Each new school year I reflect on the significance of beginnings and what the concept of “New Year” means.
When we lived in the Arctic, my family and I had the good fortune to meet and learn from an Inuit elder and religious leader, Armand Tagoona.
Tagoona once said that the idea of a “New Year” often made him think about what it looks like in the Arctic just after a blizzard. He described the pristine whiteness of the new snow, aput, that not only lay on the ground, but had been spread over everything in sight like frosting on a frozen cake.
He said, “A new year gives you the chance to leave your mark on the fresh new snow that no one has yet walked on. You can choose the direction you wish to travel. Your footprints will leave a trail that will be unique to you, although others may choose to follow you. What will you do when you go outside and face that new snow? What route will you take? Will you be able to help others who face that same challenge and may choose to follow your path?”
Teachers and students are quite lucky in that we have a number of formal beginnings, one being the start of the new school year and the other being the “New Year” in January. For me, these points in the year represent opportunities to challenge myself to do begin anew, to try and do better for my students and to recommit to Springbank Middle School’s mission, that “We care our self, others, teaching, learning and the Earth!“.
As we begin this new school year, it is my hope to challenge my students to join me on this learning journey so that together we can make good decisions about the directions that we will take. With some thought, passion and hard work we can both blaze our own path and also leave trails that may help others find their way as well as we step onto this fresh “new snow”.
Taima (Inuktitut for, “That’s all for now”),