved me noggin, so now I am back to looking like a Irish thug. Actually it doesn't look too bad and frankly I don't care what you think anyway, so stuff it.

And it is the weekend. I came home Wednesday night, walked the dog, slept from 430-730pm, watched a movie, walked the dog, slept from 10pm-5am, walked the dog, chatted with Meg, slept from 8am-1pm (Thursday) and now am reading the paper and loafing about. Next week is Schools without Walls, the week long gorging of field trips, so I won't have to teach all that much. There is a lot of politics around this upcoming week, but I'll save it for a night over beers. Plus I'm tired of typing. So adieu, adieu and have a good rest of the week. Take care of yourselves.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 6:41 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


Monday, November 29, 2004

"What a good thing Adam had. When he said a good thing he knew nobody had said it before." ~~ Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Well it is all but official, I hate my dean of English. Short version. She is catching heat because she did not implement 'benchmarks" which she was supposed to do. I do not know what 'benchmarks" are, but it sounds like they are a series of major assignments the kids do over the course of the year in order for the admin to judge how the kids are progressing.

Susan says to me: "Well I am disappointed, I am upset that we let you sway us into not doing benchmarks."

Excuse me? This was apparently a quote that I gave her in early September, and although I don't remember making it explicitly, I certainly can tell you that I did not take some do-or-die stance on the issue. But apparently, me, a first year teacher, has an amazing amount of power. Yea, right, if I had that kinda power, the things I would do....

So I, in a very controlled manner, told her that I didn't appreciate being blamed for something that she was responsible for. I told her that if she had told me, as is her right as Dean, to do the benchmarks, I woulda done the damn benchmarks. But because it was a passing issue, or so I thought, and she didn't get in shit until now, I told her that blaming me was not only unprofessional, but in general poor manners. Honestly, I was raging inside, and I did lose it a little, telling her I didn't appreciate being talked to like I was some junior teacher. I don't know it all, but I know I ain't taking shit from her.

So then she told me not to get all defensive, which I was. Then I walked out. We talked later, and I figured out through the maze-like conversations that she has with me, that she is catching shit from admin for not exhibiting any leadership skills. I don't care, admin outta be giving her shit. So now she says that she is going to be more authoritative, instead of her 'democratic' preference. I see, so her version of democracy is a laissez-faire free for all. I told her that I just hoped that we could work cooperatively for the rest of the year and that being authoritative wouldn't mean ignoring our ideas. I think she understood me, but I could have been talking to someone who was thinking of Valentine's Day, for all I know. Then she gave me a hug. She's a flake that's for sure. A flake that wears too much perfume.

I really am trying to take the high road, in everything I do. I don't gossip, except on the blog, and I don't power trip on anyone. But it will not bode well if she tries to shift the blame onto me, especially when it wasn't my screw up in the first place. This whole thing with the benchmarks could go two ways. It could disappear entirely until April, when we have a similar panic session, or it could actually become something I need to deal with now. I'm predicting the April issue, as I think Susan has since forgotten where she was today.

My principal is happy with me and knows exactly what I think of Susan. And although she cannot tell me everything that is going on, I get the feeling Susan is dancing around on thin ice. I hope so. I can deal with Susan, she is a moron, but so is Jeff and I had to live with him. But the year may go down the tubes. I told my principal I was super close to just shutting my door and teaching my way for the rest of the year. She smiled and said that would probably be best, but she doubted it would be so easy. So I dunno, maybe things will work out, god knows I stuck enough needles in the Susan Voodoo Doll.

It just frustrates me to no end. I'm gonna see how this quarter plays out, but if it goes downhill, I'm gonna make a point to lock my door and do it my way. It may sound cocky but I'm good at this teaching thing and I can do it on my own. This kinda fits the whole 'life handing you a lemon' mentality I am in right now. Oh well, five and a half more teaching months, I can deal with it. But man, this was a "Looking at June 17" day, a day that I wished Megan was gonna be waiting for me when I came home. Soon, Arch, soon.

More to come, I'm sure....

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 8:31 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


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