TEACHERS ARE PEOPLE TOO

CultureWorks teachers are a little weird.  They’re real people.

Dreamcatchers_OshawaNative_2013

I mean, they stand at the front of the classroom like ‘regular’ teachers.  They give professional lectures and facilitate dynamic group exercises.  What makes them weird is that CULTUREWORKS TEACHERS WANT TO GET TO KNOW YOU.  Like, as a person. They’re weird because they don’t ONLY stand in front of the classroom, they also walk around the room and talk with you one on one.  They go on weekly trips with you and scroll through your Facebook photo albums.  Heck, I’ve even seen CultureWorks teachers exchange recipes, play squash, and sing with their students. Super weird, and like, totally human, right?

So the question is, what are you doing to connect with your teachers?  Your time in Canada is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so don’t be shy! Here’s a couple of ideas to get you started:

#5.  MAKE SMALL TALK

Easier said than done, right?  Well, believe me, CultureWorks teachers like when you ask questions!  The only way you’ll feel less shy around your teacher is by asking questions, simple stuff, like “How was your weekend?”  “Have you seen (movie)?” “Is there a restaurant you recommend in the area?”  Of course your teachers are there to teach you, and how better to do that if you are comfortable with them?

#4.  CONNECT WITH CULTURE

Canadians all have a unique heritage.  Just by asking your teacher’s family history, you’re learning valuable Canadian history and getting a better understanding of them at the same time.  Take me, for example.  My mother is German, and my father has Welsh heritage.  Now you know why I like to tell people what to do while eating lots of bread.  (I’m joking.) (Not really.)

#3.  SIT AT THE FRONT OF THE CLASS

Hiding behind your laptop or texting under the desk at the back of the class will never connect you to your teacher.  By sitting at the front, or near the front of the class, you will engage more with your teacher’s lessons and show them that you care, and are there to learn.

#2.  WRITE A THANK YOU NOTE

You work hard, and so do your teachers.  Taking the time to write a thoughtful thank you note for all the effort they put into your lessons will really mean a lot to them.  I know this may sound strange depending on your academic customs, but in Canada, teachers respond kindly when they know their work is appreciated.  This won’t guarantee you a higher grade, but it will give you a shared experience that goes beyond marks and tests.

#1.  THROW A SURPRISE PARTY!

Last week some students threw a surprise party for teachers at our Oshawa/UOIT campus, which was AWESOME!  Food, music, and loads of memorable photographs definitely showed the teachers that their students cared about them.  Cool, eh?  It goes to show that anytime is a good time for party time!

Reach out to your teachers.  You’ll learn far more than a language! 🙂

Oshawa Teacher Party
Oshawa Teacher Party

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FAMILY DAY & READING WEEK

Please note that this Monday, February 17th, is Family Day.  It is a provincial holiday in Ontario, and CultureWorks will be closed.

Reading Week is a holiday for CultureWorks students, starting Monday, February 17th to Friday, February 21st.  There will be no classes during this time.  Classes start again on February 24th.

CultureWorks administrative offices will be open during Reading Week.

OH CANADA, GO CANADA!

For the first time in history, Canada is leading the gold medal count at an Olympics, and tied for first overall!

www.globalnews.ca
www.globalnews.ca

The games have only been on for four days, and many people are predicting that this may be the year Canada will win the total medal count overall! How exciting is that?

Now, if you are an international student at CultureWorks, you might be in a difficult situation during the Olympics.  Who do you cheer for?  You want to support  your fellow countrymen, be they Brazilians, Chinese, Saudi Arabians, Egyptians, Libyans, Koreans, Syrians, Jordanians, Turkish, Venezuelans, or Vietnamese…but you’re surrounded by Canadian patriots going crazy for their snowy, icy heroes.  That must be hard, am I right?  Personally, I don’t see it as a hard decision.  Do both!  If Korea wins a medal, that’s awesome!  If Canada also wins a medal, that’s extra awesome.  Because you’re studying in Canada, you’ve got double the reason to watch the Olympics this year.

In order to really feel the energy of the Olympics, I highly suggest you watch the Olympics in public once in a while, rather than only at home.  Of course you can see coverage at your on-campus restaurant or pub, but there is also a wide of variety of other places to go to watch the games on the big screens, with big crowds, and big energy.

TORONTO:

http://www.toronto.com/articles/where-to-watch-the-olympics-in-toronto/

https://www.facebook.com/EPTaylorspub

LONDON:

http://www.usc.uwo.ca/wave/

OTTAWA

http://www.doolysottawa.com

https://www.facebook.com/CarletonTavern

If you know other places, please let me know if the comment section below.  And if you really want a close up perspective of the Olympics, check out this amazing video by past British Olympian, Graham Bell.  Hold on to something, it’s amazing!

[wpvideo JtqWoNDC]

The Inuit

INUKSHUK; for navigation, as a point of reference, a marker for travel routes, fishing places, camps, hunting grounds, and food caches in the frozen Arctic climates.  www.cbantlerart.com
INUKSHUK; for navigation, as a point of reference, a marker for travel routes, fishing places, camps, hunting grounds, and food caches in the frozen Arctic climates. www.cbantlerart.com

To me, it often feels like we talk about natives in Canada as if they only existed in the past.  We’ve heard the ancient stories about first settlers meeting native tribes, the nomadic hunters, and how at first they traded their goods with the Europeans.  It’s interesting history, sure, but the next generation native cultures in Canada are making ‘new’ history all the time.

Take the Inuit people in Nunavut, Canada’s arctic.  Nunavut is the first official territory (1999) with official governing status over its people.  That’s a huge deal!  No other native group in the world has managed to rise above the controversy and oppression of their past, not to mention have national recognition and governing power. And what’s really interesting is that the Inuit new generation are the first to write their history down!  So, as a result, the oral history of Nunavut is still a big part of this new territory’s future.  They are actively teaching the youth about the land, the culture, and the traditions so their history isn’t lost.  Check out this video from the National Geographic that discusses the Inuit oral tradition, it’s pretty cool:

[wpvideo yJfo2XOy]

Inuit diet, hunting traditions, and language need to be passed down to the next generation otherwise their amazing history will be lost.  Whale fat instead of hamburgers.  Storytelling instead of texting.  I mean, this image doesn’t reflect modern Iqaluit, but it’s how the old generation lived!  And not that long ago!

http://clinicalnature.com/page/2/
http://clinicalnature.com/page/2/

I had the unique opportunity to live in Nunavut in the year 2000.  I lived on Cornwallis Island in a 200-person village called Resolute Bay.  Resolute Bay is the second most northern community before the North Pole, and in the winter temperatures got as low as -80 with the wind chill.  (This is why I almost never complain about the cold in Ontario!) Honestly, I felt like I was living on the moon!  I went to Nunavut for my first teaching job after university, where I taught kindergarten.  Even though I worked up there as a teacher, it was me who received the education. The Inuit people are wise, understanding, and gentle people.  They have an insight on life like nothing I’ve ever known, born from years in a tight community and culture, not to mention on harsh land.

skidooView_of_resolute_bay_4