Feb 26- March 3
Rolling on the river...
Everywhere I go I have been asked what it is like to be NJ State Teacher of the Year. It is difficult to put the experience into words with all of the amazing opportunities I have had and the incredible people I have met. It is exhausting, but in a good way, so I try to explain it like this. In school there is chaos but it is all connected and going in one direction because at the end of the day it is all about your students. You embrace the chaos and learn to work with it because you certainly can't control it. As NJTOY, there is chaos and although everything relates to education, I now have a view from 30,000 ft in which the chaos spreads out in all directions and nothing is connected.
My week began in North Carolina visiting my Dad for his birthday. Upon my return Tuesday it was straight up the Turnpike to begin designing model curriculum for World History. As we began to unpack the Common Core Standards and align them with our current state standards, I began to realize that designing Student Learning Objectives takes great thought and a lot of discussion!
Wednesday found me at prestigious Princeton University to discuss what can be done to form connections between K-12 and higher education in regard to teacher education. We have some amazing educators in the state, many award winning, and it seems a crime to not utilize their talents in recruiting, training and mentoring new and prospective teachers. After a very productive meeting, the idea for the New Jersey Distinguished Educator Network (NJDEN) was born. More on this later.....
Thursday I began the new month with a visit to my former school district and home town of Willingboro to hear an inspirational talk by NEA Vice President Lily Eskelson. Her talk was like witnessing good teaching, it was heartfelt, relatable, and infused with humor and inspiration. She too had been a State Teacher of the Year for New Mexico and so we got to compare experiences, do a little bonding and I got some good tips for future speeches. Thanks Lily!
|With Lily Eskelson at BCEA Headquarters.|
The day after Lily's visit, I headed up to Rutgers University- Newark to visit the Law School and participate in a program on behalf of the NJ State Bar Foundation. I was a guest teacher as part of the Street Law Program which was for urban students who were thinking about a career in law. I was very excited to be there because I had been out of the classroom for a little over a month and I was itching to get my hands on a class. After an amazing lunch of empanadas, red beans and rice and plantains (YUM!) I got to teach a class on Constitutions and Constitutionalism. Don't yawn! I could tell that the kids thought they were going to be bored to tears when they got into my class, but honestly they didn't stand a chance. I taught the crap out of that lesson and every kid in the room was engaged and participating. Even though they were from different neighborhoods and very wary of each other, they managed to work together. I only wish I could have had more time with them. It was a great experience and if they call, I would gladly go back and do it again.
A great class of students!
Flanked by two law students, here I am
with the amazing director Alycia Guichard, who ran a phenomenal day for the students.
Many I spoke to were inspired and maybe, just maybe, this one day of mentorship made all the difference in someones life.
Saturday found me presenting a workshop on Technology to the ladies of Delta Kappa Gamma, a society of professional women educators. Although I knew many of the ladies, few had ever seen me in action. I put together my first Prezi and had some minor technical difficulties, but despite it being a Saturday morning, after several cups of coffee I was my usual energetic self and the workshop was a great success.
|The presenters with Alpha Zeta State President Roxanne Adinolfi (center)|
|With DKG NJ President Roxanne Adinolfi|
Just another week as NJ TOY!