You know you are almost ready to go back to school when you wake up in the morning making your to-do before the kids come list! Another clue could be when you are writing a blog post in your head! This happened to me this morning, maybe because it’s a rainy Friday, or maybe it’s because I just got back from “teacher camp” in Williamstown, MA. (My favorite week in the summer!)
My mentor Ken (English professor at Massasoit Community College) and I on the RA floor in the MA delegation.
But let me back up and tell you about what a fantastically fulfilling summer I have had, both professionally and personally.
While I may not have been “going to work” everyday, I have been really busy working since we got out of school. I started the summer in Atlanta, as a Massachusetts delegate to the National Education Association’s Representative Assembly (known as the RA). The RA brings together over 10,000 educators from across the country and meets in a different city each summer. The best way to describe it is “town meeting for teachers.” It happens over the Fourth of July week since that is the only week in the summer when all schools are out. (Can you believe that?) It’s like going on vacation with 150 friends because the MA delegation hosts several social events throughout the week. I toured the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, spent the fourth of July at the Georgia Aquarium and even attended a Cyndi Lauper concert! We also debated over 93 new business items pertaining to teaching and our members!
To enhance my instruction, I took a graduate course in reading this summer. It turned out to be a fascinating course. I learned so much more about how the brain learns to read and write. The course taught about how to use explicit phonics instruction that I will put to good use starting in September! I also met some great people, including a couple of Kindergarten teachers who clued me into the Second Edition of Fundations (the phonics program we use at JES) and I will be getting new materials to help our kiddos even more. Exciting stuff!
Mar and I during our senior year at GW. Nice outfits. #whatwerewethinking?
At the end of July, I visited my college roommate from GWU in New York City. Mar and her husband Dan live right in the middle of Manhattan and we had a fantastic weekend of sight seeing and enjoying each other’s company. I met Mar when we were freshman and she was trying out for GW’s dance team, The First Ladies. Mar was a member of the team for four years and the only reason I ever went to GW’s basketball games. So when we met in NYC, we went to see Forever Tango on Broadway! We also toured the 9/11 memorial, had lunch in the seaport and visited the Rain Room at the MoMA!
Yesterday, I returned home from the Massachusetts Teachers Association’s summer conference, held every year at Williams College in Williamstown, MA. While you do have to sleep in a dorm, it is a great opportunity to network and learn new things for the classroom. It was my third year going and it has become my favorite summer tradition. (Minus the four hour drive to get there!) It’s also fun to eat in the dining hall where there is an soft serve ice cream machine!
While out at Williams, I received notification I was accepted to participate in the Inaugural NEA / Teach Plus fellowship. They accepted only 50 teachers in the country. (NEA has 3.2 million members). I will get to go to DC three times during the next school year and have the opportunity to connect with national leaders and policy makers, which is both humbling and exciting to be a representative! We have a lot of issues facing public education that affect our students, and I am always mindful of that in whatever situation I am in. I always come back to my classroom in Nahant.
So enjoy the last few days of summer and know I am looking forward to meeting your children. Or if you are a former parent, I am looking forward to seeing all my “old friends” too when we come back together in September. It will be a great year and I have recharged myself and am ready for all the challenges and experiences that lie ahead.
Any questions, don’t hesitate to emai me – firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be checking my email most days from now until school starts.