Are We There Yet?

Emporer penguins with chicks

Photo Credit:

This past week has been difficult for every member of our learning community. Faculty and staff at Sheridan are deeply committed to delivering premier, purposeful educational experiences for students.  The ongoing strike, and the consequent cancellation of most classes, is disruptive for all.  In my conversations with students, colleagues on the picket line, and/or community partners, however, I have been inspired by individual and collective demonstrations of our character.   We are a community committed to social responsibility, inclusivity, caring and generosity.  As is often the case, those characteristics are most evident when we’re facing a formidable challenge.

Since long before my two kids were born, I’ve been a huge fan of children’s literature.  As an educator, I’ve always found the stories compelling; it helps that most are superbly illustrated to make a covert lesson all the more powerful.  Driving in today, my mind wandered to two of my favourites.  The first is the classic:  We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen. The lesson is that – when faced with fear or adversity – one cannot go over, under, or around it; unfortunately, you must go through it.  That made me think about my favourite illustration by Jane Chapman in the book:  The Emperor’s Egg, by Martin Jenkins.  In the middle of a story about emperor penguins and their endurance through grueling cold and limited food intake, there is a beautiful picture of a community of penguins huddled in a pack:  “… when it gets really cold and windy, they all snuggle up together and shuffle over the ice in a great big huddle … the huddle trundles along very, very slowly”.

The lesson?  We’ll get through this … together.  Thank you all for your patience, resilience and enviable character.  Remember that we’re here for you if you need us: you can access Sheridan’s Strike Info page here.


P.S.  Also on my shelf at work is Are We There Yet?, by Dandi Daley Mackall, which details a long car trip and the question from two kids in the back seat who are singularly focused on reaching their destination.  The illustrations and angst were germane because I’m asked multiple times each day how long the strike will last, to which I can only reply:  “Whooshing air, trucker’s stare, there went brother’s underwear.  Snickering.  Bickering, nothing’s fair.” That line sounds a lot better than … “Soon, I hope”.