25 Dec

It was time for a change. Dave and I had been teaching in a small town in Northern Canada for a few years and neither of us was very happy. The itch to get out of the rut was becoming irresistible with each passing month that moved us closer to Jess’ high school graduation, and her inevitable moving out of our sphere of influence. The big city was calling and she listened. But what about us? 

Whereas I despise paperwork of any kind, Dave takes to it like fish to water. He navigates the minefield of different forms entailed by each job application with patience and grace. Or so I told myself when, in January, I had asked him to fill in all of the applications for both of us. 

In March, Dave came into the living room looking serious and excited at the same time. “It’s happening. We both got job offers at the same school.” “That’s great,” I said. If necessary, we were prepared to accept a position for only one of us with the understanding that the other person would find something once we settled into the new place. “It certainly simplifies things. “Where is it?” I didn’t understand why he hesitated before answering. “In Uzbekistan.” 

“Oh, that’s different,” I paused thoughtfully. “Very different,” I repeated shaking my head trying to absorb it. “The school is small. Only 150 kids, and the classes are really small too. Apparently 12 to 15 students,” Dave continued. “So it could be very good,” I looked up at him again and put the book I was reading on the table. Evidently, we were heading for a longer discussion. 

“Or bad,” Dave added. Being experienced teachers, we were well aware of the various pros and cons associated with small size schools. The less sections in one grade translates into more preparation because the teacher must handle more grades. “Having less students would be a definite plus. We could get to know them much better than in a large school. And the Asian students are usually better behaved so there would be less time wasted on disciplinary issues.” 

“All true. So are we accepting this offer?” 

“Well let’s do a bit of research on this place. What did you say it was called? Nukus?” I was not going to rush this big decision. After we looked it up, we almost backed out. The Wiki description of Nukus was less than inspiring, and was hard to ignore. But we are glad we stayed the course. 

We were right on one account. The students turned out to be as wonderful as we had expected!

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