I Am A Whittier Teacher | INDIE ALASKA
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I Am A Whittier Teacher | INDIE ALASKA


We are in Whittier, Alaska. I am a teacher here. You know, Whittier is different than, say, working in the traditional bush community. In that we are on the road, and we’re fairly, we’re a tourist town in the summer. But it’s…yes we all live in the same building. And it does sound strange, but essentially it’s a condo association. And it’s, you know, you get really cozy with your neighbors. What floor do you guys need? See you later Nathan, have a good night. We have everything we need really. There’s a post office downstairs. There’s a grocery store downstairs. There’s a little video store, that if you want to rent videos or movies, you can go and call her, and she’ll come over. City offices are downstairs as well. So all the city managers and everything, and the mayor work down there. So you really, you don’t have to leave if you don’t need to. I think in a larger community, you go to school. You travel there. Not in Whittier. You just gotta walk over, and it takes 5 minutes, if that. Depending on the elevator, of course. There have been times where we’ve had to say, our school day starts at 8:45. If we open the school doors at 8 in the morning, or at 6 in the morning, the minute the light’s on at the school, they would be there. I think the proximity of the building, where all live, to the school. It’s a very seamless relationship. They don’t separate that it’s school and home. It’s just one place to them. I’m your neighbor. We all live in the same building, right? Student: I live two floors under you. Erika: I have been with the same students for 4 years now. So I’ve literally had some of them since they were in 1st grade, and now they’re in 4th. And it’s like a family. I don’t have discipline issues, I don’t have classroom management issues. Because they know me. It’s like coming to school with mom. They call me mom have the time anyway. My first year or two, I had such a hard time separating that I was a teacher. And knowing sometimes what was happening in some students lives. But I’ve always had the rule, that no matter what time of the day, what time of the night, if a student knocks on my door, I will always answer it. You are always welcome. They know that. I’ve always been a teacher, and in a previous life, I’ve been a fitness instructor. And my first few years here, my fitness was always my thing. And it was just kind of a private thing I did. I would go to the school gym on Sundays, or wait until everybody left, and work out on my own. And I had a lot of community members asking me to teach classes. Last year, I was convinced by just enough people asking, that I decided to try it. And it has gone really well. And it’s really well received. It’s hard to stay healthy in a town like this. Our weather is really challenging, we don’t have a fitness center or a gym, other than the school. The school does have a full size gym, and a weight room that’s available during school hours. But beyond that, between the extreme winds, and the rain, and the snow, that challenges a lot of people. And so I think it just becomes a normal thing, to not move. And to not be healthy. And the weather is always a great excuse. And plus we don’t have to leave this building if we don’t want to. So a lot of people don’t. You know, why would you? The tunnel creates its own sort of isolation, in that it closes every night at 10:30. So if we want to go to dinner in Anchorage, we can’t usually go and do that on a school night, because often times, and I’ve had this happen more than once, you go to a movie, and you just cross your fingers that it’s gonna get out by 9:30. Because you have to make the 10:30 tunnel. And it takes an hour to get down here from Anchorage. And if you don’t make the 10:30 tunnel, then you’re sleeping in your car. Which happens a lot. It would be silly to say that you live a lonely life living in the building. Because, I have friends and neighbors, and students and coworkers, that are right down the hall. If you’re having a bad day, if you’re having a day when you think, “Gosh I haven’t talked to another human being for a while,” you can just walk down the hall, or get in the elevator. What people say when they visit Whittier. Well first they all go, “Ugh, you all live in that same building?” “Isn’t that strange?” And I think what people don’t realize is that it’s just like an apartment building. Or it’s just like a high rise condo in a large city. So for me it’s not that strange. That’s where I grew up. I grew up in a big city, everybody lived in an apartment building. But not the entire town.

About James Carlton

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100 thoughts on “I Am A Whittier Teacher | INDIE ALASKA

  1. There could be great movies about it – a new comer's story (which is probably predictable but heart warming), a resident's story, the story of us living like this in future, a story of a serial killer who's been living in the building and stays uncovered. It could be really interesting!

  2. Lol that place sucks what if your in tenth grade lol yeah fuck that I'd never love their no girls no kids my age no sports yeah no Ima kill my self if I live their lol to bad for you if you love their 😂😂😂

  3. Just fantastic! It's literally my dream comes true, since I used to have dreams in which there were such city-buildings with the same concept though those in my dreams were mostly much larger. Anyway, I'd love to visit there and stay for months or even years.

