Rural Alaska Teaching
First Teaching Job
After graduating from college I set out for Alaska because I wanted a chance to experience life and gain experience. I ended up in a village of about 900 people in far western Alaska. The Cu'pik eskimos had been a subsistence village up until about 50 years ago and many of the older villagers still utilized many of the traditional techniques. Trying to gain traction in the classroom was difficult on many levels. First of all, many of the kids had very little desire to study and very little parental support in their educational endeavors. My second obstacle was that I was the only middle school social studies teacher in the village, and I was provided with no guidance about what to teach. I was most successful in overcoming the first obstacle by making an effort to learn about their culture and taking an interest in their lives. I overcame the second obstacle by planning vertically with the high school social studies teacher.