My blog has been up and running for about two weeks now. Apparently 30% of the people who have accessed my site – the address of which appears above – have also tried to find out About Jerry as well as searching for my Mission Statement only to find nothing in either place. Thus today’s JuicyLesson will be About Jerry killing two birds with one stone in the process and which I will continue to do on the morrow by undertaking the writing of my Mission Statement.
I am 65 year-old retired teacher who was forced to take leave of the teaching profession in 2010 after a career which spanned approximately thirty-four years beginning in 1974 and interrupted between 1977 and 1979 when I returned to McGill university to get my second Masters degree, this one in Library Science. I never used my knowledge of librarianship professionally except for a brief one-year stint as a reference librarian at Concordia University while I was still a student at McGill. I had also obtained my undergraduate degree from McGill, a B.A. with a major in Political Science (1969), and topped that off with my first Masters in International Relations from Sussex University in England (1971). The two years I spent at Sussex University near Brighton, in England, were two of the best years of my life. I like to think of those years as the beginning of my so-called salad days. After that, I made two trips to India, one across land and the second by plane.
In 1974, I obtained my Diploma of Education again from McGill. Much dope was smoked on the Mezzanine Level of the Education building on McTavish Street, north of Pine Avenue in Montreal as my salad days continued with no end in sight.
My first teaching job was at Riverview School in Port-Cartier on the St. Lawrence river’s Côte nord (North Shore). I had a hard initiation into my profession up there, working in a small Anglophone school containing a total of about 200 students (kindergarten to Sec. 5/Grade 11). I taught history in Sec. 1, 2, 4, and 5 as well as geography in Sec. 4 and civics in Sec. 3, six preps a night, six periods a day, five days a week. It was tough because I had not taken a history course since I was a Grade 11 student at Mount Royal high school in 1965; nor had I taken a geography course since learning about the ways of life of some tribe of pygmies which lived somewhere in Central Africa, I think it was, while a grade 7 student at Algonquin school in the Town of Mount Royal (T.M.R.) an upper bourgeois suburb of Montreal, in 1961. So I basically was learning the material as I went along. Thank G-d the kids weren’t that sophisticated because if they had read ahead in their texts and decided to test me on some material which I hadn’t gotten to as yet, I would have been dead in the water. In a school which had some Grade 10 students who didn’t even know that Canada contained ten provinces, I really didn’t have anything to worry about, at least in that regard.
I left Riverview and Port-Cartier after two years, having obtained my teaching Brevet (license). After a two year hiatus spent in library school getting my second Masters (see above), I resumed my teaching career at Bialik, a private Jewish high school in Côte St. Luc where I taught for almost twenty-four years, finally deciding to take my leave in 2004. I then bounced around the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board for about a year before landing what would turn out to be my final assignment at Phoenix, an alternative high school in Laval, just north of Montreal.
The first really traumatic event in my life occurred in 2003 when I was hit by a car while riding my bike, a Honda Shadow 1100 cc. This accident resulted in a busted shoulder and a knee, broken in two places. I ended up being out of Bialik for full year while rehabbing, first for six weeks as an in-patient at the Laval Jewish Rehabilitation Centre, followed by eleven months as an out-patient this time, at the Centre de Readaptation Constance Lethbridge located in N.D.G. (Notre Dame de Grace), a thirty-minute walk from our home in Montreal West. Both of the above-mentioned institutions were exceptional as is the Jewish General Hospital where I spent two weeks in the immediate aftermath of my accident.
The accident was definitely bad, except for the fact that following my recovery I cut down on my consumption of cigarettes from a pack a day to about three cigarettes daily, as well as joining a gym; but Scleroderma is worse. This auto-immune disease hit in 2008 and forced me to retire from teaching in 2010 after having been on sick leave for a period of two years.
This auto-immune disease, literally thick skin, has resulted in significant deformation of both of my hands (see photo) which I cannot straighten out, pain and fatigue all of which combined to prematurely end my career as a teacher at the age of sixty-two. I also had another brush with death (the first one being my motorcycle accident) in the summer of 2012 when I contracted a severe case of pneumonia. I was in the Jewish again, but this time for just over three months including a total of three weeks in intensive care.
I presently live in N.D.G. I spend much my time writing these days. Aside from producing a JuicyLessonperday, every day except Saturdays, I am presently engaged in writing my autobiography. I also read, watch television, spend time with friends, travel a lot and ride my trike, a Harley, something which I really like to do.