Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Building rapport with students through fishing...

Teaching in a small village has the benefit of getting to know your students outside of the classroom and forming a genuine rapport and relationship.  On Saturday we had the opportunity to do just that with a trip to Humpback Bay for fishing and a day in the sun.  About half of the school went and we got to meet a lot of the parents.  The kids loved teaching us all about the wilderness and fishing.  It was great for them to see me struggle and make mistakes, and it be ok.  I predict more learning will take place when we return to school.   Marvin, an elder in the village, and Captain Bill were our guides for the day.  They had just returned from a successful salmon fishing season, so everyone was in good spirits. 
One of many bald eagles.  They're such an amazing sight.
Loyd and Andrew (on the right), I imagine are busy swapping fish stories.  Andrew is the K-2 teacher and he's an avid outdoorsman.  He has a great sense of humor and the kids love him.  He's looking forward to shooting a moose this year.  He's very good at hunting and fishing, which is very important if you want to eat food other than ramen noodles!  I still have a lot to learn, so in the mean time I wash dishes or pack out meat in return for the daily catch! 
The snow continues to creep closer every day...can see the volcano spitting? 
Two of the students helping out on the deck.  One thing I noticed right away about the kids in the village is their work ethic.  It's quite different than kids in the lower 48.  They're much more self sufficient and willing to help out to get things done.  I believe it makes a difference that they're "unplugged" from cell phones, video games and internet.  Some have internet and video games, but not many and they are outside most of the time.  It makes teaching a lot easier, because your not competing with electronics. 
My first experience pulling crab pots was quite exciting.  I felt like I was on a miniture version of The Deadliest Catch!  It's very exhasuting and disappointing when the pots are empty.  All this work with fishing and being on the boat gave me a better appreciation for eating seafood and the subsitance way of life. 
One of many salmon caught that day, mine of course happened to be one of the smallest, but I'm slowly getting the hang of it.  I tend to get a little anxious and try reel them in right away, instead of letting them take some line and tire out.  We were fishing at the mouth of the river that emptied into the pacific, so it was a great spot for catching salmon, especially silvers, since they're running. I hooked several, but most got away, part of me is ok with that, because I am not fond of killing and cleaning the fish, but there's no whining in Alaska and if you catch it you clean it! 
These boys know how to stock the freezer for winter!
This is how it's done in Alaska!  Fresh crab and salmon, doesn't get any better than this.  One of the traditions is spreading seal grease on the salmon and then sprinkling with salt and pepper.  It's actaully very tasty.
The many steps of pulling a crab pot.  1. hook the line by the buoy before the boat runs it over and pull the rope over the wheel thing, 2. one person pulls and the other coils the rope 3. lift the heavy pot out of the water, 4. open the pot, remove the crab from their back legs to avoid being pinched and put in the holding tub, 5. add more bait, 6. in unison throw the crab pot back into the ocean.  Get ready to do it all over again. All this while listening to Captain Bill yell out the orders and remind you of how much of a wimp you are!  Good times 
Captain Bill's a great guy, very funny and taught us a lot.  He has some great fishing stories. 
We were all excited with the number of crab we got and were able to take as much home as we wanted.
These kids have no fear...Brandon up in the crows nest signaling it was a great day :)


Dr. Don said...

I so enjoy your story and pictures. Thanks for sharing! You are going to have a great year.

Anonymous said...

Candace -- I am the editor of The Rock Magazine and have been trying to email you but it keeps getting returned. I want to write a story about your adventures in Alaska. Can you explain your career and how you ended up there? I am writing a theme on diversity. It would be great to show the leadership of a graduate working with Native Alaskans. Do you feel you are helping the cause of diversity? Why. Please respond right way. I am on deadline.

Gordon Ovenshine