Sunday, November 20, 2016

concussion part 2

Last week I wrote a bit about how it there can be a quality of catharsis to recovering from an ailment while dealing with an emotional shock. The body offers a distraction from the troubles of the mind, and it makes for a stretch of life novel enough that when you return to health you get the comforting feeling that life is "back to normal" even if there have been fairly drastic changes...

Ironically my staying up late to write about the feeling of recovering from my concussion exasperated my concussion and the next day the symptoms returned. All in all I missed a week of work, including the opening night of the Killer Whale Cafe (which is the project we'd been waiting--first for funds then for supplies--since I got here).

In most ways it was pretty shitty. I felt like nauseous most of the time, I was unable to concentrate for any stretch of time,I was totally drained of energy, my dog was growing restless from lack of exercise  my home was descending into chaos because I didn't have the energy to clean up after myself (I'd actually been on a steak of being fairly good about this beforehand). I missed out on what would have been my first seal carving demonstration, I missed skating and I missed the opening of the cafe. On Monday I ran into a student of mine at the grocery store. He had been relying on the schools breakfast program for most of his food, and because the school is short of English substitutes my not working meant no breakfast for my students. I bought him a sandwich, it felt like all I could do.

In a strange way, this concussion (shitty as it was) helped provide me with many of things I was seeking when I came out here. I had a desire to work on my ability to be by myself, and while this town is isolated it does not compare to a couple of days doing nothing in a dark room. Much of the time I spent sleeping, but I certainly had to face the boredom which is at the core of me.

Conversely it also showed me the extent to which I have become part of the community. Other teachers called or knocked on my door to see if there was anything they could do. They took my dog on walks. They offered me rides if I needed them. When I encountered my students they showed genuine concern for me (most of them).

It also served as a reminder that what I'm doing here is important. Sometimes, when I teach it can feel pointless, like the kids aren't learning much. This helped me focus on a whole other aspect to my job, I provide a space when my students are fed and cared about, Where they can socialise with each other without as many corrupting influences as they have outside. Also, a place where they do learn, if not always what I had intended on teaching them.

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