Ok. Where to begin? How to explain OperationBlankPage? I guess I could give you the short answer, a New Year’s resolution. But where’s the fun in that?! No, let’s go back a bit, set the stage….maybe to this time last year. I think it will help put everything into perspective. I was in PEI, teaching grade 1 at an amazing school, in an amazing community.
Actually, come to think of it, the story of how I came to be there is pretty amazing in itself, so maybe I will start there…..
June 20, 2011. My 30th birthday bash. My brother, cousin, his wife & their son, my godson, along with my incredible circle of friends had all congregated in Glovertown for the festivities. What better a place to celebrate really? A glorious day (for NL standards) on Sandy Cove Beach, followed by a BBQ and drinks, games and guitar tunes in my beloved rental trailer-home on Station Road. We were crammed into the small living room on the only piece of furniture – an old grey couch with dusty rose flowers – eating off paper plates, trying to cut steaks with the ever useful plastic knif. Not because we were lazy and didn’t want to do the dishes after, but because everything I had collected over the first seven years of my professional life was boxed up and ready to be moved. I was about to leave my job with Parks Canada, and move to Fredericton to begin 10 months of intensive teacher’s training.
So flash forward a year to June of 2012 when the final presentation was presented, papers passed in, the professional portfolio up and running online, and I’m sitting in my living room on that same grey couch with the dusty rose flowers, up to my eye balls in job applications. And this living room is also full of boxes. I’m in the process of packing up yet again to move Moncton where I’m about to enrol in a 6-week French program instead of taking a much needed break for the summer.
The phone rings. It’s a French man from the PEI Department of Education & Early Childhood Development. Apparently my proficiency to understand, speak, read and write French, as assess by the province of NB, is not high enough to teach immersion in PEI. Seems odd to me, given the fact it seemed to suffice in Canada’s only bilingual province where I just completed my BEd specializing in French Immersion methods. Feeling deflated I tell him about my current endeavour and he wishes me well. Click.
About a month later, frustrated by the lack of calls for interviews, I see two more French Immersion posting on the PEI website. Now just to clarify, I’ve been applying all other the maritimes. That’s my comfort zone. Well kind of. NS just let go over 500 teachers & I wasn’t overly excited about spending another year in NB, so my applications were limited to NL and PEI. Anyways, sitting on one of those uncomfortable dorm room desk chairs, I remember thinking; “Shag this! I’m re-applying. I taught Grade 3 French Immersion during my internship without any difficulty! Surely my proficiency would be up to snuff for a Grade 2 or Kindergarden position!”
Stubbornly I apply knowing I’ll probably just get another phone call from that French guy telling me thanks, but no thanks, your french just isn’t good enough.
Well I guess you can figure out the rest. I got a call a few days later with an offer for an interview. FINALLY!!! At 6am I jump into my Echo with a dress outfit in tow and ditch school for the day. I head towards Shediac, programming the GPS as I’m about to drive across the Confederation Bridge to Bloomfield, PEI.
Now I haven’t been to PEI since I was a child and my parents brought me to Santa’s Village, Sandspitt and the glorious beaches of PEI National Park. Heading in the opposite direction, thinking (mistakenly, I later discover) my GPS must have taken me off the TCH and on a few backroads in an effort to find the shortest of routes.
About an hour later, I’m at O’Leary corner, grabbing a bagel at Tim Hortons, changing into my dress suit, and trying to remember to breathe.
Interview done, I leave the school parking lot in the opposite direction as suggested by one of the interviewers. They thought it would be nice for me to see the beautiful coastal drive on my way back. Within minutes I’m out of cell service and completely lost. But I don’t care. I’m smiling and feeling high as a kite because I got a job offer and I said YES!