Posted by: gmelvin | April 29, 2010

First Word

“You will no longer be called Greg Melvin. From now on, the students will address you as Mr. Melvin.” 

– Mrs. Lucas, Pre-II Intern, Tenkiller Elementary, OK

I guess it took a while before those words really sank deep inside me. It was a small country school, with at the most four students in the classroom. My name is Greg Melvin (Mr. Melvin to my students), and I am a special ed teacher.

 Special education really didn’t “hit” me until that second internship. It was then I recognized the size of the branch that stood in front of me, and I hadn’t even hit the trunk. Students in this type of arena are truly special, not only for the emphasis a select few teachers place on their education, but for the desire of those students to achieve more than what the “regulars” believe they can achieve. The extent of their journey to the place others call “normal” cannot be expired in words or slogans. They need help.

During that internship, Northeastern State University provided transportation for my advisor, myself, and a few friends to complete a national presentation at the 2009 CEC National Convention in Seattle, WA. I was excited, not only for the opportunity of travel and learning, but a school of personal interest had a booth for employing special ed teachers in a unique district called Bering Strait School District (BSSD). I mostly kept that detail to myself. I don’t know how or why I came about them, but I did.

The trip blew my mind. With such expansive landscape and mountain ranges to feed the eyes on, I had suddenly given thought to a career in the Alaska wilderness. One of my first interviews, a man by the name of John Concilus was very pleased with me. I left on a note of uncertainty, although I was certain what he wanted. I informed him it was still a far stone’s throw of choosing to teach in Alaska, but he said, “I have a pretty strong hunch that you’ll be back. And I’m not usually wrong.”

He…was…not…wrong. It grits me to say this, but I really wish the month of August would show up tomorrow. It is now close to May, approaching the school year’s end into a new beginning. Near the coast of Russia, extremely close to the International Dateline, where 4 hours of light or night resides at the most extreme, is the small village of Brevig Mission. Population 300. School population 100. At one point in its history, 72 out of the then 80 population of Brevig Mission got wiped out by the Spanish Flu influenza. Relatively, it is now sprawling!

This is my first blog, and hopefully not my last. When I wake up in the morning, I thank my Lord for what he has given me in life. I should also thank Him for what He has not given, seeing that would easily influence the major decisions in my life. Nevertheless, it has proven fruitful.

I should move on now, and work on other stuff. Lots of packing to do!

Quote: Today from my SS 4th Grade Class

“The Revolutionary War did not end our fight for freedom.”

 – – – – – – Out in “To The Wild Country”



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