Monday, April 7, 2014

Weekend Homework: WV DAR, WV PTA, and Ohio Valley University

Let me start this out by acknowledging that all teachers have weekend homework. Maybe it's grading papers, or surfing Pinterest, or just thinking about how you ended a week with a certain student, but when you are a teacher, your job always comes home with you.

This year, I've taken my job on the road. I have several weekends over the next two months where I will be out and about, in addition to my responsibilities during the week. It's a lot, and I'm feeling it. April is going to be a big month in regards to travel, events, and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. That being said...I just got home from my "weekend homework assignment," and I'm beat. I haven't gotten up from the couch yet.

My weekend began at the Holiday Inn in Martinsburg to address the West Virginia Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) conference. Much of the behind the scenes work as teacher of the year is logistics. I stayed for lunch and to speak to the WV DAR members, but had to time it so that I left in time to get across the state to Parkersburg by 6:30 (that's a four hour drive from Martinsburg, if you don't make any stops). It was tight, but I made it work! I was also honored to receive the Golden Apple Award from the WV DAR and state regent, Barby Frankenberry (also a Berkeley County Teacher of the Year).
WV DAR Annual Conference

With President General Lynne Young and State Regent Barby Frankenberry

Seeds of Learning Centerpieces :-)

Addressing the DAR members

Receiving the Golden Apple Award

I made it to Parkersburg with an hour to spare and spoke to the West Virginia Parent Teacher Association (PTA) that evening. It was great to have so many PTA members from Berkeley County there in attendance. I am very appreciative to Justin Raber, WV PTA president, for asking me to give the keynote at their awards ceremony. He was the first person to contact me about doing a speaking engagement back in October.
With a student member of the Musselman Middle PTSA

With National PTA Board Member Melissa Nehrbass and WV PTA president Justin Raber

On Sunday, I set out to do a little exploring. It was a gorgeous Sunday, but unfortunately Blennerhasset Island is not open until May 1. It's a beautiful state park in Parkersburg with a lot of history, and I was really hoping to see it while I was in town. No such luck - guess it means I need to come back! After taking a little walk, I prepared to speak to the education majors at Ohio Valley University that evening. They were a wonderful audience, and I'm glad I was able to coordinate my Parkersburg visit to include their school.
Stand-in picture until I visit Blennerhasset Island...someday...

Education majors at Ohio Valley University

This morning I headed home to take a breather before I visit the Northern Panhandle this week. I could have done without the dense fog (absolutely no visibility) between Finzel and Cumberland, but I made it home in one (frazzled) piece. The press release for this years PBS Digital Innovators was also released, so I'm excited to share that with you now as something that I will be doing during the 2014-15 school year. 100 educators were selected to work with and learn from PBS LearningMedia. You can read the bios of the selected educators at this link.

Heads up -  there are going to be a lot of blog posts this month. Writing relaxes me, and right now I need that as I pick up and travel to several school systems and colleges over the next few weeks. I've got some reflection pieces I'm working on as well that I also want to share with you. Traveling by yourself is grueling, especially when you are lugging your own equipment and traveling long distances (and so far this year, through perilous weather). I wouldn't trade in any experience I've had, but I miss just being Mrs. Sponaugle. When you are away from home a lot, you miss the things often taken for granted - especially family members. I will never just be Mrs. Sponaugle again - and that's a good thing. I needed this year to grow and become what I was meant to be (more on that in another post). However, those moments when I am with students, as "just a teacher" will forever be greatly appreciated.

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