A day in the life of a WAYK intern is a lot like that of anyone else working on our Unangam Tunuu project – we start with a stand up meeting, we make a schedule, then begin working on whatever we’ve got on the schedule. But what’s on the schedule is a little up in the air. I might end up doing anything from helping some newbie project participants get caught up with the beginner rides to helping plan a hunt later on that day. The key to being a good intern is being flexible.
But all that’s a bit predictable. More interesting is the fact that as a WAYK intern, I feel most useful when I’m doing something that might be considered counterproductive in another job: being wrong. I can join a hunt and make a silly mistake (Hint to anyone thinking about learning Unangam Tunuu: the words for “pour” and “butt” are shockingly similar), or I can (hypothetically) be leading a lesson when a fluent speaker drops in and informs me that my accent is a disgrace (no really, this is hypothetical). And I can be wrong because I’m not working on the language of my own community, and no one else really cares whether or not I get fluent. Being a somewhat low stakes language hunter (admittedly armed with a general interest in every language living on and evolving forever and ever) makes me a model for how to mess up and then recover and keep going. And after a while, it gets easier for the local language team to do the same. So then what?
Soon after we got rolling making lesson after lesson in Unangam Tunuu with the local team behind the wheel a lot of the time, my role shifted into being a test student for the new lessons. That part of the job is a lot of fun – all I have to do is sit back and learn a new language! After we try out each new ride, we spend a few minutes on a lesson feedback form so that when the team who made the lesson starts making edits, they know what their “crash test dummies” (me/Robyn/whoever was free) liked and disliked, as well as what they as the teachers liked and disliked about the ride. That way they can make changes so that the next time they teach the lesson it’s even more effective and fun.
Lastly, as you can probably tell, there is a fair amount of blogging going on. This one’s a little self-explanatory – once a week or so, we all sit down and churn out some sweet, sweet content, just like this blog you’ve now finished reading!
Post authored by Casey.