September 2006 Archives

Where does the time go?

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colinclose1
As of yesterday, around 3 o'clock, Colin is nine.

NINE.

Years.

Ack.

Hey, at least I'm not asking for your zodiacal orientation.

1. Your Middle Name:

2. Age:

3. Single or Taken:

4. Favourite Movie:

5. Favourite Song:

6. Favourite Band/Artist:

7. Dirty or Clean:

8. Tattoos and/or Piercings:

9. Do we know each other outside of the internet?

10. Whats your philosophy on life?

11. Would you have my back in a fight?

12. Would you keep a secret from me if you thought it was in my best interest?

13. What is your favourite memory of us?

14. Would you give me a kidney?

15. Tell me one odd/interesting fact about you.

16. Would you take care of me when I'm sick?

17. Can we get together and make a cake?

18. Have you heard any rumours of me lately?

19. Do you/have you talk(ed) crap about me?

20. Do you think I'm a good person?

21. Would you drive across country with me?

22. Do you think I'm attractive?

23. If you could change anything about me, would you?

24. What do you wear to sleep?

25. Would you come over for no reason just to hang out?

26. Would you go on a date with me if I asked you?

27. If I only had one day to live, what would we do together?

28. Will you re-post this so I can fill it out for you?

via kowy

Now that's customer service

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from a student essay on retailers' strategies:

"Good customer service leads to good mouth-to-mouth advertising."

Things that are in bad taste:

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~ wearing a black trench coat and combat boots to school the next day.

~ wearing a t-shirt with a target on it to school the next day.

~ discussing the emotional/psychological trauma of the man who did this as if you were the only person to whom it has occured that he must have been 'troubled'.

~ criticizing the administrators for their lack of preparedness/slow response/lack of visibility/etc.

Believe it or not, I have witnessed all of these in the last day and a half.

The last one really gets my goat - there are people who have the cajones to take the Dawson administration to task because the admin didn't make a press statement right away, or because the admin didn't make an announcement on the PA, or because the admin weren't out there helping the police, and so on.

What unmitigated gall.

Does it not occur to such critics that the adminstration is composed of people? People who were as dazed and confused on Wednesday afternoon as the rest of the people trapped in that building? People who were either running for their lives or taking shelter under desks, waiting for hours to get an all-clear? People who followed police orders to evacuate?

On the other hand, I have also witnessed students hugging each other in the hallways; teachers hugging each other, too (and we're significantly less prone to PDAs); and letters of support, prayer and hope. One of my students showed me her poem, written yesterday, and brought tears to my eyes. A few of my students have stayed away from school, but the vast majority are in class, subdued, but moving forward.

The morning after

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Thanks for your comments on the previous post; so far I have heard from two of my Dawson friends, and both are fine. They both thought to send group e-mail messages - the Internet is a wonderful thing.

JB mentioned being a Cegep student in December, 1989, when Marc Lepine gunned down 14 women at the Ecole Polytecnique. I was a student here at Vanier in '89, and I remember only too well. Right now, we have extra security on campus, and there are meetings in progress to discuss whether or not we should have more security on a permanent basis.

Colin had nightmares last night about the incident.

When things like this happen, we often hear people describing their reaction as feeling "helpless" - I think we mean helpless in a psychological, emotional sense. We can 'help' - many already have, such as the Concordia people, who sheltered Dawson students, gave them Metro tickets and used their shuttle bus to get students to the nearest open Metro station. Hema-Quebec is organizing blood drives to buffer the supply, especially of type O-.

But when I stood in front of my two classes this morning, or when I looked into my son's eyes last night, I felt helpless.

I tried to express to my students that as teachers and staff here at Vanier, most of us also have friends at Dawson. We are asking the same questions; we are feeling the same emotions; we are thinking the same thoughts. All we can do is... be "we."

What do I say to my children? My students, it's sad to say, are worldly enough now to know that sometimes, life gets ugly. How do I talk about this with my boys, who still see the world in terms of good guys and bad guys, a place where the people who get shot have done something wrong?

Helpless.

UPDATES TO YESTERDAY'S POST: For the fact-checkers, the news reports today state that the shooter was killed by the police and did not kill himself, although one report claimed that he turned his gun on himself after being wounded by police. The young woman who was killed was an 18-year-old student. The 20 other wounded are being treated at area hospitals; six of the victims are still listed as "critical," two of them extremely so.

Checking in

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I have no words, really, to express the myriad emotions I/we are experiencing.

I am posting for no other reason than to reassure friends and family who may have only sketchy details of today's events. There was a fatal shooting at Dawson College, a Cegep in downtown Montreal. A young man with a gun shot several people; at least 20 are in hospital and one young woman is dead. The shooter is also dead, apparently by a self-inflicted wound.

I have many friends who work at Dawson, and I am worried about the ones I haven't heard from. If things had played out differently, I might have been there - but I chose to teach at Vanier College, instead, and now I am thankful that I made that decision. I suspect many of my colleagues are feeling the same way. It's a weird mix of relief, horror and sadness.

Off to a good start

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Last night was the first class of my Cont. Ed. course, which means I have now taught at least one class of all four of this semester's courses.

Tuesdays are going to be long days this term; I teach Montreal Writers from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., then I have a really, really long break, and I teach Cracking the Code from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Then I somehow manage to drive home (NB ~ you may want to avoid the Decarie Expressway on Tuesday evenings) and collapse.

Thankfully, I don't teach at all on Wednesdays, so theoretically I can sleep in and spend the day recuperating. Theoretically.

The real saving grace is that the World's Greatest Mother-in-Law (TM) is with us until the end of October, and she does things like meet the kids at the bus stop after school and feed the family.

Other than Tuesdays, my schedule this term is really very good; I am home in time to pick up the kids three days out of five, and home in time for supper four days. And the long break on Tuesdays is a pretty good time for correcting and planning, which will come in handy since every single one of my courses is filled to capacity, and at least two of them are overfull.

The students are wonderful (so far), and now that the first class is out of the way for each course, my traditional beginning-of-term tummy butterflies have flown away and I am really enjoying the classes.

Now all I have to do is try to match 138 student faces to their names...

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