Saturday, April 28, 2012

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered... (Ella Fitzgerald)

 April 13-21

      Most people think that because I am on sabbatical I have a relaxed schedule with lots of free time.  Actually, nothing is further from the truth and this week is a perfect example of that. 
I returned from DC on Friday afternoon after a great discussion about Project RESPECT.  Saturday, I attended a memorial service for a friend's mother and was reminded of the loss of my own step-father this time of year in 2006.  Sunday, it was laundry and off to the salon to get my do done, because next week I will be meeting the president and I can't be looking shabby. 

The name plate in my office at NJEA
      Monday was spent at the Dept of Ed in Trenton trying to get myself organized because I had to be packed and ready to leave for two weeks and have clothes that spanned events ranging from walking the Freedom Trail in Boston and a black tie gala to the  most important outfit, "the suit," for the White House.  Tuesday was spent at NJEA headquarters completing my NEA Foundation application and working on my presentation for the Student NJEA conference on Saturday.  Tuesday evening I had to get my car to ETS, then get home and finalize packing for Boston.
View of the NJ Statehouse from my office window at NJEA
          Wednesday morning began early and I was joining three of my colleagues on a trip to NY and Boston.  We are all a part of the Ulysses S. Grant Fellowship, a year round program, and we who take part in the "Grant Grant" are lucky enough to get some excellent PD in American History which includes a field trip once a year.  By 6:45 we were off to our first stop, West Point.

West Point was very impressive, as expected, and we got the full tour of the place. Perhaps most interesting were the chapel (more like a cathedral) and the cemetery where so many famous soldiers were laid to rest.

The Hudson River

      After we left West Point, we went to Hyde Park, home of the Roosevelt's.  Eleanor Roosevelt is one of my favorite people in history.  She seemed to have no fear and did what she knew in her heart was right, even if it wasn't popular.  I admire her moxie and drive to leave the world a better place than she found it.  She was a true humanist.  I also suspect that FDR got some of his most famous lines from her.

Burial site of FDR, Eleanor and Fala the dog.

The mansion, Hyde Park

Not only was it an amazing day, but I managed to find the elusive FDR bobble head that I have been searching for to add to my collection.  Woo hoo!

We left Hyde Park, had some dinner and then set off for Boston, arriving after 11pm. 

The BCIT crew, hanging with the Roosevelts


Thursday we were up early and on the bus for a part walking/part bus tour of the Freedom Trail.  I had been there before and walked it with friends, but I never had an historian explaining it along the way.  After lunch at Fanieul Hall, we were back on the bus and off to Salem. 

Pipe organ in the Old North Church

We got to the Peabody Essex Museum where I got to see some amazing things and play with a snake.  By the way, I have never even touched a snake.  Don't know where that courage came from, but sometimes you just gotta go for it.
Then it was off to see the USS Constitution "Old Ironsides" and get a tour of the areas involved with the Salem Witch Trials.

 I had a great time and got some cool t-shirts.  However, I neglected to pick up some love potion.....rats!

 After dinner it was back to Boston and the hotel.  I needed to get in on a conference call and answer some emails, so I didn't make it out to enjoy the night life. It was ok though, because I had an early morning coming.

The Chauncey Conference Center at ETS
Friday, the rest of the Grant Grant Fellows headed to Lexington and Concord, but duty called for me.  I checked out of the hotel at 5:30am (thanks to Dawn, my roommate for being so understanding, she even heard the alarm before I did and turned on the light to make sure I got out on time) and was so groggy I nearly left my dress behind.  I was on a train by 6:15 headed back to Trenton.  Luckily I used the time to finish off my presentation for Saturday and a few other outstanding assignments that needed my attention.  My brother picked me up in Trenton and deposited me at ETS in Princeton for a Showcase in Higher Education.

The view from my hotel in E. Brunswick.  Ain't Jersey pretty?

 I had to do a quick change in the bathroom to actually make
myself look presentable because I had been nominated for an award.  I didn't win (and rightly so) because the two students Andrew Lewis and Leilani Bell who did, are phenomenal examples of what is right in teacher prep programs in NJ.  After having a few snacks at ETS it was off to the East Brunswick Hilton for dinner at 7 with the Student NJEA conference organizers.  Andrew, who was with me earlier, is the current President of the SNJEA and we got to know each other back in October when I spoke at TCNJ, so it was nice to see a familiar face.  It was a lovely dinner, but I was beginning to feel the miles catch up with me, so I was in bed at a decent hour. 
Lovely flowers from SNJEA

Saturday was a big day for me.  Not only did I have the keynote speech for the SNJEA conference, but as soon as I finished it was back in the car and off to DC to begin NTOY week where I would meet the president.  The keynote went well and I think I had extra adrenaline coursing through my system.  The officers gave me some lovely flowers and I was told by the NJEA Vice President that I should consider becoming a motivational speaker.  Hmmmmm......  I like talking to crowds, which is odd because it used to terrify me.  Now my worst fear is having my skirt tucked into my Spanx when I walk on stage.  (Ladies, you know what I am talking about.)  Anyway, it is something to consider for later, when I have the chance to digest everything that has happened this year.  First, it is off to DC to visit with my 53 BFFs that are the State Teacher's of the Year for National Teacher of the Year Week!

1 comment:

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