What happened when I tried to become a substitute teacher
In December 2021, it became clear that the latest COVID-19 variant — omicron — would impact schools after the holiday break. Thanks to the widespread accessibility of vaccines, the mild nature of omicron infections, and nearly two years of protocols that limit COVID transmissions inside schools remarkably well, I was not worried about sending my kids — a 7th grader and 10th grader — to their large public schools in our 60,000-person Connecticut town. Even more importantly, they were not worried. They wanted to go back to school.
We all knew, though, that opening schools would require having enough grown-ups — in all buildings, most classrooms, many periods, every day. And clearly omicron wasn’t going to let that happen. Teachers, paraprofessionals, aides, administrators, custodians, security officers, and all the other essential adults in the school community would have to take days off for a variety of reasons — symptomatic COVID cases, asymptomatic COVID cases, symptoms that were caused by something other than COVID, quarantined kids or other family members, not to mention PTO for dentist appointments, out-of-town weddings, personal days, and all the other relics of pre-pandemic life.
Source: What happened when I tried to become a substitute teacher | by Makaela Kingsley | Jan, 2022 | Medium
Mr. Waterman is a former national park ranger and the author of National Geographic’s “Atlas of the National Parks.”
“Secluded in the far-flung Gates of the Arctic National Park in northwestern Alaska, the flooded Noatak River pushed our raft downstream into a brisk wind. Caribou trails spider-webbed the hillsides, while cumulus clouds gathered like ripened fruit above a valley so vast that you could feel lost without binoculars and frequent map consultations.
To avoid crashing into the banks, I had to keep sharp eyes on the surging river and hands on the oars. Since extreme rainfall had lifted the river out of its banks (and delayed our floatplane flight in from Bettles, Alaska, for three days), every potential campsite had been sluiced over with silt and left soaking wet.
Thirty-six years had passed since I had last worked as a guide on the Noatak River. This year, instead of simply enjoying a float down memory lane in the wildest country imaginable, I was stunned by how climate change had radically altered the place I once knew.
Drawn to wild places all my life for spiritual renewal, I had chosen the Noatak as the ultimate wilderness trip to share with my 15-year-old son, Alistair, and another family. I had also come to escape the record heat and forest fire smoke in Colorado for what I believed would be a cool interlude in the Far North.”