not all girls wander on purpose

"…the best and most efficient way to learn something is to write about it, because it kind of parboils your attention, and forces you to really crystalize your intellect and… gather your information with great discipline (to) come up with conclusions." - Elizabeth Gilbert

“…I love to take notes- often for no apparent reason. I’m always marking up books, making odd lists, gathering examples of strange categories, copying messages. For some reason, I like working on some permanent, undefined research project” – Gretchen Rubin

I blog to learn and to make a record of my life. It is like writing a book without a plot.
~ Sunday, June 15 ~
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I am learning. turned 2 today which means that I got this job in Haiti just over 2 years ago. Time flies. 

I am learning. turned 2 today which means that I got this job in Haiti just over 2 years ago. Time flies. 


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I am learning. turned 2 today which means that I got this job in Haiti just over 2 years ago. Time flies. 

I am learning. turned 2 today which means that I got this job in Haiti just over 2 years ago. Time flies. 

Tags: tumblr birthday tumblr milestone
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~ Thursday, June 12 ~
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Today was my last day of teaching in Haiti. My class threw me a surprise going away party! I held back tears. 

How did it feel? Sad to be honest. 

My classroom has become my home. I have spent more time in that one place than any other place in this country and there were times when the heat made me cranky and the work load made me crazy but it was home. 

My class threw me a surprise party and I got the nicest messages from parents and kids alike. The bottom line after 2 years is that I am a teacher. i will be for the next 40 years in some way shape or form and I found my groove. What I care most about is education and I could talk for hours and learn for years. That is exactly what I plan to do. The hard question that I have been asked is, “What are you doing next?” Sometimes I say I am going to be an unemployed teacher and a great waitress (although I have no waitressing experience!), it’s just a line I am trying out. What I am going to do is put myself out there and fight for my next teaching job. 

I’ll put myself out there again. If you know of a Kindergarten to Grade 6 school in Montreal who is looking for a teacher who will fall in love with all of her students (even the snot nosed ones and the ones that whine all the time and the ones that think they know-it-all) work way too hard, get way too excited about her lessons, write down the funny things her class says and does only to tell everyone about how awesome her class is, then tell them to email me at awaggoner@hotmail.ca. If the pay is bad, I’m in. If the hours are long, I’ve done ‘em. If the commute is long, I’ve sat in Port-au=prince traffic waiting for cows to cross, I’m in. I am going to be a teacher next year so keep your ear to the ground for me and next year there will be more funny blogs about kid antics and the life of a Canadian teacher using Haitian techniques and getting all confuddled! 


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The Peguyville crew enjoying the Brazil game outside my apartment.  #haitichérie

The Peguyville crew enjoying the Brazil game outside my apartment. #haitichérie

Tags: haitichérie
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Haitians love the World Cup. The streets of Port-au-prince are electric on Day 1 of the World Cup!

Haitians love the World Cup. The streets of Port-au-prince are electric on Day 1 of the World Cup!


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~ Sunday, May 11 ~
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This was a class assignment. 

The students had to decide upon an area in Haiti that should be a National Park and explain the benefits that would come along with its protection. I am continually amazed at the way these kids view this gorgeous country. They have had their whole lives to fall in love with it, and when you ask them and really get down to it they see it’s beauty. 


~ Thursday, April 17 ~
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Where your first year of teaching can lead you…

mine has lead me of course to Haiti. The power goes off from time to time (but we have a generator and a groundkeeper that has our back) and there isn’t as much access to things as there is in Canada but my life in Haiti is pretty damn sweet. I have been able to experience the culture as well as have a maid, a driver and now a full luxury pool just outside my door. 

Some of my friends went to the capital of Ecuador, the mountains of Bhutan, the crowded city of England, the mean streets of Toronto begging to teach anything that walked, the supply lists of KPR and any board that would hire them, the backwoods teaching world of outdoor ed, the northern Canada Native reserves and the list goes on. 

Some of their classrooms (or lack of when the forest is your class) are filled with the finest technology, and equipped with all of the latest gadgets of the modern teaching world. Some of us (like me) have a mix of both. Concrete walls with frequent power outages. But the idea is all the same. To spend time with kids and to teach them a little and learn a lot from them. What I am saying is that no matter where we teach it is all the same, the methods are just a little different based on the kids. 

This job is an arduous one but as I think about taking two weeks off (one to see my best friend Marley get married) I think about how much I will miss their silly antics. 


~ Saturday, March 15 ~
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I am leaving Haiti…

in a few months. 

Can you believe that my contract is up in June, that I have almost finished my two years here in Haiti? I can’t, I really can’t. 

As a result I have been thinking a lot about this country and the school. I love this country without a doubt and would come back here if another opportunity arose. It is time for me to head home, put my head down and get to the grind. I want to teach in Ontario so that is what I am going to do. I woke up this morning and started editing my resume (again for what seems like the billionth time). Just looking at it made me get goosebumps. I hate job hunting, but I took this last two years to beef up my resume and learn a hell of a lot so now is the time to market all of the hard work that has gone into my first two years of teaching. 

