It sounds odd but I really look forward to this time of the year. Not the idea of loosing a steady pay (not being a regular full-time instructor, the money stops the moment I stop teaching). But I am looking forward to finally having the freedom to paddle till the lakes freeze again. It's a fantastic feeling.
Of course, I'll miss the camaraderie of my workmates, and I will especially miss the connection I've had with my students — some more then others. I taught Environmental Issues this year to a number of different programs (Ecosystem Management, Parks Operations and even Heavy Equipment Mechanics) but some of the best times were while I acted as coordinator of the General Arts and Science Program (GAS). It's a program that's designed for student's that either don't have the grade 12 Math and Communications credits needed for applying to a science-based diploma program or they aren't necessarily ready for a college diploma program. Some are also older students who are unsure of what college program to eventually apply to. When they finish my program they are then free to apply to any program they wish. Basically, they are the type of student I was during my years of post-secondary education — which is why I agreed to coordinate the program. Some may look at these types of student as, well, questionable. Let me tell you, they are some of the best the college has to offer. Two years in a row my GAS program has received the award for students having the highest marks (as well as enthusiasm and initiative) in the Sir Sandford College system. Andrew won last year and Trudy won this year. Andrew once worked construction and is now graduating from the Ecosystem Restoration program. Trudy worked at Tim Hortons and now will be a Conservation Officer.
I would like to happily state that the majority of students in the program are graduating and moving on to programs to become Fish and Wildlife Technicians, Conservation Officers, Water Treatment Specialists, Forestry Technicians and Ecosystem Management experts. Wow. Even the particular student I have written up in previous blogs — the one who had a porcupine pee on his head and got lost on a field trip — is graduating. Even I wouldn't of guessed that.
And to celebrate, the student's have designed their program t-shirt accordingly. It reads "I Passed GAS"
I've never been so proud of them. Way to go gang.