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Enroute Bitterroot

Reflections on Education Week, Washington D.C.

Jessica Anderson

Education Week Washington D.C.

Wow, what an amazing week! I have bruises on my arm from all of the times I pinched myself in order to believe this week was real. 

It began with a tour of Washington DC at night.

My adventures continued with a trip to Vice President Biden's House and

 

My voice was elevated during policy meetings with the Department of Education.

 

My technology skills and knowledge of what's best for teacher professional learning was shared at Microsoft and celebrated at the reception they put on for us at their Washington D.C. office. 

I felt celebrated and valued at the ASCD office in Alexandria, Virgina, as well as

 at the National and State Teacher of the Year Gala. 

 

This week has been a whirlwind of incredible opportunities. However, hidden amongst the celebrations is the most important piece, empowering and elevating the teaching profession. 

The one thing that's become clear to me in my fourth month as the 2016 Montana Teacher of the Year is that educator's voices matter. We have the knowledge to make changes in our schools, state, and country. However, what we must first realize is that it's not just the voices of STOY that matter, it's the voices of all educators passionate about making 21st-century learning happen in our classrooms. We must put into action our powerful voices in order to create our present and future roles as educators.

When I entered this role, I knew my voice mattered. However, what I didn't yet understand was how to use my voice to make a change. After leaving this week of celebrations and acknowledgement of the education profession, I feel like a powerhouse. Not a powerhouse in terms of feeling like I'm powerful, but regarding having this feeling that I need to use my voice to take action. My powerhouse is full of energy; energy that is waiting to be distributed across the state of Montana, and it's about to burst! 

Today, I feel my voice is actionable. I can use my voice, along with others, to create a path for our profession.  And it's with these thoughts in mind, I continue my work as the 2016 Montana Teacher of the Year. It's going to be an awesome ride!