  4. Many years ago an Italian architect, Paolo Solari, predicted people would live in huge structures which provided everything so one could have a home and workplace in one place.

  5. I stayed at this building at one point and use to hang out with this guy and on the forth of July I went to the 12th floor looking for him his mom answered the door she told me he wasn't there but she still invited me in for dinner and she gave me some boons farm to drink I fell asleep on the couch and woke up on her bed with my dick in her mouth… her name was Lori

  6. Notice how the teacher left her apartment door wide open when going to walk her do, that is what a friendly and safe community is all about!  I remember leaving our home unlocked and widows open when we would leave the house, boy I miss those days!

  7. Visiting this town was surreal, I'd never felt so isolated, even only being there for an hour. It just wasn't for me I suppose.

  8. So, is there only one teacher who teaches all subjects until high school?( which I'm assuming they leave the city to attend)

  9. This place is awesome. What is the difference of this or Dorm living? Or High rise living in NY? Or Private Schools? Hotels accommodate at least 100 people at a time. These people do not have to deal with the crime or corruption in the lower 48. The Summer looks beautiful, full of greenery and flowers.Fishing must be amazing,. Fresh fish everyday. As well, they sure are ones not to worry ever from Skin cancer from the sun. I am sure there are bunkers below the Blg. IF there is a Nuke bomb. These People are the smart ones. ~~ And Anchorage is only one hour away~

  10. I love this little town. The people are genuine and generous with their time and knowledge of the area. We met so may locals that directed us to so many unique opportunities. Example: catching salmon by hand. Its was awesome and my kids still talk about. They also have one of the BEST gift shops ever. So many hand made local jewelry and crafts. I am looking forward to returning.

  11. I heard that teachers in Alaska make a lot of money in comparison to the lower 48. I’m not sure about Hawaii, but I know it’s super expensive there too.

  12. While the lazy girl in me would find this a paradise (I hate driving lol) living here would make my social anxiety rise through the roof because it seems everyone would know your business and I like to be alone at least once a week lol. I would like to visit Alaska. I have a friend who travels a lot for work so she lived in Anchorage for like a year and she loved it. She was upset when her job made her move to Minneapolis lol.

  13. Why the hell they close that tunnel? There can't be that many trains going through… Every night….
    And why would automatic system wouldn't work at night 😐🤔🤔

    Or is there some reason I'm unable to think of.. 🤔😐

  14. She said shes been teaching the same kids for like 4 years and then goes on to say "last year i decided to pull the trigger and become a teacher here" lol

  15. Please watch this before you decide to encourage kids to be activists on "anthropogenic" climate change. And if you dont teach this, pass it on to one who does. Because what she shows is true, factual and proven by experts. The numbers may be different but the civil and educational programs are the same. I'm a long time Alaskan with generations of my family calling this wonderful land! https://youtu.be/3ibEoqrkRQc

  16. ..this is depressing for me

    Like if i had to live here i think i would AcTuallY go insane. Call me crazy, but i like the sun and… idk maybe going OuTsiDe.

  17. theyve gotta be aliens or vampires or something like that… theres always ALWAYS a truth under the truth….. 0.0

  18. I wouldn't say Whittier is a bush community in any sense of the title.. Its small but very built up, very accessible relatively speaking compared to real bush communities, very modern with all the modern conveniences fit for a tourist town..

  19. I've never understood the American distaste for apartment buildings, i.e. 'commie blocks'. It's literally the most comfortable and convenient way to live. It's also extremely safe. Who the hell would want to climb up to your fifth story apartment and who would risk a direct break-in with so many potential witnesses and an interphone system? There is enough population density that I have literally everything I need except my job within just 500 meters of my home: convenience store, green market, hair dresser, cafe, butcher, book supplies store, baby equipment store, pharmacy, elementary school, kindergarden, private English school, several bakeries, exchange office, Serbian fast food place, not to mention tons of greenery and a very nice children's park. In the American suburbs you need the car for literally anything, or more than 10 minutes of walking to reach even the crummiest most near-by convenience store.

    I've been asked so many times by Americans ''Do you feel depressed living in 'commie blocks'?'' Why the hell would I? It's the best of both worlds. Sufficient greenery, like in a suburban environment, matched with the convenience of an urban environment.

    These people are living the life.

  20. I live in 6 unit building and know zero of my neighbor’s names. This is more like living on an island than in a condo building

  21. What a pleasant and thoughtful young woman – gave a very balanced viewpoint both negative and positive about the location. I could identify with this because as a child I lived for a time in the Orkneys and there were similarities.

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