Friday, December 17, 2010

Excellence in Education Awards--and Lessons in Technology

On Wednesday, December 15, the Excellence in Education Awards were celebrated at the Common Man Inn in Plymouth.  Congratulations to all of the Blue Ribbon Schools, National Science & Math Teacher , the Milken Family Educator, and the Teacher of the Year semi-finalists and finalists.  It was another reminder of the many professional educators we are lucky to have in this state. What an honor it was to speak to such a group of distinguished and accomplished educators!

That being said, speaking that evening became an unexpected adventure for me, and those of you who know how, um, "savvy" I am with computers, will appreciate my adventure.

For my speech I had hoped to merge an earlier one I had given with my NEA NH article with some recent thoughts that had sprung out of committee work and readings.  I worked all day on it, not once saving it to my laptop, because I was always coming back to it... (okay, lesson number one).

At 3 pm I was ready to save it and proofread, when a colleague came and asked me for some help in her room.  At 3:30 when I returned, my laptop had shut down and once restarted, my documents were not recovered.  All my work was gone, and I had to be at the Common Man, dressed, within the hour.  Teary-eyed, I sat back down at the computer to begin a whole day's worth of work once again.  I managed to piece it together--it was adequate, but not as good as the first time around.  I pressed print at 4 pm, emailed it to myself, grabbed it out of the printer, and raced home to shirts that needed to be ironed, kids who needed help, etc.  We left the house by 4:30, and once in the car, I decided to look over my speech for the first time.  It looked looked good...until I got to the end.  Because there was no end.  Apparently, the printer at school must have run out of paper, because there were 2 pages missing from my speech.  My husband asked, "Can you just improvise?"  Hmmm...improvise two pages?

When we got to the Common Man, Brandon went to the office and asked if he could open my email and print the speech.  It wouldn't open in Word, so they used Adobe and it printed looking like an epic poem.  Finally, they played with the spacing and did the best job they could with it. 

When I stood in front of the crowd of 75-100 people or so, I still had not had the chance to read over my entire speech, so I had no idea that three quarters of the way through my speech were two lines printed over one another, completely illegibly, until I reached that part with everybody staring at me.

And this is why I love educators--they expect you to perform well, but they are so very forgiving when you stumble.  So thank you for that.

In the end, it was a lovely night. I did not thank anyone during my speech, lest I lull the audience to sleep, and you have the option of logging off right now, so I'll do it here:  Thank you to Lori Temple at the DOE for organizing everything; Eric Nash for his kindness as he passed my invisible crown; my family for cheering me on; William Van Bennekum, my principal, for always having my back; Aidan Kendall, a former student who continues to amaze me with his greatness, for emceeing the event;  and everybody else--you know who you are.