A Day at Harbour View

Jan 12, 2019

On this beautiful Friday morning( finishing it on a Saturday morning) in the quietness of my office I reflect on my busy, bustling, demanding day yesterday. In 2012 I began doing author visits through New Brunswick’s WISP. (writers in schools program)I have done many visits and gone to a lot of the Saint John and area schools.I have visited Nova Scotia schools through the Hackmatack program and toured Ontario as an author in the TD Children’s Book Week event.I have presented to more students than I taught in my teaching career and feel privileged to do so. Some schools have had me back for repeat visits and I have my favorites from the ones I’ve done. I also have a few not so wonderful moments but overall have been very rewarded in the experience. As a teacher of 29 years I bring experience and classroom management techniques to each visit . I for the most part can handle a small medium or large group of pretty much any age student.(kindergarten scares me the most , followed closely by grade nines)I am always pleased when a booking comes along, happy when a teacher reaches out to invite me and pleased I get such an opportunity. I think it is a valuable program for the students. I am happy if I have several visits a year and this month I happen to have two. Next week I will return to Bayside Middle School for the fourth or fifth time. I am thankful for that. But each visit fills me with fear, nervousness and doubt. A day or so before I struggle with the wisdom of my choice to participate.I second guess myself and my ability. I pray for a storm day or a power outage, a fever or a broken bone. Not really but I do get myself in a bit of a state. My wonderfully supportive husband talks me off the ledge so to speak. The morning of I get up and put my best professional foot forward. I dress appropriately and give myself lots of time to find the school. I rally so to speak and enter the building ready to do the best job I know how to do. I am seldom disappointed with the outcome. Each presentation takes on a tone and a substance of its own . I usually start the same way but veer off in many directions. By the end of the day I am exhausted but filled with a calm and thankful relief that I accomplished what I set out to do. My presentations are honest, emotional, personal and challenging. Some groups are more difficult to reach but always even if only for brief moments I feel a deep connection with the students. I try in small groups to learn the kid’s names, see the individual , build a temporary bridge . I expose my sorrow, my vulnerability and I try to speak honestly. I am so often rewarded with morsels of honesty in return. There are always the bright lights shining back at me validating my effort. My husband always says I told you so when I return at the end of the day happy with the memory and glad I made the effort.Teaching held the same fear , the same challenges , the same self doubt, as does writing and putting ourselves out there in any way. Harbour View High School is a grand old building, an architectural gem and a vibrant institution still serving young people of the region. I sensed a pride and a community within its walls and feel honored to have been a small part of it for one day.For school visits I must take myself away from my warm home , my office and my writing and for that I am always rewarded.


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