“If you want poop to run down an eight-foot pipe, you need water.” It does make sense when you spend some time to think about it. This quote came from an article in the Anchorage Daily News. The article was about an engineer, named Baron, who worked over the past 20 years to provide sewer and water to houses in rural Alaska. The quote was his, about how he determined the best way to “move the poop” out of the house. You may wonder why I included this in my blog. First, the village where I live, Nunam Iqua, is just now getting running water and a sewer system installed. I can appreciate how important this is to the community. Second, I believe they teach people in journalism classes that if you can utilize the word poop in the first sentence, you will grab the reader’s attention. That may be just the University of Nebraska, I’ll have to look into that. And third, I think the word poop is funny.
The first week of school is over and it went well. We spent our first two days going over the classroom procedures and getting to know each other. The school serves breakfast at 8:30, but many students were standing outside my windows, banging and waving. They were excited to start. Luckily, it wasn’t raining or cold outside, so they waited the hour and a half to get into the school. The weather here has been normal according to the people who notice such things. The clouds conceal the blue, and the temperature stays between 45-50, both day and night. We have had some rain, but only at a mizzle.
I have 13 kids in my classroom: grades 3, 4, and 5. I realize that is not very many, but I’m learning how to teach to three different grade levels at the same time. I am fortunate to have a full time aide in my class, so I will be able to have her stay with one group while I work with another. Now, I just have to figure out what I’ll do with that third group. Teachers do it all of the time up here, so I’ll adjust. The students are very happy to be in school and want to learn. It’s a very comforting feeling to look up and see so many toothless smiles.
In most villages, the students call their teacher by his/her first name. This makes it much easier for me, since responding to “Mr. Miller!” is difficult for me to remember. My students in Cashmere always called my name twice, since they knew I didn’t respond the first time. My wife does something similar, but the volume increases greatly the second time. So does my reaction.
Now that the first week is over, I’m working on week two. I’ll have five days to prepare for, instead of two. Since they appear to be attentive, I won’t be able to fake my way through it. Next weekend will be a three-day weekend, and I have a feeling I will need it. Having so many little people depend on me is something new, but it is a responsibility I want. I just need to make sure I have enough material to keep them learning, and not give too much of time on their own. When I asked what would it be like if we didn’t have rules in our class, one student said “I take a chair and bop someone with it”. I believe her, so I took her chair away. Not really, but I’m keeping my eyes open.