New teachers arrive
Couple begin careers in Rankin Inlet

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Jan 19/00) - A chance to start their careers in a new territory in Canada's North was too good of an opportunity to pass up for the teaching tandem of Chris Migel and his fiancee Natasha Whiting.

The Halifax, Nova Scotia, couple finished their student teacher program at Eaglewood school in Bedford, N.S., before deciding upon Rankin Inlet as their next stop.

Migel is teaching a Grade 6 class at Maani Ulujuk middle school.

Whiting is working as a substitute teacher until Feb. 21, when she will take over a grades 3/4 class at Leo Ussak elementary.

Migel says he researched the hamlet on the Internet and the couple received a lot of positive comments on Rankin before accepting the position.

A Grade 6 student at their school, Ben Shavers, was the son of former Maani Ulujuk teachers Anne and Al Shavers.

"We heard some very positive things from Ben and Alaittuq high school principal Donald Clark was also good friends with my old boss at Scotia Bank," says Migel.

"He gave us some information and spoke very highly of the community."

Migel says both he and Whiting had wanted to see the North, so they were very receptive when MUI principal Margo Aksalnik phoned them this past November.

"I knew Rankin was small by southern standards, so I tried to keep my expectations relatively low.

"I didn't want to expect too much and be disappointed, but I was pleasantly surprised by the calibre of the schools here.

"They're nicer than a lot of schools down south."

Whiting says the couple grew a little apprehensive during the flight up, flying over nothing but miles and miles of snow and ice.

Any fears built up during their trip however, were quickly set aside upon their arrival.

"There were a number of teachers at the airport meeting other people when we arrived and Margo was there to meet us, so that worked really well," says Whiting.

"Margo immediately invited us to her house for supper, so we felt right at home very quickly.

"The staff at the three schools are very friendly and supportive here in Rankin.

"Anything you need, they're right there to help you and I think everyone realizes how important support is when you're first starting out."