Navajo Nation Mini Documentary: Day One


Today marks the first day of my study abroad trip to Kayenta Middle School in Kayenta, Arizona. Kayenta is a town on a Navajo reservation. For one week, I will be student teaching not only for the first time, but as the youngest member on my trip.

For the next 10 days, I will be documenting my trip, so feel free to follow along!

We just departed from the Illini Union and are heading toward Oakley, Kansas for our first stop. We will spend the night and continue on to Delores, Colorado, where we will make our second overnight stop. With 16 future teachers and 4 vans, we are on the road!

Photo from Rachel Hernandez

I am both ecstatic and nervous for this experience. As the youngest and least experienced member on the trip, I hope to spend much of my time in Kayenta observing, lesson planning, and working in small groups with the students.

The teacher I will be working with, Mr. Placke, seems great! His degree is in middle education, and we will be teaching in a 7th grade social studies classroom. From what Mr. Placke has told me, they are beginning the Revolutionary War unit. Luckily, this is a topic I am familiar with, and I cannot wait to see what the students already know!

For some background, many of the students at Kayenta Middle School are from low-income families with parents who don’t speak English as their first language. In the past, the schools have been ranked as low or underachieving. That being said, The students are always eager to learn new material. Running sports like cross country and track and field are very popular on the reservation.

That’s all I have for an introduction today. More updates to come!



Class of 2020
I am studying Middle Grades Education with concentrations in Social Sciences and Literacy in the College of Education. Although I now reside in Champaign, I am originally from Vernon Hills, a Northwest suburb of Chicago.

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