American Indian Lessons

Tips from Chris on working with AI populations
In the summer of 1999, well before my requirements for my Master’s Degree in Education, and therefore my licensure to teach, would be fulfilled, my wife was hired to coach a collegiate volleyball team four hours from where we were living and I was going to school.  Initially I figured I would have to remain behind for at least a semester in order to complete my degree (heck, I hadn’t even student taught yet), but upon further investigation, I discovered that the state of Montana allowed for a provisional license that would allow you to attain licensure and then have three years in which you could complete your degree requirements.  I chose seek my provisional licensure and immediately started searching for a teaching position in the region of where we would be moving to in north-central Montana.  I figured that cold-calling school in the middle of June was not going to get me very far, and the first half of the day proved as such, but after exhausting all of the opportunities in the immediate vicinity of the town we would be living, I expanded my search to the closest towns in the area.  Three phone calls later, I called the superintendent of Box Elder Schools, and he was as surprised to hear from an English teacher looking for a job as I was to find that there was actually an English teaching position available this late in the hiring cycle.  After discussing my situation, we scheduled a meeting for a couple of days later when my wife and I planned on being in the area.  I could hardly believe my luck, but what happened next nearly deflated the bubble of excited I was building.

I called my advisor/mentor to see if he could put together a quick letter of recommendation, and when I told him where I was applying, his response was, “Box Elder, huh?  Looking for  a baptism by fire are you?”   My response was, “What’s that supposed to mean?” More

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