Follow your bliss.
I’ve always encouraged my students to follow their bliss.
A kid ran into my classroom shouting, “Bears on the bluff!” All my students ran for the door, faces bright with excitement. I yelled at them to stop because I didn’t know if the bears were dead or alive, and a student getting mauled by a polar bear would definitely not look good on my teaching resume. The kids ignored me, though, so I grabbed my parka and joined them.
This was my first teaching post, in Gambell, Alaska, where I actually could see Russia from my house. Gambell is a rough Yupik village and the teachers generally only last a year or two. I stuck it out for two years.
The kids ran and slid across the frozen lake next to the village and up the bluff. A small crowd had gathered around two bears legally shot dead by local hunters.
I was disgusted, though I tried to hide it. Hunting was a big part of the Yupik culture, and the villagers would us…