This week you get to hear from both Tim and myself. Tim has been out of town since Wednesday and won't return until tomorrow, so we have had two very different experiences this week.
I guess the most exciting thing that happened to me this week is that I took my first sick day at Togiak school. Some of you may think I must have been extremely sick to take a sick day. (When I was in middle school and high school I used to fake that I felt fine and try to sneak out of the house before my mother noticed I was sick and would make me stay home. I was a weird child, I know.) Luckily, Tim talked some sense into me and made me realize that the purpose of sick days is so you can stay home when you're sick. Once I gave in to his "radical" idea of staying home because I was sick, I started to love it. I was able to plan for a sub fairly quickly on Tuesday morning and then return home before students arrived at the school. I dutifully went straight to bed and slept for three and half hours until the ringing of the phone woke me up. Other than making myself some lunch, I spent the rest of the afternoon in bed resting and reading a book. By the end of the day I was thinking about the other 34 sick days I had built up and started to wonder if I could use them to take the rest of the week off :) Okay I wasn't seriously considering that, but it did sound nice . . . other than the fact that I would have to write sub plans for all the days I missed. I wasn't feeling 100% the rest of the week, but I was feeling well enough to go to school.
Friday this week was an in-service day. I absolutely love in-service days. It is nice to have a break from lesson planning and having such a packed and high demanding day with students. It's a good opportunity to interact with other adults and have some quiet time to work on some of those things that just always get pushed to the side. I probably wasn't as productive as I should have been, but I was sure grateful for it.
This weekend was so nice, particularly because we only have three school days next week to plan for. I felt like my lesson planning and school work was under control enough that I could spend some time on some personal things. Friday night, my friends Heather and Kim had me over for dinner and games. Saturday, I did some much needed house cleaning on Saturday. In fact, that is what I spent the majority of the day doing.
Well I feel as if I'm getting rather long winded and Tim has yet to include his portion.
Tim Goes to the Emerald City
This week I had the opportunity to go to Seattle to attend the National Council of Social Studies annual conference. This conference was held on Friday and Saturday (11/16-11/17) from 8:00am to 6:00pm. Each day there were multiple sessions covering topics about teaching social studies in schools. I love going to conferences like this because it reinvigorates my passion for learning (and perhaps my longing to simply sit and learn from others). These opportunities are hard to come by living out in Togiak, as travel to and from the village is expensive and requires a lot of time. I was lucky enough to receive a $1000 scholarship from my school district for professional development that covered the majority of the cost. I attended sessions on Writing, Strategies for Reading, Digitalization of Social Studies coursework, & Engagement Strategies among others.
Part of my time there wasn’t just as a learner, but as a representative for my school district. This year is a restructuring year for Social Studies Curriculum district-wide. All of the social studies teachers, some district staff, and a select others were picked to form a committee to update and redo our district curriculum and the path it will take over the next 6 years. I have been asked to chair that committee (which at this time I’m not entire sure what that entails other than keeping the ball rolling when frustrations occur). However, since I was already going down to the conference, I grabbed few business cards from the district curriculum instructor and then went and spent some “face” time with various vendors. I quickly summarized my district and student base and asked them how their product could help us. I found a few vendors that I really liked and set up connections to continue communication after the conference. I also spent some time with each of the major textbook vendors to preview their books and ordered samples to be sent to the district office so the Social Studies committee could review them. Overall, it was a fun time and I really enjoyed it.
I was lucky enough that Kaitlyn’s sister Carmen, and her family, live in Seattle and were gracious enough to allow me to stay with them. This was really helped me out because hotel prices were going to be outrageous. At first, I was planning on taking the bus from their house to the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle each day, then changed my mind after looking at the 1½ hour trip each way. Instead, I decided just to rent a car and drive. I’m quite happy with that decision because, albeit more expensive than the bus, gave me much more freedom.
On Saturday afternoon I got to spend time with my side of the family. Both my parents, my little sister Hillary, my cousin Sarah and her husband Jimi and their daughter Grace came to Seattle to visit with me. We spent a few hours at the North Bend Outlet mall, mostly buying baby stuff for Kaylee. We then went to dinner at a restaurant in Issaquah Carmen and Jeremy introduced Kaitlyn and me to called Tutabella’s. It’s an authentic Italian Pizzeria and is awesome. After dinner we all went to Target next-door and played around. My dad and I spent most of the time looking over different types of shipping totes because he’s building Kaylee a crib and wants to ship it to Togiak. We also spent some time looking at playpens for Kaylee. I really enjoyed visiting with everyone. It reminds me how much I like being near family.
Travel for this trip has been more eventful than most. Originally, I was scheduled to fly out of Togiak on Tuesday, November 13th, but the weather was too poor for me to fly to Dillingham. This caused a ripple effect, because in order to catch my flight from Dillingham to Anchorage I would have to be in Dillingham the night before. This is because the little planes that fly in and out of Togiak don’t fly in the dark, and it wasn’t going to be light soon enough to get to Dillingham in time to make my flight the next morning. Now, I will say that I did try, but all the airlines said no. I called Alaska Airlines and they rebooked my flights to Seattle and everything was fine. I ended up spending the Wednesday night in Anchorage instead of Tuesday night in Dillingham, but that was no big deal.
On my return trip, when checking in, I noticed that I didn’t have a flight scheduled from Anchorage to Dillingham on my boarding pass. After inquiring further with an agent, I found out that Alaska Airlines canceled my entire reservation, rebooked it, and forgot to rebook the Dillingham portion. After many lengthy phone calls, the agent fixed everything, but my original flight was booked solid (since I wasn’t in the system, they sold my seat), so I was bumped to Monday morning instead. This is fine with me; in fact, it’s even better. Originally, I had planned on staying the night in Dillingham Sunday evening, but with this arrangement, I get to stay in a swanky hotel in Anchorage for free!
On a different, nerdier note, this trip marked the first time for me to travel the entire trip without printing a boarding pass. I used my phone the entire time and it worked like a charm!