Greetings! I am Peggy and I am a fourth grade teacher. I have worked at St. Joseph’s Indian School for about 32 years. I started in the dorms and, after three years in the dorms, I moved to the school. I have seen a lot of changes in my years here. These changes have made life and education for the students much better.
When I first came, we had 40-60 kids in a dorm setting. Now, each of St. Joseph’s 19 homes has 12 students. Not only does this make things easier to handle, but more time is spent meeting the students’ needs. I remember my first Christmas here; we had to really scrape to find enough toys to give the kids even one gift. Many were missing pieces, but the kids were appreciative. Now, our benefactors bless the children with many nice things all year long. I am always amazed by the generous gifts we receive.
Our classrooms also used to be 25 students and up. We are now blessed, even a little spoiled, to have 12 students per classroom. This helps us work with the student’s individual needs. There are times I feel overwhelmed by 12 students, but quickly remind myself how it used to be. State and Federal standards have changed a lot about the way we teach. While at times it is frustrating, I know that following these standards will give our students the education they need to compete in our ever-changing world.
When I first arrived, my living quarters were on campus in what is now the Health Center. The Lakota Homes were an empty field, and classes were held in what is now the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center. Sometimes, I am amazed at all the changes in my lifetime here! One memory of my first year is having to pick sand burrs out of the football field on our time off. I remind fellow employees that there are still a few of us here that did that, and they need to thank us! 🙂
Each day, I have students begin by writing in their journals. They are asked to write at least two things they are thankful for. There are days that it is hard for all of us, but it shouldn’t be. My classroom faces the Missouri River. I remind them; we can look out our window and have plenty to be thankful for. Not everyone is blessed to have such beauty in their sight every day. I want the students to be able to see good in every day, no matter what they are facing. Many times, it a good lesson for this teacher to remember as well! My class has done a very good job at with their thankful journals this year.
The fourth and fifth graders got a new Science series this year, called Science Fusion. I am excited to work with this new and updated Science series. It blends so well with the skills we are teaching in Math and Reading! I have always found that fourth graders really like Science. Hopefully with this new series, we can keep that excitement alive.
I hope everyone is enjoying fall. It’s my favorite time of year. I miss the Ohio falls and colors, but have found South Dakota to have their own colors and beauty. I hope, as with my students, you can find things in your everyday lives to be thankful for.