Why I’m Leaving

Several readers have recently asked about why I’m leaving after only one year in Alaska. A comment was posted on my last entry posing the question:

“Can you write an article on the realities that caused you to stop maintaining this blog regularly? You spent a great deal of time promoting it and gathering readers. Seems pretty typical of first year Alaskan bush teachers and I’d like your opinion on why.”

I’ll dedicate this piece to respond.

Reason 1: I intended for my Alaskan adventure only to last a short while. 
I walked into this teaching position with a pretty firm idea of what I wanted. Tyler and I dedicated the period after college to travel. Last year, we lived in South Korea. This year, we were either going to live in the United Arab Emirates or in Alaska. Alaska worked out in our favor, thus we are here. Of course, we came to Newhalen with open minds. We were very, very close to staying a second year until Tyler received a job offer from his stepdad. At that point, we knew it was time to move on. Tyler and I are quite open to the idea of coming back to Alaska in the future. We sometimes dream of buying a house in Homer or Palmer and raising a family. Only time will tell what will come into being. In terms of this blog, I stopped writing regularly after Tyler and I made the decision to leave Alaska. As I’ve mentioned before, most of my thoughts these days are occupied with our summer trip to Peru and our future in San Diego.

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Reason 2: Teaching is not my only calling
When I was in college, I decided to declare myself an education major because I knew it would set me up for the first chapter of my life. As a twenty-something, I wanted the freedom to travel and earn a solid income. My teaching certificate provided me that opportunity. After three years of teaching, however, I’m ready for something else. A teaching license is a great thing to fall back on and I’ll always keep it up, but education won’t be my only field of work.

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Reason 3: I don’t agree with the educational changes taking place. 
All right, now that I’ve ranted about how teaching isn’t for me anymore, let me make a minor edit. Teaching might have been for me for a longer period of time if not for the Common Core. Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re familiar with the drastic changes occurring nation-wide due to the Common Core. I’m not going to turn this blog into an educational debate forum, but let me state for the record that I am 100% against the Common Core and believe that our children will greatly suffer due to this unnecessary transformation. I refuse to work under a corrupt educational system that forces me to teach using methods that I inherently disagree with.

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I am not leaving because of a bad experience in Newhalen. On the contrary; my community and my district have treated me like gold. For the most part, I am leaving because of personal reasons. I cannot speak for anyone other than myself.

Let me conclude by echoing a sentiment I’ve written since the advent of this blog. Alaska is a beautiful place unlike you will find anywhere else. I know many teachers who have dedicated their lives to teaching in the bush and would have it no other way. They’ve uprooted from a lower-48 state and have raised families in one of the last pristine locations in the country. If you think a life here is for you, do your research. Contact teachers working in districts of your interest, ask honest questions, and don’t say yes unless you’re feeling 100% positive. If you truly are prepared to move to rural Alaska, chances are you’ll have the time of your life.

*Finally, as a footnote: Although I’ve stopped writing for the most part, please feel free to contact me at liveteachalaska@gmail.com throughout the end of the year if you have any questions about making a move to rural Alaska. I gathered readers and published information-packed posts for individuals who were interested in making the move. I hope that this blog can answer some of your questions and assist you in making this potentially life-changing decision.

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