Being afraid of students was unimaginable to me. After working for years in high-risk urban settings, I found it illogical to be afraid of these kids. I maintained an inherent belief that kids are kids, no matter what.
I also worked with a student at the detention center. That, too, was a very different experience for me. I had worked previously in lock down, but this felt more foreboding as doors clanked shut, buzzers buzzed to allow entrance and again I was never left alone with students. The entire experience made me want to get back into one of the village schools and see regular kids, kids whose worlds had not been so turned up side down.
In the villages, the weather was much milder than the previous year. Surprisingly, the lower 48 was hammered with snow and wind throughout the winter, but Alaska’s weather was mild in comparison. Wicked winds were intermittent and there was significantly less snowfall. I wondered how much it had to do with global warming and if the unexpected warmth would somehow alter the ecology. My musings provided me with no answers as I realized the school year was meandering along and I had work to do.
However, the second year did bring the unexpected pleasure of being recognized. Sometimes when walking out, people randomly stopped to offer me a ride. I was becoming a permanent fixture and I guess people were realizing they could invest time and energy in me since I’d returned for a second year. Some of the teachers in the villages seemed happy I’d decided to return. Often the turnover was such that rarely had they had the same support staff two years in a row.