Hi All. So I promised to write more about Gallup and teaching here and I guess it is about time to do just that. I am sitting here on a cold, grey day with the threat of snow gathering in the clouds, so here we go.
Gallup, New Mexico is a very unique place. It is the home to about 20,000 people and is mostly surrounded by the Navajo, Hopi and Zuni reservations. There are few trees. Or at least what I consider to be trees. Sage brush everywhere, big open spaces and rocky outcrops galore. I have had the opportunity to explore a bit. There is an area that is national forest about 15 minutes away that has lots of pines and some good hiking trails. But most of the area is known for its canyons, arroyos and scrub.
I was surprised that I haven’t seen very many horses or cows. But maybe that is due to the fact that the open spaces are immense, and the scrub grass is not plentiful. People here are passionate about hunting and the Navajo are very proud of their heritage and work hard to keep it alive.
The town itself does not offer much. It is full of trading shops (retail stores selling Native American arts and crafts) that are really beautiful, but also extremely expensive. There is one coffee shop, but it isn’t open on Sundays. Most of the restaurants are connected to gas stations. There are a couple of bars, a library and two movie theaters. This is a place for family get-togethers rather than outside entertainment.
At the beginning of school I coached the 8th grade volleyball team. Challenging and often fun. Attitudes towards working hard at a sport and respect for your coach are different here, not quite what I was expecting. But overall a good experience.
I am teaching 6th – 8th grade Gifted and Talented (GATE) Humanities. My sixth graders are adorable; little sponges that still really care about learning. The seventh graders, well, they have an excuse – puberty! The 8th graders are a tough group, across the board – school-wide. I think it is just one of those years/groups that aren’t so great: super rude, bad attitudes, superiority etc… But, there are a few shining nuggets – thank goodness.
I have also been going on some good hikes…
Other than that I am writing a couple new children’s stories and I’ve started teaching myself to illustrate.
But above all, it has been great to have my two favorite guys with me again. I so love them.
Until next time,
Happy Fall! Gretchen