Showing posts from August, 2016

My First Week as a Bush Teacher

This year, I began my fifth year of teaching, three of which have been spent in Alaska.  Last Wednesday marked my first official day as a teacher in the Alaskan bush though, which is something I've dreamt about for many years now.  On top of that, it also marked my first day as Head Teacher, a position that has already proven to be incredibly involved.

I spent countless days, many of which I worked 12+ hours, preparing for the first day of school.  My classroom needed a complete overhaul, the school itself needed a facelift - mostly an injection of cheer - and there was a mounting number of students I needed to individualize instruction for each day.  Luckily, it all started to fall into place on Tuesday night, much to my intense relief.

Cody and Ben (the other teacher's husband) worked to do many little projects around the school while myself and Melissa (the other teacher) went to teacher inservice. That helped immensely in the general "get ready" of the school bui…

Teacher Inservice

Three days after landing in the village, I had to do a quick turn-around and fly back to King Salmon for our teacher inservice.  Much like our first flight out to the village, the flight back to King Salmon was unpredictable.  We were told the day that we'd be leaving, but the airline had no exact time to give us, and instructed us just to "call back the day of your flight."  So, at 8:30am on the morning of our flight I called and asked.  We were told that we'd be flying out of the village around 2:30pm.  Lo and behold, at noon our school cook (who also works at the airport) came zooming up on his Honda to tell us the plane was on the way.  Me, with a half-packed bag, then had to rush to the airport feeling unprepared.

The flight to King Salmon went well, and it was nice to get to go to "town" for a couple of days (King Salmon has a decently stocked store and a couple of restaurants). The first three days of training were only for those teachers who were ne…

Flying to Pilot Point

Last Thursday, the day that we flew out to the village, started in a complete whirlwind.  Our first flight left Anchorage at 7:25am, which meant we had to leave our hotel at around 5:00am.  After stuffing ourselves into a taxi with suitcases, dog crates, and everything else, we finally departed for the airport.  (Note to self: traveling with dog crates is a HUGE hassle.) We flew with Penn Air, which was nice because they are much smaller airline and allowed us to be more lax with the dogs and security.

We boarded our Anchorage flight in a generally calm and timely fashion, and headed for King Salmon.  The flight lasted just over an hour and was uneventful, thankfully. We landed in King Salmon at around 8:30am and shortly after we were whisked away to the district office to meet the administrative staff and fill out paperwork - or at least that's what we thought we were going to be doing. We'd barely made it to the district office before Grant Aviation (our next airline transp…

Moving to Alaska: Part Four

Location: Jasper National Park, AB to Dawson Creek, BC to Watson Lake, YT to Tok, AK to Anchorage, AK
Lodging: Comfort Inn, Ramada Inn, Young's Motel, Airbnb
Mileage:1,864 miles
Weather: 40-70°F, cloudy, rainy

The fourth and final installment of our road trip adventure involved driving through British Columbia, the Yukon Territory, and Alaska. Cody and I drove this part of the trip two years ago, and it definitely felt like familiar territory.

After leaving Jasper National Park, we headed for Dawson Creek, BC. My goal for our time in Dawson Creek was to get a picture of the "Mile 0" sign that signifies the beginning of the famous Alaska highway. The last time we drove this route, I totally spaced out getting a picture and was disappointed.  Thankfully, this time I was successful (also thankful that Cody has a better memory than me)!

After Dawson Creek we hit up another tiny town with a fun tourist attraction. Watson Lake, YT is famous for their Sign Post Forest. The forest …

Moving to Alaska: Part Three

Location: Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan to Banff, Alberta to Jasper, Alberta
Lodging:Two Jack Campground and Jasper Gates 
Mileage: 687 miles
Weather: 40-60°F

This part of the trip was the stretch where we passed through Banff and Jasper National Parks in Alberta, and it was truly something to see.  Cody and I were extremely excited about this portion of the trip because we'd skipped it last time in order to save a day of driving. This time we knew that we didn't want to miss it, so we set aside the time. As we left Moose Jaw, the hills slowly became bigger, and as we hit Calgary the huge mountains of the national park were looming in the not-so-distance.

The first night that we arrived in Banff National Park, we decided to camp.  Originally, we had reservations, but they were double booked, which we found out on arrival.  This kicked us out into one of the "overflow" campgrounds.  Much as I would have liked to have been in an established camp with fire pits and such, I actua…