Sunday, August 28, 2016


Some people say that change is good. But I’m having a difficult time believing that people have a grasp on what is good for us. For example, people in our country have decided that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the two best choices to be our leader. Some people also believe that eating human placenta is a healthy and perfectly normal thing to do. I believe that people aren’t very smart. But, I’m going to go ahead and agree with those who think change is good because we’ve had a lot of it in the past few months.

With a heavy heart, Monica and I decided to leave Nunam Iqua and teach at Point Hope, Alaska. We loved living in Nunam Iqua. We have good friends there, the school treated us well, and we love the kids. But we wanted to see another part of Alaska, preferable a part above the Arctic Circle. So here we are in Point Hope. I signed my contract last March to teacher in Point Hope. Monica was already here since last February, teaching kindergarten. But they needed a 4th grade and a 4-5 grade teacher, so that’s what we were going to do. But as it turns out, more changes were ahead. 

At our new teacher inservice, my new principal casually asked me what grades I was certified to teach. I heard myself say “K-8” before I was able to make all sounds stop coming out of my mouth. (Which is a difficult thing for me to do on a good day.) I knew instantly that something was up. There is only one reason she would want to know why; change. But change is good, right? I knew that some teachers’ certification only went from K-6 while others went from K-4th grade. I also knew that most teachers are deathly afraid of teaching middle school. Including this teacher. But I had a feeling what change was coming next and I was correct with that feeling. I’m the new middle school teacher at Tikigaq School in Point Hope.

The reason I was nervous about teaching middle school was because I remember a younger version of myself while in middle school. I was a mess. My voice sounded funny and I found I really liked girls. Trouble was that girls did not see me as someone they wanted to talk to, or be seen with, or even admit that I was alive. So my middle school self decided that I would make sure they noticed me. So I began to ‘perform’ in class. Not in the academic way, but in the dorky, striving for attention sort of way. I did get the attention, but it was because I was solidifying myself as a member of the weirdos. And I was solidifying myself as a pain in the ass to the teachers. And there were a lot of us. So, this is why most people are afraid of teaching middle school. Most of us were part of the pain in the ass group.

So, I’m with the people who say that change is good. Maybe it’s because middle schoolers are my people. I probably have more in common with middle schoolers than any other group of people. They ask a lot of bizarre questions, but take the bizarre answers in in stride. Sometimes they make me fearful about our future and other times I’m quite confident they will lead us in the right direction. After all, they are not the ones responsible for the Trump/Clinton election. 


  1. I am a teacher in a suburb of Massachusetts. I teach 7th grade English Language Arts and we read the book Call of the Wild. I am looking to connect with a teacher in rural Alaska who is interested in having their classroom share about their lives in Alaska. Last year, we did connect with a classroom, and it was a wonderful experience. We sent their classroom things about New England and Skyped with the class. Please contact me if you are interested, or know a teacher in your school that would be interested in connecting our classrooms. My email is I look forward to hearing from you! Good luck with your school year.

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  3. A friend of mine just suggested your blog. Great stuff! I hope you're enjoying Point Hope. I taught right next door in Kivalina my first year. Wasn't quite remote enough for me. I'm signing up for my fourth year in Diomede.