Hey Jo, Let’s Go.

I enjoyed reading the article, but the comments made me nauseous. Whoever Jo McNamara is needs to change his picture from being jesus holding the lamb.
I think that Berg makes a good point, that more native teachers should be teaching in the villages. Or at least teachers who have been privy to native cultures for some amount of time prior. The yearly turnover rate in education in rural alaska is 40%, which I find sad. I feel that in many cases, NOT ALL by any means, teachers go to get a foot in the door for other opportunities. When I tell people that I want to go into education they tell me “Go teach in the villages for a few years” because it is “easy” to get a job out there. Then what, I go for two years, teach, then peace out for a job in a place I like better? I want to teach not exploit. If I thought that it would be something that I would like to do, then i would do it. However I cannot see myself enjoying that situation, not because I feel like I am superior in some way, but simply because I could not live that way, and I do not want to try. Perhaps I sound arrogant, fine, but I am not. I am being honest. I believe that there are non-native teachers who are MEANT to be out there and educate students, just like some people are MEANT to be special education teachers or history teachers, or stay at home parents.
In my teaching literacy in the schools class we are discussing a similar topic, but more focused on the teaching of writing and reading. We read two articles written by non-native teachers in the villages, one of three years and one of thirteen years. The difference between the two could seen in the language they used in describing their relationship with their community. The teacher of three years referred to the village as “we” assuming herself as part of it. The teacher of thirteen years did not consider herself as “we” but referred to herself a separate entity. Not a superior one, but as one who is still learning, a feeling that the younger teacher did not emanate. The teacher of thirteen years is the kind of educator that I believe the villages benefit from most, the kind that KNOW they are the minority in their situation, and they are outnumbered. I think that people forget that. We can bring in as much 21st century learning, but the fact is that their culture is THEIRS and we can only hope to assist them in creating a hybrid. The examples of the Sami and Maori sold me on the future of Alaska Native Education, and I hope that the changes Berg suggests begin to take motion. I don’t believe all non-native educators should be removed, but an increase in alaska native educators would be a positive change.