Friday, May 7, 2010

Another Year Ends

One more year has come to a close on the North Slope. Today was our last day of school and as we said good bye to the students for the summer, I thought about how much they have grown over the past two years that I have been at this school. I feel so lucky to be a part of their lives and also to have had this opportunity to be a part of such a unique community.

Next year will bring about many changes to our school. Our principal for the past two years is leaving us to begin her retirement and that will be very difficult for most of us. She has definitely effected the way that I developed as a teacher since she has really helped guide me in the early years of my career. We do welcome our in-coming principal and are all excited to see what she will bring to our school.

There is also quite a bit of moving around happening in our school. Next year I will once again go back to teaching a 6th/7th grade self-contained classroom. This rowdy group of 13 should be quite fun as I have had the same crew for this past year. Neal, my fiancee, will also be changing his teaching assignment to cover the kindergarten/first grade classroom. He will have quite the group tots that should be loads of entertainment for us all. We're both very excited to be returning next year to work with these kids.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Cultural Connections

Yes, I know I'm a slacker and haven't posted in a few months. I'll try to do better.

Today, we had an inservice where we were "adopted" by members of the community. It was a great way to get a first hand look at the history of our village and learn more about the Inupiat culture. We were taken in by two members of the community, both who are very active in the church and try to pass on values they find important to the younger generations. It was a really interesting way to learn more about the community we are living in.

One of the people who adopted the teachers today is an 82 year old guitar playing, ulu making man. Mr. Johnny Nayukok had started working around this village when he was a young man, driving coal from out of the mines to Barrow. He has never had any formal schooling and doesn't speak English. Our home-school facilitator was there to translate for us and listening to him speak was amazing. I think that it is so important that there are elders like himself that still speak the Inupiaq language and can pass on to his children and grand-children this language.

The two hours that we spent learning about the community and looking at pictures of the history of our village was a great way to get involved with the people around us.