Well, I believe I have been initiated into the rural Alaskan lifestyle! Last week our sewer/water plant was out, causing school to be cancelled due to lack of functional restrooms and kitchen facilities. So, the ENTIRE village was on honey buckets. This meant not only no toilet, but also no shower, no laundry, no dish-washing... and no school. So, I was forced to relax and focus on UAF school work :) This also means I was getting pretty smelly and so was my house by the end of the three or so days! lol Kidding... kinda.
Funny, because this was a first for many of my students and also for all teachers out here. But, for many of the locals this just meant going back to the way things were just six or so years ago- using honey buckets and taking steams. My sister asked if I would be blogging about this experience, I told her I would... sans pictures :)
At the beginning of the month I was given the opportunity to attend the AAEYC 2010 Conference in Anchorage. It was SO great to run into former colleagues and professors, and also to make new friends. We have some wonderful people in the Early Childhood field. What I enjoyed most about this conference was the focus on birth through third grade. I had worked for an Early Head Start for three and a half years, and this is my second year teaching second grade. When you get to elementary things become all focused on standards and testing. The focus of the "whole child" and such seem to dissipate, which is quite saddening. The Early Childhood field always brings the focus back to the child- learning through play, music, movement, and art. Building relationships with the child and the family. These are the things I love most about working with children so it was good to be surrounded by this energy, if you will.
Also, I did give my two hour presentation on "Creating a Safe, Successful, and Engaging Learning Environment" and thoroughly enjoyed it! I had worries- would more than three people show up? Will they walk in and say they'd been teaching longer than I was born and walk out? Would I be able to give information that would take up the whole two hours? BUT, it all went well. I've almost always known that I love public speaking and the early childhood field, and to combine my passions and speak about what I love makes me ecstatic! I am hoping to present at and attend the 2011 AAEYC Conference so stay tuned ;)
Last, but not least, my wonderful mother likes to send holiday gifts for my students. It is so thoughtful and such a treat to watch the kiddos open their surprises. For Valentine's this year my mom sent some model airplanes, boats, and race cars to paint and build. My students really got a kick out of this! They were so focused and "into" their work. Thanks so much Mom!!!
The year is all downhill skiing from here. We are just finishing up Terra Nova testing (blah!) and March will be here before we know it. I am looking forward to April when, hopefully, my best friend will be visiting again AND we celebrate Cultural Heritage Week!
Misty Dawn Nelson