January 15, 2020, Peach Springs-
This day’s assignment is one which is not uncommon, in an understaffed, rural school: I covered for a teacher who fell ill, of a sudden. The class has bonded with this person, who is their second teacher in this academic year. I was able to get the key activities of the day accomplished, and forged a fairly strong bond of my own with the kids, by day’s end.
What concerns me about this group of children is what has concerned me about so many similar groups, both urban and rural, over the years. So many young people cast aspersions on themselves, by extension, on their peers-and to some extent, on older family and community members.
A few of the more aware students, who are also the most meticulous and engaging members of the class, had mainly negative things to say about themselves. I only saw quality work coming from those students-and I saw a very thick coating of self-doubt: The imposter syndrome, writ large. Ten years of age is way too soon for such a mindset, so I see these, the best hope of the Hualapai Nation, being dragged down by the deep malaise-that infests Peach Springs- along with so many parts of Indian Country-and so much of the American Fabric.
I was told, later this afternoon, that it is likely that I will only actually be needed here for another week, that another round of permanent hires is expected, by the last week in January. Permanent is better, so I can only feel more confident in the short term future at this school. In any case, here is another group of children, another community, that has deeply embedded itself in my heart.