This past week I had two different and separate events. At the beginning of the week, I went to St. Mary’s, AK for two days of meetings and Friday night I worked as a pinsetter at a Halloween carnival for the school. I probably didn't have to alert you that these are different and separate. All in all it was a good week. Except for the carnival. Man I loathe them things. A child’s enjoyment seems to be directly proportional to an adult’s misery.
My principal wasn’t feeling up to flying, so he sent me to St. Mary’s for a meeting with the local advisory school boards (ASB), the district’s regional school board (RSB) and our principals. Our school district is as large as Oregon, so logistically the district is difficult to run out of one office with one board. Each school in our district, there are 11, has it’s own elected advisory board, which helps to advise their local school. The regional school board works just like school boards in the lower 48. The two-day meeting was to hear from the ASB and try to implement some of the ideas that came out of the meeting.
My favorite part was talking with ASB members who had lived and worked in their villages their entire lives. I learned how some of our schools have programs that include traditional hunting and fishing into their curriculum. Students will spend a week or more in fishing camps, learning how to use traditional skills. Many people here, including my village, continue to live a subsistence life. Unfortunately, my school does not offer the same programs. Listening to people who have lived most of their lives in this area can give you a much better perspective about what the communities are wanting and needing in their schools.
Learning how other schools in the district involve cultural activities makes me think about changing schools in the future. It is common up here for teachers to relocate, and going to a school where trapping beavers is considered homework would be a great experience. Plus, how cool would that look on a resume? “Do you have any special skills for us to consider?” “Why, yes I do. I alone trapped a beaver and made a hat from his fur.” I would then proceed to show off my headwear, inspiring a look of awe on my interviewer’s face. The special skill I currently have on my resume, able to sit motionless on a couch for hours, doesn’t seem to enthuse people the way it does me.
The carnival went off last night without any problems. Other than me being there. To say I am not a fan of crowds is an understatement. The school had ordered the prizes for the games, but they didn’t arrive. The staff pooled our Halloween candy and used that for the game prizes. I’m not sure how that’s going to play when the kids show up at my house for candy and I don’t have any. I guess I’ll just tell them it is a life lesson and that knocking on people’s doors and then demanding they give you candy is just plain rude. That will be my cue to duck. My duty at the carnival was to run the bowling game, which was a plastic bowling set. Bending over and setting pins over and over for three hours is a short, young man’s game. I think I was the only one in the gym who broke a sweat last night. But I made it through the night with only a minimal amount of bitching. The meaning of “minimal “ is subjective I was told.
Having a busy week makes the time go by quickly. We also had our parent/teacher conferences and the end of the quarter. I was able to meet some of the parents I had not met yet, so now I don’t have to pretend to be hard of hearing the next time someone asks me how their child is doing in class. Sometimes I would pretend I was spooked by something behind them and just run away. The back of my legs are sore this morning from squatting and setting pins last night, and my butt is sore from sitting in meetings for two days. But, I know the worst part is yet to come: handing out only advice to the trick-or-treaters. I’ll let you know how that works out.