Saturday, April 26, 2014

Spring Break: All Over the Place!

I just finished packing for Washington, D.C., this upcoming week. I have everything ready to go, and am looking forward to a week of amazing experiences and not having to drive myself anywhere (I've logged close to 20 hours of driving over this past week). Before I have anymore adventures, I need to tell you about all of the places I've been in the last two weeks - starting with Spring Break.

No, I did not take Spring Break off - my choice. It gave me the opportunity to meet with a lot of people that I otherwise would have missed. I'm over having a routine and a "normal" schedule anyway. On Monday I went to Alderson-Broaddus University in Philippi (Barbour County) to speak to their student teachers. I had a long, rainy drive on US 119 (the GPS took me on an adventure...again), but made it in one shaky, soggy piece. I appreciate it that Dr. Marsha Sarver asked me to come meet her students. We had a nice time at dinner afterwards, and I learned that the grandmother of one of the student teachers taught with my aunt Dawn at Williamsport Elementary (cue the song "It's a Small World After All..."). This is why I can't turn down any chance I have to meet people - you never know how you are going to connect.
Alderson-Broaddus University

With some of the student teachers after dinner

I turned around and headed home from Philippi that evening because the next day I visited schools in Hardy County with the 2013 West Virginia Teacher of the Year, Mike Funkhouser. Although it was a rainy day that ended with wind and sleet (Spring has sprung...a leak), I had a great time meeting and speaking to the students at Moorefield Intermediate and East Hardy Early Middle. Berkeley was a huge hit, and I enjoyed speaking to all of the fifth grade students about "Control Your S.E.L.F." At the end of the day, I interviewed Mike and David Rudy, a math and chemistry teacher at East Hardy High School, for Be the Difference WV. I am hoping to get the interview up before I leave for Washington - I have been traveling so much that I haven't had the chance to put it together. A big thank you to Mike and his wife Ann for taking me around the schools and keeping me company that day!
With Mike and Jamin Hershberger, 2014 Hardy County Teacher of the Year

Interviewing David Rudy

On Wednesday I went to Berkeley Springs in Morgan County to tape an interview in support of the school levy. It's important that I use my close proximity and title to promote the need for the community to support our school systems. I interviewed Jenna Epstein, a guidance counselor at Warm Springs Intermediate, about why she entered the education profession (similar to what I do with Be the Difference WV) and how the levy passing or not passing impacts her school and position. For more information on the Morgan County School levy, visit  Tom Shade did an excellent job putting together the video, which you can view on Vimeo at this link.
I also stopped by the Health and Benefits fair in Berkeley Berkeley could have his photo-op with the Heisman Trophy.

Thursday...I stayed home! I don't remember what I did, though, except wash clothes and write thank you notes. Let's talk about those thank you note for a minute. Everywhere I go, I meet people who wither have done something special for me or impact me in some way that I feel compelled to write them a note. I can't help myself, I love to write any way - and I know it makes me feel special when I get "happy mail," too. Friday I went to Shepherd in Jefferson County to do a workshop on classroom management in the morning and a presentation on resume and interview advice (titled "Hire Me" - what else?) in the afternoon. I created "Hire Me" and "Who's the Boss" using the iPad app Haiku Deck, which makes the presentations accessible on the web.

Friday was also my 32nd birthday. I feel like I've aged a lot more than one year since this all started, maybe 10. I get cracked on a lot because I'm short and young looking, but I've always felt much older than what I really am. Not sure what can top the events in year 31, except next week. Fun fact: I signed my first autographs on my birthday this year. Three of the teacher education student asked me to sign their brochures from my presentation. I was tickled, not because I think I'm important or anything but it just made me feel cool for a few minutes.Other than my yearly Dairy Queen ice cream cake, I really didn't do anything else to celebrate. This entire year has already been a "party" of sorts, and at this point I'd rather have some sleep than a night out.
Yearly cake pic

My birthday sunset

No weekend homework since it was Easter. I did spend Sunday afternoon preparing for the upcoming week, because it was going to be intense and I was doubting that I had the stamina for it. Remember that nearly 20 hours of driving in one week? That just happened. Aside from the fact that I'm willing to walk, run, or crawl (maybe not if it means I don't have to get behind the wheel of a car, it was an amazing week, one that could only be topped by meeting the president.

To be continued...

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