Saturday, April 19, 2014

Weekend Homework: EPAC Jazz Brunch, JCRA Literacy Conference, and the Last 6 Miles

My week that started in Parkersburg and stopped in Brooke County in the Northern Panhandle in the middle ended close to home for two Jefferson County events on Saturday. I did not realize I had the amount of stamina that I have until the last few months. When I'm home, I go into "power down" mode, but for the most part I've managed to be upbeat and articulate when I'm doing events, regardless of what I've had scheduled that week or how few hours I've had of sleep. I have never been a procrastinator, and that has been my saving grace this year. That last minute stuff doesn't fly when there are so many things on your schedule to present and speak at - and with a few exceptions, it's never the same speech or presentation twice. When you represent a lot of people, the expectations are that you will be ready to roll and exceptional when it's "showtime." Maybe that's just the expectation I have of myself, but all of those years of being overly detailed and prepared have made this year run a lot smoother.

I split last Saturday between the Jefferson County Reading Association's "Leaders of Literacy" Conference at Shepherd University and the Eastern Panhandle Alumni Chapter (EPAC) of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, where I received the Educator Award at their annual Jazz Brunch. I thought after being named teacher of the year that would be the end of any more recognition ("maxed out," in other words), but between this and PBS Digital Innovators I guess not. I went down to Shepherd to speak at the opening of the literacy conference, then went to the Jazz Brunch to meet with the members of Delta Sigma Theta and accept my award, then back to Shepherd to do my presentation on integrating bridges and West Virginia history with "The Great Bridge Building Contest" at the end of the day.
Howard Burns' Band

With the other awardees

Accepting the Educator Award

After my presentation, I was in dire need of being recharged. It was a beautiful day in Shepherdstown, so I took a walk around Shepherd's campus to enjoy the warm Spring weather before heading home to recharge for Spring Break.

McMurran Hall (and Berkeley)

Some of the pedagogy projects at the literacy conference

My husband's a runner. They say that the last six miles of a marathon are the most demanding because your body and mind have reached their limits, regardless of how much you've trained. As you progress to the finish line, it gets harder to stay focused and hang on to what little energy you have reserved (now I'm just speaking about what I've heard, because I don't run and have no interest in being involved in it aside from cheering from the sidelines...and occasionally reprimanding Brad for overdoing it). April is my last six miles. Oh, this experience and my role are nowhere near over after this month (2014 is 2014, after all), but between now and May 1 when the state teachers of the year are recognized at the White House is when the travel and the expectations are the most intense. Every week this month I feel like I've sprinted up another staircase that the week before seemed impossible to climb. I plan, drive, appear, present, and repeat. It's a time consuming workout that has taught me more about myself and even more about my state. I'm proud, focused, and prepared, but I sure am glad the finish line is in sight.

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