6 hours + 14 classes + 600 students + 6 grades + 8 sessions = 1 writer with raspy throat and headache, toting battered guitar in broken guitar case (broken in the cause of literacy!), tottering from St. Stephen Elementary School after talking about writing and reading from own books and singing the Libby Song and the Toby Song, all in the service of promoting Family Literacy Week.

(But, hey, teachers do it every day, and I did it for years as a teacher myself, and I’m not complaining, just wondering when and how I got so out of shape for it.)


At the same time as I’m feeling a tad battered, I’m also elated with the privilege and excitement and reward of spending the day in the company of kids bursting with energy and enthusiasm and curiosity.

Walking down the hallway between sessions I hear chatter from the cafeteria, students conversing in French with their teacher from a classroom, not a sound from the next classroom where it’s SSR time, subdued voices from the chess club meeting in the library, singing from the music room. It’s easy to become inured to the pleasure of experiencing the variety of all this learning going on when you’re in the thick of it on a daily basis, but as just a visitor these days I have time to savour it and to realise how much I feel at home in it.

Thank you, St. Stephen Elementary School.





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