John Foley is a postdoctoral fellow at the National University of Ireland, Galway.
Tundra Teacher: A Memoirby John Foley, Judith Kleinfeld
First, he was a newspaper reporter, arts columnist, and obituary writer for the Anchorage Times. Little in journalism prepares him to be a schoolteacher in rural Alaska, where he teams as much as he teaches and finds out what it means to be in the racial minority. Foley teaches in the remote Eskimo village of Gambell on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea. There, he and his unhappy wife are immersed in the Yup'ik culture. She feels lost and isolated, always the outsider, as they struggle to adjust. Foley helps haul in a whale, looks out for polar bears on the way to school, and learns that a quick way to earn respect is on the basketball court. Winning acceptance is another matter. Later, divorced, a philosophical Foley moves far inland to teach and coach basketball in the Athabascan Indian village of Tetlin on the Alaska Highway near the U.S.-Canada border, where the length of a road trips is measured in days rather than hours. In Tetlin, he has given up women temporarily. Or perhaps they have given up on him.
- EPICENTER PRESS
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