This week I've learned that to have a successful year teaching in Alaska means being flexible, self sufficient, and having a good sense of humor. All of which I believe are strengths of mine. Being in small schools that average 30 students and 3 teachers means taking on more roles than just the teacher and working together as a team to get things done. We like to consider ourselves as creative problem solvers. Together we managed to set up the entire school for the first day, its great to have two male teachers for moving furniture and killing bugs! The best part about teaching in a small village is the opportunity to get to know each student in and out of school. Several of the students showed us around the village on their hondas (the main source of transportation) and this weekend we were all invited to go with a few of our students on a fishing boat to Humpback Bay, but because of the wind it’s been postponed.
Weather in Alaska is always changing and varies drastically throughout the state. Perryville has very mild winters and not much more snow than Pittsburgh, compared to Fairbanks, which experiences heavy snowfall and -50 degree temperatures in the winter. Being an itinerant teacher and traveling to 5 villages weather and bush pilots are a huge part of my life. It’s great being able to plan my own schedule and our travel coordinator is very accommodating, but the weather has the final say. I’m told to plan on being weathered in and out of villages, hence the need for being self sufficient, if I don’t plan and bring extra food, I guess it’s off to the river with my new fishing pole for dinner!