(Full disclaimer, this first part is mostly for us. You’re welcome to read on or jump to the next section)
For the past few weeks both Kaitlyn and I have had a difficult time trying to figure out what we should do for the upcoming year. I wish I could say that our situation was black and white (should we stay or should we go?), but it definitely wasn’t. There were so many possibilities that we just couldn’t choose. However, there were a few things that we did know. First, we knew that Kaitlyn wasn’t going to teach next year and that we would look for employment for just me. Second, I knew that I wanted to try something new. This is where things started to get complicated. For the past three years I have been teaching high school social studies in Togiak. For the past two of those years I was given the job of teaching middle school students also. I discovered that I really like teaching middle school aged students. I’m a bit quirky, and they get my jokes, so everyone wins! I informed my principal that I wanted to teach middle school full time and presented him with several ways a full time middle school teacher could be possible for next year. Additionally, while I awaited feedback from my principal, I (informally) interviewed with another school district while attending the state technology conference in Anchorage last month. (For the record, I didn’t seek them out, they enquired about me and asked to meet up me if I was going to be in attendance at the conference; so I didn’t try to jump ship.) The meeting went very well; I think I conveyed my personality and passion for technology well with them. Unfortunately, the position they were hoping to hire me for never came to light, as funding for education across the state has been cut and they were unable to offer me a position. I’ll be honest, if they had offered me a position, I probably would have taken it, as it would have been a great experience for me, professionally. I was told though that the hiring director really liked me and Kaitlyn (as she sat in on our “meeting” with the school district) and was disappointed that he couldn’t hire me because he thought we had a great personality and would be great assets to their school district. I quite liked that compliment. I also wanted to apply for a position at school district that I work for now. However, I wasn’t sure if it was even going to become available. In the middle of last week, I was told that a new position at our district office was created and was urged to apply for it. I had two interviews by week’s end and waited for other candidates to be hired. While we awaited a response on that job, Kaitlyn and I were still in “what are we going to do” mode. There was a high possibility that I wouldn’t get the job, and there was still the possibility that Kaitlyn’s parents, Lewis and Myrna, would come up and teach with us the next year. We were both excited for that possibility also, as we have been planning on it since Kaylee was born. If I were to be allowed to teach middle school history full time, Lewis and I would have classrooms across the hall from each other and would work together every day. I’ll be honest, I was kinda hoping for that to happen also. So many possibilities.
Yup. That’s right. Kaitlyn and I have officially decided what to do for next year. I was offered the job in Dillingham at the district office for Southwest Region School District as the Secondary Education Specialist and accepted this week. This position covers curriculum development and training for grades 6-12 in the district. I will be in charge of curriculum development, technology integration, and state/national standards alignment. Some of my duties are to fly to the various sites and visit with teachers and help them integrate technology into their lesson plans as well as aligning their lessons with state/national standards. I will also give professional development classes to teachers when I visit. My job definitely will definitely keep me busy. I am really excited for the new challenge.
I have to say that Kaitlyn and I are really excited for this new opportunity. For one, I found a new job, and two, we know what we are doing next year. This job will be great for me, professionally. A little about Dillingham. Dillingham is our regional hub. It is located about 60-70 miles east of Togiak. Everyone from a village in this area flies there when traveling to Anchorage. It has a population of about 2,500 and is located on the water, just like Togiak. It is a fisherman’s town (a mixture of western and native cultures) and populations swell to two-to-three times when summer fishing is at it’s peak. Dillingham is an expensive place to live. In fact, it’s one of the most (if not the most) expensive places to live in the entire state. Food is not any cheaper and a gallon of gasoline is about $7. Monthly rent for a three bedroom apartment is about $1,300 and utilities run about $500 per month. Yup, it’s expensive. Did I say that Kaitlyn isn’t going to teach next year? It’s a good thing we have savings! I would be lying if I didn’t say that we were a little concerned that we may not be able to afford living in Dillingham on one income. We did some math, and we should be just fine, as long as we budget appropriately. No more wild spending sprees Mrs. Phillips! (Actually, if any of you know us, then you know that Kaitlyn is a saver and I’m a spender. So, it’ll be tougher on me.)
We are done here in Togiak on May 17th. The district office has asked me to come in and “learn the ropes” for the week following school ending. I presume that I will be getting my office space in order and becoming familiar with the district goals for the curriculum department. I will also be presenting at teacher inservice in the fall and will probably get my assignment then. We tentatively plan on being in the Lesser-48 around Memorial Day, (give or take a few days).
I found a tour of Dillingham, AK and haven't watched it. Sorry if it is boring and stupid.
Friday evening, Kaitlyn, Kaylee, and I went to a potluck at our vice principal’s house with our friends Heather Jeffers (MS LA Teacher) and Leslie Fazio (Counselor). It was an enjoyable evening. Annie Crabtree made chili and cinnamon rolls, (a traditional Crabtree combination). We played our favorite social bartering card game, Bohnanza. Kaitlyn and I are pretty good at it, however, call it beginners luck, but we both ended up with the least amount of points at the end. :)
Kaitlyn completed a new afghan. She didn’t want to write up a paragraph explain her thoughts about it. So, here’s a picture. I hope you get a 1,000 words from it.
Update on Kaylee
Kaylee is simply fantastic! This week she has started to figure out that she has a hand at the end of her arm, or at least that she can focus on this hand. She is actually starting to focus on a lot more of things. She stares and plays with the stuffed animals on her mobile and takes notice of the strange looking person in the mirror. She does, however, recognize us in the mirror. She is growing and growing. She is currently in some of her 6 months size clothes. We are past the sleeping all day stage and are in the napping every couple hours stage. If her naps are missed, look out! She is smiling a lot more, especially when she recognizes us. We love her.
Click on the images for captions and larger previews.