MY STORY, THE CONCLUSION: School, Substituting, Surprises

Labour Day weekend came and went. Without a permanent classroom this year, I hadn’t made my usual trip to Staples to stock up on school supplies. So I found an excuse. After a brief Pinterest session, I created substitute teacher business cards and an emergency substitute kit for the upcoming school year. Off to Staples I went to fill that post-Labour Day need.

And then school started. Wednesday, September 4. I remember the day well. I went to a yoga class that evening. When I got home there was a message. The elementary school I went to had called and wanted to book me for Friday. This Friday. School had only been in for a day and I got a call. Surprise. Shock. Gratitude. Joy. I was so nervous returning the call. The VP asked where I was because he didn’t recognize the first three digits. I explained that I had just moved home and was living in the city with my parents. But yes, I was absolutely up for driving 3.5 hours tomorrow so I could book a day. My first day! Besides, it was a great excuse to get out to my hometown and visit my godson and extended family.

So I worked that day, booked another for the following week, and stuck around to do some visiting over the weekend. Worked another shift, booked some more days the following week, and then hit the road to replenish my supply of dress clothes. Of course, I also took advantage of being back in the city by visiting all 14 schools that teach French Immersion so I could drop off a resume and touch base with the administration.

To my dismay, I came to learn that my name wasn’t on any of the substitute lists for core, intensive, or immersion French in and around St. Johns. It turns out in Newfoundland, the eastern district requires you to do a proficiency test before placing you on any French lists. In the central school district, this isn’t a requirement. And worse still, the next proficiency test wouldn’t be happening until mid-November, which meant I wouldn’t be getting any calls to teach until then.

But isn’t it funny how life always have a way of working out. Knowing I had a few more shifts in Gander, I packed up a few suitcases, moved – more permanently – in with family in Gander, and kept on booking day after day. Turns out my background in music, combined with French, was an asset in this region and I was working nearly full-time hours all fall.

Substitute teaching was a whirlwind of experiences. I can remember picking partridgeberries in the woods late in September and getting a call around 11:15am to come in after lunch. Then there was the day I showed up at the wrong school to work, opps! Good thing I’m always overly punctual and more or less made it to the right school in time. Then the viral stomach flu that went through the school. I worked every day that week and to my surprise I never did catch that bug 🙂

It’s been four months now. I’ve taught Kindergarden, Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, French Immersion. Intensive French. Core French. Primary Music. Elementary Music. English. Technology. Math. Science. Social Studies. Library. Grade 7. Grade 8. Grade 9. Grade 10. Grade 11. Grade 12. Core French. Language Arts. All this, in just two schools. Life was challenging. Hard. Fun. Rewarding. Full of ups and downs. Learning experiences. But mostly, Life was Good.

Living back in my hometown, the town I left after high school, was a bit of a bag of mixed emotions. I joined the hot yoga studio and earned my keep at my cousin’s house by cooking up a storm, and spear-heading meal prep for our detox.

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I enjoyed coffee with my aunties, as well as movie nights, sleepovers, and visits to the playground with my godson.


I went on road trips, hiking trips, farm trips.

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I was back and forth to the city nearly every second weekend to see friends, plan weddings, shop for wedding and bridesmaid dresses, attend bridal shows, halloween parties, birthday parties and cabin parties.1470349_10151773766142617_1966130416_n


I even dated.

And then, Christmas came.  That joyous time of year when you start to think about the year gone by and the year ahead. Despite all the work I was receiving, despite the time I was spending with family, despite all the incredible memories I had the opportunity to be a part of this fall by being home, I was feeling quite low.

Oh boo hoo I know. I absolutely cannot stand complaining. Honestly. There is nothing about my life that warrants a complaint. Quite the opposite. I have so much to be thankful and grateful for. And I’m the first person who will say “Life is What YOU Make”. But by the time New Year’s had come and gone, I had managed to get myself into a bit of a funk. I guess having your life boxed up in a 12×12 storage unit, living out of a suitcase in a rented room, and not knowing when I’d be working from one day to the next was finally taking its toll.

But that, my friends, is how we got HERE. Finally! OperationBlankPage. This is probably the first New Year’s resolution I’ve ever made and am seeing to fruition.

Yes. I made a choice to give up full-time work and move home. I chose to spend a year substituting. To live at home. To be close to family. So no more funks. It’s time to EMBRACE my choice, just as I have embraced all the other choices I have made in my life.

You see, I’m convinced half the reason this year has been more emotionally challenging than I could have ever predicted is because I was still holding on to PEI and not embracing this choice. So this blog is dedicated to embracing EVERYday.

Things you can looks forward to on this blog from here on? Life experiences. Adventures in substituting. Food reviews and recipes. Restaurant and Culinary experiences. Trail reviews. Adventures in dating. Growth through yoga. Sharing of music & guitar tabs. Adventures in Clean Eating. The Pursuit of Buying Local. Basically, adventures in Life. I’ve always considered myself a proud and passionate Newfoundlander. So I’m looking forward to sharing my passions and experiences in this beautiful province with you.



About Carol Marie

Student of Life. Elementary Teacher. Food lover. Avid Outdoors Woman. Proud Newfie. Animal Lover. Yogi. Musician. View all posts by Carol Marie

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