One Place I Taught

“Four people have been killed and several injured in shootings in the western Canadian province of Saskatchewan, police say.”
See Canada shootings: Four killed in Saskatchewan – BBC News
I taught in many places in northern Canada, good, bad and ugly. La Loche was a mix. Great people, lovely land but with some of the worst social problems of any place I taught. Part of the problem was a huge licquor store right in the town. That’s unusual in the North as licquor is poison in most communities but in La Loche, folks did not need to smuggle in their stuff.

The results were imported into the schools. Many students were not ready to learn and violence was felt in daily “lock-downs”. I was so stressed I could not finish my contract there but left at Christmas time.

One IT-related matter. In La Loche, as elsewhere, I introduced GNU/Linux to students in the lab and they enjoyed a rich computing environment with a wide choice of software. ie. For one assignment, I asked students to do typical word-processing with five different word-processors. The “take-away”? They all work pretty much the same way. At least students learned that M$’s way was not the only way to do IT. On the other hand, I was constantly frustrated by the IT-department. They got the printing configuration wrong in the school and despite many “trouble-tickets” never got it right until I had already resigned. Ever five minutes a teacher or student would interrupt my class with an inability to print. It turned out that the “trouble-tickets” were being edited into indecipherability by two layers of bureaucracy. It was only by face-to-face talks with the IT-people that it was fixed, in spite of rules that protocol was to be followed. Further, my suggestions to ramp up the number of PCs in the school via Computers for Schools were rebuffed. Instead we had a modern school with a 1990s student:PC ratio.

I did meet some wonderful students there though, but most were not from La Loche but bussed in from surrounding communities. Students with goals and reasons to learn were few and far between. Survival was more important. Sad. So much human potential wasted.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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