Monday Morning Musings

Posted on November 15, 2021 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet


Pokémon Pedagogy

“Back in the saddle again,

Out where a friend is a friend.”

Back in the Saddle Again. Gene Autry

Pokémon. Pain. Patience.

I knew I would get the call eventually.

When I signed my most recent contract, it was understood that 50% of my duties would be administrative and 50% would be teaching. During the first two months of school, I dedicated 100% to administration… if you call professional organizing, administration! While I have enjoyed working on several projects as well as part time secretary, the pace has been frenetic, so when the principal asked me to fill in for a teacher who was heading into quarantine, I didn’t flinch. We agreed that I would do half days in the office and half days in the classroom.

I have discovered that there is no one right way to teach. Every teacher has their own unique style. Some teachers rule with an iron fist while others are more laid back. I’m probably closer to the latter. I think grade 4 might be one of the most desirable assignments a teacher can have. Nine -year olds are still keen to please and are generally polite and respectful.

The young man who teaches grade 4 English is from the village. He is soft spoken and very laid back. Besides being an excellent educator, he is a great musician and a really nice guy. Students worship him. He is, what we would have called back in the 60s, “cool”. To inherit his class for ten days is a mixed blessing. I knew that his lessons would be well prepared and that his students would be respectful. But I am the antithesis of cool. My colleague’s shoes are much too big for me to fill. The only time recently that I felt cool was when a few of us walked the airport loop last winter (7.5km) when it was -53!


I had heard of Pokémon before and two years ago, Alex’s (not his real name) class was next door to mine. I quickly noticed that his classroom was adorned with Pokémon figures and that he seemed to use Pokémon as an integral part of his teaching. He showed Pokémon videos, played Pokémon games, and even hosted an after school Pokémon club. I never quite understood it but there are many things I don’t understand so that shouldn’t come as a major surprise.

It came as no surprise that the packages of learning materials he left for me, had a decided Pokémon flavour. I have been forced to dive deeper into Pokémon culture and I’m beginning to understand the method to his madness. Teaching is all about engagement. As I have discovered, not only is Pokémon fun but it teaches children to read and do math. It also teaches values like respect. It is little wonder why Alex’s students love him.

Yes, I’m back in the saddle again.


It’s a funny thing about pain. Let me rephrase. There is nothing funny about pain, especially chronic pain. I am one of the lucky ones. My issues around pain are not debilitating. Recently, I took a nasty tumble and ended up with some seriously bruised ribs. I received some good natured ribbing about my fall from grace and my bruised ego. The pain was so intense that for the past week, I haven’t noticed the persistent pain in my back. I have a friend back home who is having a really hard time. She has been dealing with severe chronic pain for many years and to add insult to injury, she developed cancer last year. All of the meds she is taking are having unpleasant side effects. I have other friends who have suffered the devastating loss of loved ones. There is no cure for the pain resulting from this type of loss.


Living in the north is not easy. It requires a great deal of patience. There are magical days when I think I could live out my life here and others when I want to take the next flight out and lay on the beach in Algarve, Portugal…. that is, if there is no fog, wind or snow to prevent flights from leaving!

And speaking of travel, we just received an e-mail outlining the latest travel restrictions in the north because of Covid. The authorities are not fooling around, especially with vaccination rates in the region painfully low. There are stringent rules for travel especially for the unvaccinated. December 30th is a day of reckoning for the unvaccinated. Here is a question in the Q&A section of the press release: “I’m non vaccinated and do not wish to be. Q. “Can I stay in Nunavik (our region of Quebec) after the December deadline or later? A. “Yes. You can, however, you will not be allowed to travel south for the foreseeable future. Think in years here.” Of course, if someone waits until the last moment to leave (December 30th) and there happens to be a snowstorm that day, then they’re stuck here indefinitely.

Got my flu shot this week.

Belugas arriving here which is a cause of great excitement.

Starting to rehearse Christmas music with the students.

Counting the days to head home for Christmas.

I’m waiting patiently, of course!

My writing is painful to read.

Pokémon (also spelled pokey man) Def: A slow moving, elderly man.

Have a great week.

P.S. We’re going to try and arrange a live show featuring my talented children, Betsy and Peter, et moi, during the Christmas holidays back in Antigonish. I’ll keep you posted.

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Tri Mac Toyota!

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