Teachers

US Department of Education Expresses Gratitude to Educators…And I was One of them!

HE CALLED TO THANK ME?! The US Secretary of Education, Dr. John B. King called to thank me?! For my service?…I was in awe; I had to listen to the call myself to even know what I did to warrant such an honor. Our conversation begins about 3:30 minutes into the video.

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I mustered the words I could; I guess at the appropriate times. I was dumbfounded…awestruck even. I have stood in awe of US Secretary of Education Dr. John B. King ever since he took office. His background could have rendered different results; he gives credit to the teachers that invested in him and uses his testimony to motivate educators to provide not just better but the best for the students we serve. Sitting at the helm of the US Department of Education, he remained true to his beliefs in serving all children and supporting the teachers that serve them. Everyday he fights and champions beyond anything we can imagine. And yet…HE CALLED ME?!

Speechless. My team found me absolutely speechless.

Grateful. To know the team I work with appreciates the service I render.

Tear-filled. I “never” cry but I could not help it this time; I am touched.

Honored. In a calling this demanding, there is no greater feeling than knowing you are appreciated. I love and live to surprise the people I care about. This time my team got me instead. And a surprise it was indeed!

Validated. I am rendering a reasonable service.

All I Wanted To Do Was Teach

 

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ALL I WANTED TO DO WAS TEACH. However, often I find myself…

Baffled. I received praise as I traveled my 50-mile commute post the 8:00 PM hour because we received a call about a missing student. I was just informing. I did not need the praise. I needed to find the student. The student was found.

Humbled. In my absence, my mom informs my church that a number of students were affected and even displaced by Hurricane Matthew. My church family proceeds to fill whole rooms in my mother’s home with clothes and goods to donate to the families I serve.

Grateful. When I share with the marketing director of the local Zaxby’s of the challenges we face in a school in which 75% of students receive free and reduced lunch, she reaches out to her church and provide us with enough food to serve 75 families the Saturday immediately following Hurricane Matthew.

Awestruck. Three local churches reach out to our schools because they know our needs and offer assistance during the holiday season. We were able to provide Christmas gifts to over 32 families.

Relieved. When a parent expresses wanting to find work and establish a career; I can connect them to the local agency and they receive one-on-one assistance and guidance toward their goal…toward better for their family.

Hungry. The snacks purchased for personal sustenance during the day becomes manna for the hungry students I serve. The snack drawer; now a pantry.

Sympathetic. Preparing assignments to send to the local prison for an incarcerated or homebound students. Developing a means to translate the content feasibly in the absence of face-to-face instruction.

Empathetic. Stock piling clothes into a clothes closet to ensure students have uniforms and clothing to wear to school.

Infuriated. Adhering to policies that do not serve students well and ostracize certain populations.

Exhausted. Addressing social-emotional needs that stem from loss, lack of exposure and experiences, and poverty, be it absolute, generational, or relative. We extend our day to support students in extra-curricular activities or engage parents in meetings, conferences and discussions.

Excited. When donating items to a local church for Hurricane Matthew victims and volunteering during their giveaway, I connect with families that I did not know were displaced and in need. We are able to help them find the social service assistance needed to help with recovery.

Hopeful. Helping more students to gain exposure to a college-going culture, career pathway, and opportunity unknown as they prepare for graduation through local community college partnerships. Connecting with local mental health services to address some of the needs students have that may impede learning.

Triumphant. Doubling the number of students gaining access to college level courses in high school.

Data-driven. Using every tool to understand what the students I serve need and how the curriculum needs to be delivered to ensure they receive it.

Thoughtful. Trying to determine what needs to happen to create the best school culture for students to learn. Figuring out ways to reach parents and partner with community entities. Putting the puzzle together to determine which partners can help plug which holes for students and their families.

Pensive. Racing to the end of the year, to get end of grade/course test scores securing the evidence needed to show we helped students grow and gain proficiency.

ALL I EVER REALLY WANTED TO DO… WAS TEACH and somehow I find myself on this emotional roller coaster.

I enjoyed teaching so much; I wanted to help others love teaching and curriculum as much as I do. In July, I began serving in my dream job: Chief Academic Officer. I love where I am in my career. Although, there were many changes traveling the road from being a teacher; what has not changed are the daily peaks and dips of this roller coaster ride.

When I share my day with others I often hear the sympathetic, “I do not know how you do it.” Or as we vent as colleagues I hear, “That’s not my job.”

The issue is…if I was not doing all of these things…I would not be able to do my job.

I would not be able to educate.

All I wanted to do was teach. After years as an educator, with the ups and downs, sways and jerks of the roller coaster, I now understand it all as my “reasonable service.”

What necessary “ups, downs, sways and jerks” would you add to the roller coaster? How are you addressing them? Share your thoughts. Let’s keep this ride going…

Welcome!

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Welcome to my blog! This blog is an opportunity to inspire, ignite and empower educators around critical topics in education. I hope that we can challenge each other, provide insight in each others practice and find our most valuable resource in our union as educators.

I truly believe every child can learn, it is our duty as educators to provide access to the curriculum and learning opportunities that will help every student succeed and be a contributor to the world. Therefore, in this blog I welcome you to join me in a dialogue that will help educators ensure student learning needs are met and students are equipped for everything they will face in this world. As educators, when we do our part, our students can do their best. It’s “heart work.”

I enjoy learning and growing in this profession. I look forward to sharing and learning from everyone who will bring their ideas. Everything that happens in our societies, happens in our schools. What we bring to the table are solutions within some hard conversations among everyone not just educators. We will hold ourselves accountable for preparing our future leaders to the best of our ability in these changing times. Our dedication is what drives our abilities to educate our students and motivate them to go above and beyond the imaginable.

Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” I am excited about what we are doing and how it will impact the world. How about you?

Come. Let’s talk.

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