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Monday, 9 October, 2000, 12:39 GMT 13:39 UK
Alaska seeks teachers online
Alaska
Temperatures can fall to below -50 Celsius in winter
Alaska is struggling to recruit teachers - and in an attempt to fill vacancies school authorities are making an online pitch for new staff.

In the past, Alaska has lured teachers northwards with extra money, but higher average salaries no longer seems to be enough to attract applications.

Reasons To Teach In North Slope, Alaska
Low risk of sun-related illnesses
Low risk of forest fires
"No commute longer than two minutes"
Low terrorism risk
"If your freezer breaks, no problem"
"Santa is your neighbour"
Hundreds of miles of empty beaches

There is a national shortage of teachers across the United States - and to find extra staff schools in Alaska have been advertising the attractions of their region on the internet.

North Slope, a school district of 88,000 square miles with only 2,250 pupils, has an online recruitment package that accentuates the positive sides of working on the northern Alaskan coast.

Among the top attractions listed are: "Low threat of forest fires" and "If your freezer breaks down, no problem."

Gang free

This is a more up-beat way of looking at the region's temperature, which can fall to -51 Celsius in a six-month, sunless winter.

But the website has details of other advantages to Alaskan life - such as being able to boast a low risk of terrorism. And another website describing life in the settlement of Point Hope says there is no threat from gangs - because there are not enough people to form a gang.

But anyone who is tempted to take up the offer of teaching in the Arctic Circle can expect an average salary of $54,000 and head teachers can earn almost $100,000.

Alcohol free

If you're really trying to get away from it all - and you don't want the night life of Point Hope, with its Whaler's Inn restaurant, then you might consider a teaching career in Koyuk, within the Bering Strait school district.

This school serves a district that is often accessible only by air - and then only weather permitting. And while you're waiting for the thaw in May, don't expect to drink - because Koyuk has banned alcohol.

If you want a career with even fewer temptations, then consider applying to the school at Little Diomede, an island in the Bering Strait, accessible in summer only by a weekly helicopter shuttle.

This freezing, blizzard-prone, alcohol-free village is a collection of houses situated on "steeply sloping granite rock that rises to 1,200 feet. Due to the rocky terrain, the only way to get around town is by foot and this can involve some steep, difficult climbing".

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See also:

10 Sep 00 | Americas
The Northwest Passage - without ice
06 Oct 00 | Education
Teacher shortage sends pupils home
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