After my crazy day shopping and shipping in Anchorage, all of the new teachers of the Lake and Peninsula School District flew to King Salmon, Alaska for a new staff training. On the morning of Thursday, August 8th, we all headed to the Anchorage airport and boarded a “little big plane.” Mind you, this was before I flew on the 8-seater bush plane, and I was still a little bit nervous! Little did I know what I would be flying on two days later!
After about an hour in the air, we landed in beautiful King Salmon. Our district put us up in the King Salmon Lodge, a beautiful resort located on the Naknek River.
Again, let me please rave about my district for one more minute here. I am already so impressed with Lake and Peninsula and the trouble they take to make their teachers happy. Every step of the way, they’ve held my hand and made sure that I’m on track. I haven’t felt misguided or lost even once during this transition. That’s saying a lot given the amount of information new teachers have to keep track of when changing locations, schools, and curriculum!
Despite my itching to go outside and explore the gorgeous surroundings, we had to stay inside and focus on the in-service. Oh, the joys of being an adult with a job! There was a lot of information crammed into our brains from computer programs to assessments to safety in rural Alaska, but I didn’t feel as if my district overdid it. I got a decent grasp of some of the new strategies I’ll be using in LPSD which will prove very helpful at the beginning of the year.
On the second day, I decided to get some fresh air during our break before dinner. After hearing a pretty terrifying story about a special education teacher in my district who was killed by wolves several years ago, I asked several people at the lodge if it was safe to go for a walk. “Just stay on the road and make lots of noise!” was their suggestion. So, I put on a brave face and went for a brisk walk by myself, singing loudly all the way.
Obviously, I survived my walk. I bet you a million dollars that I’ll be laughing at this post a year from now saying, “I can’t believe I was scared to go on a little stroll!” But, there is a certain reality that I have to face living in The Last Frontier. Although this is arguably the most beautiful place in the world, there are real dangers that I’ll have to face. Bears, wolves, moose, ice cracking, unsteady riverbanks, hypothermia, etc. are genuine concerns. I’ll have to be careful this year and educate myself regarding safety procedures. That being said, I plan on taking full advantage of the wilderness life. I just have to stay smart.
I’m positive that this year will be filled with exciting and challenging experiences, both in living and in teaching. I already feel like I’ve grown so much in only a week! The beauty of this place continues to astound me. I can’t wait to show you all pictures of Newhalen, my school, and the surrounding areas.