April 27, 2009

Just some thoughts....

Some of my posts lately have been either a countdown, pictures of summer, or a simple " I can't wait to be here" statement. So, I decided to reflect back on our life in Gambell, and give a few tips for new teachers that will help with the transition. I found out through the grapevine here at school that some teachers have already found my blog and thought that it was an "unbiased look on life in Gambell, and that it helped in the final decision to come up here". I felt good that some people have been reading my blog and that my photo's and musings aren't going unlooked at. Although, I wouldn't mind if they did either because that's what they are- my musings.

Even though I am not a teacher, I have been in the school every day substituting as a teacher, or paraprofessional and agree with some of my husbands statements on how to enjoy living in such an isolated place.

The most important thing to remember (in my opinion) is to have a positive attitude throughout the year. It will be your saving grace (is your glass half empty or half full? always. always choose half full!). Having this mentality will allow you to enjoy life in the village and everything it has to offer without judgement or grudge that you are in a rural area. It also will help to come here with an intention to make your own opinions about things. Everyone is different, and it will have differences that they like or dislike, but it's important to keep an open mind.

Another important thing that we learned is that we needed to be actively involed in the student's lives other than academics. The school offers many different opportunity to partake in tutoring programs and atheltics along with spelling bee, and battle of the books. It was a tremendous help to be part of the extra curricular activities. They not only helped you with "taking up time", but you truly got to know each and individual student. This relationship will make interactions in the classroom a positive experience.

Being a 'guest' in a close niche community may be intimidating and some teachers keep to themsleves. However, if you want to learn about these people on a personal level, you need to get involved in the community. These people are very warm and welcoming to new teachers and are very eager to teach and show others about their way of life. Ask questions! I don't know how many questions I have asked, but I'm sure if you asked the multicultural teacher I am sure it's plenty! There are also community functions that teachers are always welcome to go to. Thanksgiving and Christmas are a good time to get involved as there are lots of activities going on. So, another tip for new teachers or visitors to Gambell, or any rural village- get involved in the community.

These things will help very much in your transition from the supermarkets, stoplight, fresh fruit living to the beautiful, cultural, rural island of Gambell. Please, if you have any questions comment below and we'll answer to the best of our ability and opinion.

Hope you all have a wonderful teaching experience. It's truly one that you'll never forget!


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