Moot Points: Always a lot to learn for a new teacher

February 23, 2016 Glenice Wilson, Special to the ATA News

My first teaching position, at 19 years old in 1970, was in a large elementary school in a small town in Manitoba. The culture in the town and the surrounding district was strong Ukrainian — interesting but unfamiliar to my English upbringing.

The first morning of school I was nervous and overwhelmed as my 35 Grade 2 students kept pouring into my classroom: desks and students left no space to manoeuvre. The vice-principal, Marc, a well-respected, good-humoured teacher, came to the rescue.

I began to call the names as students stood one by one. I had been told that most all Ukrainian names ended with a “ski or chuck.”

Marc was amused when, in my naiveté, I called Vincent Clearski. The sweetest little aboriginal student, from a nearby reservation, stood quietly and answered. Marc corrected my pronunciation to Clearsky.

I knew I had lots to learn. ❚

Glenice Wilson is a Barrhead resident who taught elementary school for 10 years in Manitoba.

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