February 21, 2013

The Big Decision

Earlier this month teachers in our district were officially offered contracts to return for the 2013-2014 school year. I was out of the village at the time (chaperoning some of the best kids I've ever worked with!) but I got word through the grapevine that my contract was also being renewed if I wanted it. I'm not going to lie, I'd been dreading this moment since we returned from Christmas break. The moment when I'd have to decide.

To return to the job I love, so far away from the family and friends I miss? Or return to the life and people I miss and give up my teaching job in Alaska?

After months of pondering this question, I've decided to decline my contract for the 2013-2014 school year. I have enjoyed my two years here in bush Alaska and will miss both the students and the staff very much. However, I have decided that I am ready to move on to my next adventure. I'm not exactly sure what that adventure will be, but I'm hoping it will be a little closer to home.

February 19, 2013

Adventure to Anchorage: Academic Decathlon

This past week I travelled to Anchorage with eight students from our district so that they could be competitive test takers in a state competition. I know what you're thinking: test taking is not a sport! But for thousands of nerds around the country who compete in things like Tsunami Bowl, Math Counts, and Geography Bee test taking is their arena of choice.

Let the testing begin!
This year I sponsored our district's combined Academic Decathlon team and spent countless hours locked in my classroom with a group of dedicated students studying everything and anything about Russia (this year's topic). We studied the space race, Communism, the Tzars, famous Russian composers, art, the Russian Market, and we even read Dr. Zhivago. Months and months of preparation culminated last week in Anchorage at the state Academic Decathlon competition where students spent two days testing in math, science, economics, music, art, social sciences, literature and language, essay writing, and the super quiz. They also gave two speeches and sat for an interview with the judging panel. 

Super Quiz Relay lineup
Our students took 15th in the state and 5th in their division. Although our kids didn't win any of the scholarships that students were competing for (over $30,000 in scholarships, how cool is that?!) we did have one student win an iPad mini for being a high scorer in his division. 

What a good looking team!
And in our down time we tooled around Anchorage, visiting college campuses and eating yummy food. 

Touring Alaska Pacific University
Enjoying the marine biology lab at APU
(She's playing with a baby octopus)
Rock Climbing adventure
Sushi was a hit, even if chopsticks were not. 
Playing "what is this?" and "is it edible?" with
the spring salad. 
Needless to say, I am absolutely exhausted. Five days of chauffeuring students from place to place really does get tiring. I think the next time I head to Anchorage it will be sans-students so that I can travel at a more leisurely pace and have a drink!