On September 27th, as the clock ticked closer to 8:00 p.m. MDT, I could feel my heart elevate. I was seriously popping Tums like they were going out of style; thank goodness for Costco sized containers! I'd also developed a strange cough, which my husband later informed me was due to stress.
It was in these final minutes of not knowing that I began to prep myself for remaining a finalist and what I would say and feel in response to hearing so. Now, don't get me wrong, I continually told myself that I would be happy either way. There are amazing perks for being a finalist and for being Teacher of the Year. Both are an opportunity to celebrate the profession of education and recognize the great work done in education every day. However, since my very first teaching interview at Gold Creek, MT when I was asked, "what is one thing you want to accomplish before you retire?" I've wanted to be Teacher of the Year.
It was 8:00 p.m. when my phone rang. At the other end of the call was a familiar voice, Craig Beals the 2015 Montana Teacher of the Year. I remember asking him how are you, and him saying something along the lines of not as good as you're about to be. After that, I don't remember much except for the feeling of excitement and giving my husband a big thumbs up when he popped his head out the door.
Even though I couldn't tell anyone the news until 2:40 p.m. the next day, I did take a couple of selfie videos and photos so I could remember the moment. I totally can't believe I'm sharing this...
Now that the shock has worn off and the Montana Teacher of the Year banquet is a memory, I'm excited for the adventure to begin.
The year 2016 is about becoming Montana Ambassadors of Education. When we choose to take on this role, we choose to embrace and promote the 5 Es. No, I'm not referring to the 5 E model of instruction, but to a mindset focused on positively contributing to our profession. Below are the 5 Es I choose to promote and share this year as Montana Teacher of the Year:
I choose to...
(1) Empower teachers in our schools, communities, state, and nation. To empower teachers means to help them define their teaching vision, collaboratively work together to reach goals, and grow as professionals.
(2) Eliminate and Extinguish the negative rhetoric surrounding teaching by celebrating and exposing the awesome things we do as educators. This means we have to share; share a lot!
(3) Exceed the expectations we've set for ourselves as teachers by not being afraid to take risks, innovate, or fail forward, but to do the best we can for our students.
(4) Elevate our profession. When someone asks what we do, we must move beyond the statement of I'm just a teacher. We need to promote and share what we are doing with our students. We need to demonstrate to our country that we are not just teachers, we are professionals with the goal of helping our students become not perfect, but awesome citizens.
As Montana Ambassadors of Education, it's our responsibility to live, breath, and share how we live, breath, and do education in the 21st century.
As we embark on this journey, let's remember that we can't do this alone. We need to seek out our bitterroots; those individuals who encourage, support, and nurture us as Montana educators. These individuals will help us remember our goal of promoting and celebrating our profession with the 5 Es in order to continue to enrich our profession and the lives of our students.
I hope you'll join me!