August 31, 2022 – Getting Ready for School
I cannot believe that the summer is over and it’s time to return to school. My kid is going to college and I’m heading back to the university. I do feel like today was the “official” first day of work, but I’ve been working all along with moments of rest and play. Yesterday I participated in the first day of the Stellat’en Salmon Festival and had a wonderful time. I loved learning on the land and from the land. I walked along the river, witnessed the gift to the river thanking and asking the salmon to return, and I listened to the singing, drumming, and stories of the people to remind me of the First Peoples Principles of Learning, humble myself to understand, and respect the land.
This image above inspires me because it reminds me of my mom and what she had learned from Indigenous Peoples in Prince Rupert. I’m hypothesizing, but I can make implicit connections of my past as a child and what I am learning today as an adult. I often wonder who my mom learned from and connected with in the community. We always had salmon, eulachon (ooligan) fish, and abalone. My mom would can the salmon and abalone, and fry the ooligan fish. I loved it as a child and miss it dearly. I loved being immersed in community which reminds me of my time with the Pulling Together Canoe Journey and what I learned during those summers. I am grateful.
I remember the power of the canoe and my relationship with the water. I remember being in the canoe one day and it was a beautiful sunny day. I was in a transition in my life and it dawned on me one voyage that I was a doctoral candidate. Why this matters is, I was because a doctoral for a year and I could not acknowledge it. The swiftness of the canoe is dependent on the health and wellness its crew members, and the water is a place to let go. There were so many lessons learned from pulling the canoe in calm waters and ones I remember paddling air but trusting in the crew to paddle forward and we would arrive safely. Trust and connection mattered.
Here I go and returning back to work with a new contract and new conditions for my job. I am focused on teaching and service, but I am also carving out time to write. I feel that I spent the summer learning about what my limitations are, my strengths, and my interests. I was working with an academic coach, I closed off one chapter of my job in terms of administration, and I identified my research agenda. I wrote my course syllabi with my vision and pedagogy in mind, and I look forward to meeting the students and adapting these envisioned learning experiences to meet their needs. I am also realizing that I need to write ASAP because things are shifting rapidly, but also I acknowledge that I am on the right track. I am making my path forward.
I am looking forward to this year because I am choosing what I want to do. I love the courses I am teaching, and I love teaching and working with students. I am always learning and I want to and need to keep my mindset as the learner. Be humble. Experience. And listen to elders, the land, and knowledge keepers. Working with the salmon at Stellat’en reminded me of these lessons. I am excited about what the new school year will bring and I am happy with the decisions I’ve made to be where I am. I am learning what triggers me and walking into those feelings to understand how I feel and why it matters. It’s ok to breathe, pause, and reflect. I am heartened to have the time to do this deep thinking as well as grateful for the people I work with.