What do I say in a resume (in under 5 sentences) that sum up the most challenging two years of my professional and personal life? I keep thinking of great answers to interview questions. 

Question: What do you do to teach to English Language Learners? I got that. 75% of my class is trilingual, the other 10% are bilingual and the rest of us are lame ole 1 language speakers or 4 or more language speakers.

Tell me about a time when you experienced a challenging situation that was out of your control and how you dealt with it? Your literacy program, creating interactive lessons, using technology, accreditation process, PLC’s yadda yadda yadda. Our fear when moving here and working for 2 years is that schools in Canada may not count 2 years teaching in Haiti as 2 years of teaching experience. We feared that it wasn’t the same as working in Canada or a developed country where things are more similar to the school system in Canada. This thought is always present in my mind and here is what I have to say about it. 

No I am not teaching Ontario curriculum, not dealing with Canadian issues with kids and am not used to the way things run in an Ontario school. But Haiti teaches you resourcefulness (by force sometimes) and to let things go. You need to pick your battles. If you freak out every time you don’t have water, or power, or can’t get to where you think you need to go (you often don’t need to, you want to) then you will be fighting always. You can’t put this North American sense of urgency and immediacy on a country that moves at a slower pace. If traffic pisses you off then 2 hours of your day will spent holding on to frustration. This has made me a better teacher and drastically changed the person that I am. I pray that I hold onto this as I transition back to Canada. This is what I have learned while here and I know it will bleed into my life as a teacher. When I am here I often link my lessons to Canada, to show my students a new perspective. When I am home I will often link things to Haiti. This country is so gorgeous, so happy, so full and the media is painting it as an unsafe, uncealn, unhappy place and it is the exact opposite. 

I feel safe here. I am at a cafe blogging, solo. I would be doing this at home on a Saturday morning. Same stuff, different place. Do the streets all need to look the same with evenly paved sidewalks? Yes, your walk to work may be more adventurous but you can still get from place to place on rocky Port-au-prince sidewalks. There is trash in the gutters but people sweep it up (sometimes they are paid by the government, sometimes they do it because they want a beautiful Haiti to be proud of). When you see a merchant on the street from dawn until dusk you may think they are unhappy because they do not live the way that North Americans live. They do not have as much. There house isn’t as strongly built or as orderly. But happiness can not always be read on one’s face. That merchant may go home to a big beautiful family that has just enough food to eat that night and more love than can fit in their house. 

As I said, I am learning. 


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   There are days when I look in the mirror and am happy with what I see but for the post part I look at myself and can’t see the good. I have been watching TEDtalks lately and scouring the internet for uplifting quotes and ferocious chicks to be inspired by. I am wearing a tank top outside (that is a leap forward… right?). At some point you have to look at where you came from and say, we have an unrealistic standard of beauty and I don’t care about that, I see that the media is manipulating me and I will be manipulated no longer. The catch is, it is ingrained. I watched a video today about The De Biers Diamond company running an ad campaign in the 1930’s about showing you love your fiancé with a diamond ring. That is where the tradition of the wedding ring came from (according to this video), advertising. If I had one wish it would be that I could separate myself from all of that supposed to stuff. I mean I have avoided the supposed to have a career, house, kids and husband before you are thirty thing. I have taken my own path but this body image thing plagues every friend that I have. We talk about diets, and the gym and yadda yadda yadda when we are together. It would be nice to say that the next time we get together we don’t talk about body image at all but heck, that is in us now. We look in the mirror and see chin fat not our strength. I see the dark circles under my eyes and don’t think of the hard work I have put in at school that week, the great lessons I planned and the awesome work the kids put in, I just see the circles and my tired appearance. I am a work in progress. 

There are days when I look in the mirror and am happy with what I see but for the post part I look at myself and can’t see the good.

I have been watching TEDtalks lately and scouring the internet for uplifting quotes and ferocious chicks to be inspired by. I am wearing a tank top outside (that is a leap forward… right?). At some point you have to look at where you came from and say, we have an unrealistic standard of beauty and I don’t care about that, I see that the media is manipulating me and I will be manipulated no longer. The catch is, it is ingrained. I watched a video today about The De Biers Diamond company running an ad campaign in the 1930’s about showing you love your fiancé with a diamond ring. That is where the tradition of the wedding ring came from (according to this video), advertising. If I had one wish it would be that I could separate myself from all of that supposed to stuff. I mean I have avoided the supposed to have a career, house, kids and husband before you are thirty thing. I have taken my own path but this body image thing plagues every friend that I have. We talk about diets, and the gym and yadda yadda yadda when we are together. It would be nice to say that the next time we get together we don’t talk about body image at all but heck, that is in us now. We look in the mirror and see chin fat not our strength. I see the dark circles under my eyes and don’t think of the hard work I have put in at school that week, the great lessons I planned and the awesome work the kids put in, I just see the circles and my tired appearance. 

I am a work in progress. 


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~ Thursday, January 2 ~
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Skating on New Years Day.


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