After a year of being cooped-up due to Covid 19, people are antsy to get out! Classes at PNA are no different, but there are still cautions and protocols to follow in order to stay safe. As the year has progressed, we have all learned more about the virus. With these understandings, PNA seventh and eighth grades courageously set forth to Utah with the intention to have a final spring trip reminiscent of years pre-Covid when every class “gets out!”.
The best part of these end of year trips is the bonding that happens. While there may be some “learnin’” going on in the traditional sense, the main growth is social/emotional.
Students left Alaska without a family member – most for the very first time. They had group requirements – cleaning up after meals, keeping the camp clean, taking care of their own stuff, sleeping in their own tents, looking out for each other, and many additional group dynamic, naturally occurring “tests” throughout the trip. For many, it was the first time they had to look out for themselves. And while there were definitely some hiccups along the way, everyone learned something new.
Sometimes, as a teacher, I struggle with what I should be “teaching”. The enormous geological wealth of Utah was all around us, but I chose to let the students ask the questions instead of delivering the natural history lessons. The stars were out in full force every night as well – and I let the students just take them in…. However, I am reassured by the idea that I have, at least, planted a seed – whether it is geology, astronomy, hiking, ancient cultures, camping, independence, or just plain trying new things. Exposure is just enough on a trip like this.
This group of young people, different in as many ways as there are of them, can be friends, enjoy one another, and share in a common, awesome experience.