Thursday, September 27, 2007


First graders are precious.

Every day, my students take their own attendance. It takes the first graders a little while to find their name on the chart, trace over to the correct day, and make an "X." They're getting faster, but it's still a bit more of a process than I'd like.

They're allowed to talk quietly while waiting their turn.

Yesterday, they were busily marking Xs and quietly chattering about... who knows. First grade things. I was arranging things for the day's lesson.

Suddenly, I hear "Asshole. Asshole. Asshole."

It was directed at no one in particular, and was coming from a nice, sweet, non-swearing kind of kid. He's also a strong Yup'ik speaker, and not as fluent in English, so I thought it a possibility that he just had no idea what he was saying.

I walked over and asked, "What did you say, student?"

"Asshole," he replied. Or so I thought. He was saying it funny. It actually sounded more like "Essole."

So I asked for clarification. "Essole," he repeated.

Then he pointed at my flashlight, which I keep close by because the power goes out semi-regularly and my classroom has no windows. It had "ESL" written on the side in permanent marker.

First graders are just learning to sound out words around this time of the year. He was quite proud of himself. "Essole!"

I had to think of a way to at the same time congratulate him on his great word-detective skills and also inform him that it kind of sounded like he was swearing at someone.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Put me in, Coach

We bought a nice sled from some students last year. We can now bring back more groceries and other assorted goodies than we can carry in our backpacks when we go to Bethel.

Right now, it just needs some snow. :D

Nice Rack!

When you move into Teacher Housing in bush Alaska, you often inherit the possessions left behind by decades (or, OK, years) of previous occupants. I've scored some sweet stuff in the past few years... dishes, silverware, cookware, shampoo (thanks, Christina), board games and pillows. It tends towards the kitchen-item range of the household item spectrum, but anything is possible. You just never know, when you move into a strangely numbered Teacher Housing unit, what you're going to find. You could score big, you could get skunked.

As housing units go, our current house (which is definitely a step up from last year's apartment) was pretty castoff-free. It did, however, come equipped with a stellar clothes-drying rack: