Polski3's View from Here

Quote of some personal revelence: "Is a dream a lie, that don't come true, or is it something worse?"

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Off to the Rez.....

Back in my college days, I often spent Spring Break in Phoenix visiting my Grandma and an uncle who lived there, and going to Spring Training Baseball games. Way back in during Spring Break in 1984, in the midst of my semester of student teaching at the local high school, I decided to do a bit of job hunting while I was in the "Valley of the Sun". One afternoon, I headed over to the lovely campus of Arizona State University to take a look at their "teachers wanted" postings. There were several for the Phoenix metro area and some in places I'd never heard of, even thought I thought I knew my Arizona Geography pretty well. Anyhow, I ended up applying for several of the Arizona jobs in my subject area, knowing that at the time, it would not be too difficult to obtain an Arizona Teaching Credential to add to the California Teaching Credential I had almost earned.

Anyhow, I had several interviews in southern California. One of them, I decided I wouldn't accept even if they offered me a job, because the place was just too polluted. Locally, I had a good shot at several teaching jobs, but there was not that much demand at that time for teachers with my credential. One of the jobs went to someone with political connections, even though I was the most qualified. Anyhow, In early July, I got a call from one of the Arizona schools asking if I'd like to come up there for an interview. I said sure, I'll come up there for an interview. It was for a public school up in far Northeastern Arizona, on the Navajo Reservation. It was a long drive, looking at country I'd never gazed upon before. But it was pretty country. I like "rocks" and there are plenty of those to see in Northern Arizona. The interview was conducted in an informal manner by the Chair of the high school English department, Mr. L (as I found out later, was a department of two teachers), and the acting superintendent, Mrs. R. I thought the interview went well, and they told me the usual, "we'll let you know" statement. I asked if they had an idea when they might get back to me, and they said probably in about two weeks.

Back home, I'd barely gotten in the door when the phone rang. They were offering me a job. A full-time teaching job. I asked for a couple of days to think about it, and they said that would be fine. Meanwhile, I called one of the people I'd interviewed with at a local school, Kenny, (whose grandparents and my grandparents were from the same little town in Arkansas), and asked him If I was still in the running. Mr. KJ said "No, they'd gone with another candidate, sorry."
I thought about it, and discussed it with my folks (my Dad said, "IT'S Full-Time isn't it, GO! And take all you stuff with you!). I called the Rez school and told them I'd take the job. "SUPER," replied Mrs. R. She told me when I'd start, asked me to try to be there about a week ahead of time and inquired if I wanted housing at the school compound? I asked, "where the teachers live?" "Oh," Mrs. R. said, "some live here on the compound, and some drive in from Cortez (Cortez, Colorado) each day. "Well," I said, "I guess I'll live there at the school." "Great," said Mrs. R. "Just give us a call if you have any problems or need help with the credential people in Phoenix. See you in a couple of weeks!" She sounded glad to have me coming to her school, and that was a nice feeling. As it turned out, she was a nice lady and the first of four superintendents of that school district in the four years I taught there.

School started at the end of August and I loaded up a small moving van with 'all my stuff'. I had what I thought then was a lot of 'stuff' as my Dad told me to take the bed and the desk, because there wasn't room for those things in his "new" library. I took two days to drive the 500 or so miles from my folks house to my 'new' home. My new home was a one bedroom half of a long mobile home, one of many mobile homes that made up most of the teacher housing there at the school compound. It wasn't much, but then again, neither was the rent. Rent was, IIRC, $100. month, all utilities included. That seemed like nothing compared to what I would pay back in California. And I was young and single and not too fussy about where I lived. I unloaded my stuff and drove eastward to drop off the rental truck in Farmington, NM. I was not too impressed with Farmington. Many of the people I tried to do business with there seemed to have an attitude towards people who worked on the Navajo Reservation.
Oh, WHERE was I ? I was at Red Mesa, AZ. Red Mesa is along US Highway 160 between Kayenta, AZ. and Shiprock, NM. It is about 20 minutes from the Four Corners Monument and about one hour drive from Cortez, CO. And there are rocks. Lots of Rocks. Like I said, I like rocks.

More later, If you readers out there want more of this story.

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