Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Brief Update from DC

While the week has been plagued with photography issues--dead camera batteries and the inability to transfer any of my phone pictures to my computer--I have thus far experienced incredible events that I never fathomed would take place in my meek little existence.  Once home with all resources at my hands, I will post pictures with more detailed descriptions of my experiences.

On Tuesday after the Smithsonian professional development that I posted about earlier, we visited with Dr. Jill Biden at the Vice Presiden't residence.  Jill is the first Second Lady to continue her career while her husband has been in office, and I am so proud to know that she is a fellow English teacher at a local community college.

Wednesday brought with it a surreal experience of lining up with a group of some of the most dynamic, passionate, enthusiastic teachers I have had the pleasure of ever meeting, only to be greeted by President Obama.  After a few private moments with him in the Oval Office, I then stood in drenching heat (shortest people first!) while the remainder of the State Teachers of the Year were called out.  We then watched Michelle Shearer, Maryland Teacher of the Year, make her first articulate, moving, public address as the 2011 National Teacher of the Year while her proud parents, husband, and daughter looked on. 

From the White House, after press interviews (which I don't belive WMUR ever aired), I went up to Capitol Hill to have a brief meeting with Senator Kelly Ayotte in which I discussed the importance of authentic professional development opportunities like the National Writing Project, as well as the importance of family involvement incentive programs.  I urged her to consider research based practices that correllate directly with student achievement rather than theoretical changes that are the whim of non-educators when considering educational reform. She was gracious and, again, I was reminded that our elected leaders do and want to hear from us.

Yesterday was an entire day of SMARTboard training from the wonderful staff of SMART.  I have heard rumors that my equipment was installed this week, and I am so excited to return and to begin using it.  I have many ideas to begin implementing that will transform my classroom!

Last night we all donned the most stunning dresses and tuxedos and arrived at the Sphinx Club where we were able to visit with corporate sponsor, guests, and all of the teachers of the year.  Michelle Shearer spoke at the end of the evening, bringing the audience to tears.  She will do a magnificent job this year representing our profession, and I wish her well as she embarks on a long, arduous year full of many adventures and inspirations!

And now, with my stomach once again full from a large breakfast, I am about to descend to the downstairs ballroom where we will be participating in a press conference for the release of the Teacher Leader Model Standards.  After, we will depart for the Department of Education where we will be meeting with legislators about educational issues.  This is what we have been itching for--a policy discussion with the US DOE.

I will write in depth later and add pictures, but once again, I am amazed at the honor this award has brought to me.  I cannot express enough my gratitude and my desire to represent New Hampshire teachers in the most positive way possible. 

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