September 30, 2012

Teacher In-Service: Year 2

Last year, I wrote about my very first in-service in the bush. I introduced my wonderful readers to the joys of flying to another village, sleeping on a classroom floor, and not having to cook for myself for two days (yay!).

This year, instead of being sorted geographically, all teachers were assigned to a site based on what level we teach. For all of us secondary teachers it was off to Mountain Village!

207 Time! Sittin' in the
back like a boss...
When we left on Wednesday afternoon it was incredibly windy, the kind of windy where you know it's not going to be a smooth ride at all. But work is work, and not wanting to fly in turbulence is not an acceptable reason to miss two days of training. So I jumped into a 207 with four other teachers and prepared for the bumpy 45 minute flight (meaning I buckled my seat belt and put in my headphones).

The flight got off to a rough start, complete with the classic 207 "lean forward for take off and hope we have enough runway." Oh dear. We swung into the air and thanked our lucky stars that it wasn't too bumpy around Scammon.
Flying by Kuzi. Starting to get
rough out there. 

Of course, that all change when we flew passed Kuzelvak, the mountains that mark the almost-halfway point between us and Mountain Village. The plain began to pitch and swing back and forth, giving it an almost boat-on-rough-seas feel.

Did I mention I get sea sick easily?

Turning away from Kuzi
toward Mountain
By the time we were in sight of Mountain, I was searching frantically for an air sickness bag and hoping I could hold my lunch until we got on the ground.

Thankfully, the flight was the worst part of the in-service. The rest of the week was spent in the cafeteria with all of the secondary teachers in the district, learning about our new ELL curriculum (that I'm totally psyched about!)

Brushing up on Dominant
Language Functions. Woo!
Mountain Village also gave a lot of us down time to hang out and explore town. Many of us took the opportunity to head down to the Alaska Commercial to stock up on much needed things that have been hard to find here in town (plain m&m's, dog bones, light bulbs, fruit, and eggs just to name a few).

I also got to go out 4-wheeling with another teacher and explore areas of Mountain I'd never seen (we navigated our way from store to school making only left turns. No idea why). We also walked down to the beach where many boats are anchored on the Yukon River. It's a skinny beach, nothing like Hooper Bay last year. I guess it's more of a river bank than a beach... I digress. In any case, it was a great walk after a LONG day of learning.

Oh! The best part? I got to sleep at a teacher's house in a bed instead of on the floor. Thanks Doug and Barb!!!!

M. gives training a thumbs up!
We landed home on Friday afternoon to a village covered in Snow. Here comes winter! I'm not sure if I'm ready.

September 17, 2012

Attendance and Subsistence

Hunting season always makes for an interesting time in rural Alaska. It's exciting, it's hard work, and it's something that everyone looks forward to.

Brianna and Diana with
Jeff's first moose. 
This year we've had quite a few students and teachers get their first moose (a pretty big deal and an awesome accomplishment). Talk about lots of work! Moose are BIG! They're heavy as all get out and they pack a lot of meat, which means that they are usually the number one target this time of year. Once a moose is caught it has to be hauled back to the village (usually by boat), hung, cleaned, and packed for the winter. 

Tomcods hanging behind
the house.
Even though moose hunting is the big event this time of year, bird hunting and fishing are popular afternoon activities. There are a lot of geese this time of year and tomcods a-plenty! 

If hunting isn't your thing, like me, there's always berry picking to be done this time of year. Salmonberries, cranberries, blackberries, and blueberries litter the landscape just waiting to be made into yummy jam, savory agutaq, or frozen for use later this winter. My personal favorite way to eat berries is covered in condensed milk with a little sugar. Yum!!

Yup, it's an exciting time to share food, stock freezers for the winter, and work hard.

It also means that a lot of the high school students are missing from class. 

My Sophomore class is small all the time by lower 48 standards (it's pretty average for here with 15 students), but it's never been this small:

Yup. That's it. I guess it makes it pretty easy on me and it's always fun to work with small groups but getting all of those missing kids caught up when they return will not be my favorite thing to do. I sure hope they're catching a lot before winter gets here!

September 09, 2012

Missing Colorado

Every once in a while I get these cravings for home. They almost always have to do with the mountains and are usually at their worst in the fall when I want to be hiking or watching the leaves change. Then again they're pretty bad in the winter too when it's time to snowboard, and in the spring when I would love to be snowshoeing.... I guess I just miss the mountains all the time.

Today my homesickness hit rather unexpectedly when I clicked on a link a friend posted on Facebook. It's a video of a great band playing at my favorite concert venue. It made me think of the concert I saw there this summer with M. The artists couldn't get over how awesome the crowd looked from the stage and took many, many, many pictures... which is normal for Red Rocks (you can see why in the video).

Today I miss you Colorado, and especially you Red Rocks, can't wait to be back at Christmas.

September 05, 2012

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

This is the view from my classroom window. 
It's okay to be jealous =)

September 01, 2012

It's Tradition!

Everyone has traditions. Everyone. Whether it's a holiday tradition, a family tradition, a personal tradition, whatever. Everyone has a tradition. Even me.

Mine happens to be getting terribly ill the first month of school. It happened when I student taught, it happened last year, and it happened again this year.

I know, I picked a super fun one to incorporate into my life.

This year I am at least happy to report that I did not get strep (if I had I would've jumped on a bush plane to Bethel and demanded that someone take out my darn tonsils!!). Instead I contracted mystery illness 1.0, which may or may not have been a combination super-virus of my roommate's throat infection and my next door neighbor's flu. We'll never know.

What I do know is that this is the first time since I was in middle school that I've thrown in the towel half way through the school day and said "I can't make it." But that's what I did at 11:15am on Thursday. Luckily our librarian was kind enough to sit with my last three classes of the day and watch a National Geographic documentary on the Bermuda Triangle while the kids practiced their historical inquiry with a KQL chart and a writing assignment.

I, on the other hand, went home and crawled straight into bed with the dogs and about a million blankets (I had the chills) and prayed to almighty Tylenol that my fever would come down from it's chosen 103-104 range.

Unfortunately, the Tylenol upset my stomach so I had to relocate to the bathroom floor for a few hours (overshare? oh well.)

By Friday I was still feeling pretty crummy. My tonsils were swollen, it hurt to speak, and I could barely swallow. But my fever had fallen to a more reasonable 99.8 during the night and my stomach had been quiet for almost 8 hours, so I decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth and headed to school.

Bad plan? Probably, but oh well. I made it through the day.

My fever did spike again on Friday after school and I spent the entire evening in bed watching American Horror Story and drinking plenty of fluids. Secretly I was wishing for otter pops and ginger-ale, my go-to foods when I feel icky, but my laziness and general not-feeling-well-ness kept me in bed instead of walking to town, where I know that snack shack had Canada Dry.

I'm happy to report that after gargling with salt water and staying away from anything too adventuress, both my throat and tummy are doing much better. I think I can officially say I survived mystery illness 1.0 and hope I never encounter its upgrade: version 2.0