BY KIRSI ANTUNES, SCHOOL COUNSELLOR
The beginning of the new school year started with excitement and trepidation. I am excited about beginning my position as the new school counsellor at ACS, something I had not imagined happening even though I had been a parent in the community for five years. Many unexpected turns in the past 12 months led me to this place.
So, I am recounting my blessings!
October 2019: Teacher-on-Call (TOC) at the elementary campus “What a day! At my previous school, the day after a TOC was in the classroom may involve apology letter writing by students, phone calls home, and classroom discussions about restoring relationships. I was often the mediator in the school counsellor role. Now as a TOC at ACS, I think some students were actually learning despite the fact their teacher wasn’t there. They were smiling. I felt welcomed!”
January 2020: Grade 4 teacher for the rest of the school year “Wow, we got through the day! I had forgotten about how much energy a full day in the classroom requires! I am so excited to have a group of students I can call my own. Today we did our first circle share to start building community. I’m thankful for each one of them and for my past experience that has provided many valuable tools for working with such a diverse group.”
March 2020: Continuing… “Ivy, my golden doodle, has become part of the classroom. Watching 22 kids play ‘catch me if you can’ with her on the field is hilarious. The classroom feels calm and the students love having her around. But, a black cloud, COVID-19, is hanging over us. We are starting some conversations about our worries. It feels good to do it together.”
April 2020: Connected Learning “I could not imagine getting through this teaching experience without my grade level team! The lines of work and home have been erased. The saving grace in supporting my own child’s learning is that I am actually teaching the same grade level and I’m familiar with the material. Thank you, Krista, Cheryl, Irene, Simone, and Sherry!”
June 2020: End of Year Meet at a Park “It felt so good to see everyone at a park today! My heart was full! I realized that through classroom and individual zoom meetings I had seen a different side of many of my students. I saw resilience, hard work, new experiments, time outside, and time to create. Getting to know the families of my students is also a blessing. I experienced grace, encouragement, and support as a teacher. I am in awe of how they shifted roles in homes and many juggled multiple siblings and their learning.”
Starting a new job always comes with a level of uncertainty and a hint of anxiety even in pre-COVID world. God’s faithfulness during last school year’s roller coaster ride helps me have confidence in what is ahead. I’m going to continue to count my blessings through this year and beyond. How have you been blessed in the past year?