My sister also texted me that morning to ask me what I was wearing....like that didn't totally give it away.
What was surprising to me was that it all came together...without me. And here I was thinking I'm the only person who can make things happen. lol
Also hate that my hair is tucked behind my ears here but at least my face is cute. Dale Fowler gave me this fancy plaque to add to my collection.
My elementary friends came to congratulate me.
My niece Rory.
My nephew Brody and niece Baylee.
My sister Malia.
My sister Janae and brother in law Daniel.
Golden Apple peoples...the lady in pink observed me and then weirdly, her son was on the same baseball team as my nephew and we saw each other over the summer.
My friend Amy who nominated me.
The whole fam.
Some SIU people who also brought me a really soft t-shirt and a goody bag of SIU swag.
Golden Apple...but all the signs are blue....maybe to match our school colors.
The silly part was that the kids who wanted to be on camera at the assembly are not even kids I am the closest to and I don't even know what some of them said. lol One kid even asked me to autograph his Golden Apple poster. 😂 The bell rang for 7th hour to start. My seniors were supposed to be starting their Trig EOC but the prinicpal had sent them to the library. I asked my friend Amy if she would let them into my room so they could start the exam. But they wouldn't start it without me in the room because they didn't want me to think they cheated. During 7th hour I was being interviewed on camera...and couldn't even get someone to watch my trig class for that. Then the bell rang again for the last 20 minute advisory type period of the day. I hurried back to my room because I had students coming in who needed to finish a test or needed my help.
So that's how real teacher life is...you can't even leave your job long enough to win an award because there will be no one to cover you and then you need to go right back to it because someone always needs you.
Even our yearbook photographer came to get some shots. I highly regret wearing my hair straight. I curl it every day and also wish I hadn't cut it so short back in January.
Alan Mather, president of Golden Apple.
There were like 5 gift baskets....all of things I will not eat lol. Chocolate covered apples and pretzels and dark chocolate.
I went home and did my favorite thing...take a nap. I went to a local gas station and got my favorite treat for dinner...pepper jack cheese balls and a Pepsi. I am a junk food child. Then I spent the rest of the night reading comments on facebook from friends and family who were seeing the news clips.
I received a second plaque back in April for the school. They hung it in the main office and I asked them to hang this tarp out front but only if it was hanging straight. :) Then I took my own selfie to put in the yearbook.
I won a $5,000 stipend and sabbatical to Northwestern University. Following the May 9th ceremony, I had emailed a few people to get more information. No one responded except the president. He told me the money and sabbatical would be sometime in March 2023. Over the summer we had a zoom call to hear more information about our prizes.
Then on our zoom call, a different lady said they would start sending out paperwork in January 2023. They would like everyone to come together for one week to Northwestern University to start the sabbatical together sometime in April. They said we could continue working as much or as little as we wanted. It doesn't really work well for me because I am so far away and would only be able to take online courses. I don't really want to take any more math classes. I stressed myself out thinking about all the logistics. But I still don't have enough information to know what's going on.
I was contacted by Golden Apple to apply to be a mentor and excitation was in my heart. I thought this might be the real reason God had allowed all of this to happen. I would love to work in that direction but it's not really an option for me in my school. I would be required to have a $400 training and Golden Apple wasn't sure if they could reimburse me or not. I had trouble finding the trainings and sent a few emails asking for help. I finally got an answer and she helped me find a training but then when I went to register, it was full. I couldn't find any other options by the deadline so I just gave up trying. I never heard back. Later I heard that I might be able to get the trainings for free through my teacher's union. Supposedly the trainings would be offered in November...but you guessed it, I never heard.
In August, they let us know about a second ceremony where we would actually win our award. They weren't able to have the ceremony for the previous two years due to Covid so it was 3 years worth of winners. But they picked the Tuesday night after Labor Day to have the ceremony. Even if I lived in Chicago, I would be annoyed. Why didn't they have it on Saturday of Labor Day weekend to ensure people had travel time and didn't have to take off from school? I decided not to go. I didn't want to have the school pay a second time for me to go do the same thing again and I'm a teacher, so I definitely don't want to pay for it myself. They mailed me my award and it sits on my desk at school.
Now we are supposed to have a zoom call in February for more information on the sabbatical. I can't imagine that I will actually stop working to do this. This has been one of the hardest teaching years of my career but if I leave it, I think I would spend all my time worrying what was happening instead of actually enjoying. If I am an experienced professional who is struggling, I can't think it would be any easier for a sub. I enjoy doing my job and doing it well. I would like to do something like a photography class since I also do the yearbook. I decided not to stress about it anymore. If there are online courses that sound fun and interesting, I will take them. Otherwise, I won't do anything.
Overall, this process has been underwhelming. I still don't know how or when the prizes will work. My emails go unanswered. The mentoring piece that I was so excited about flopped. Friends and family still ask me about the sabbatical and I don't even know what to tell them. I've been getting postcards and emails from Golden Apple asking me for donations...but no one telling me how to get my prize.
Obviously I don't work for external validation or I wouldn't have chosen teaching. I get my validation from knowing I had good ideas and I executed them well and the students lives are better for having me as their teacher. I had all of that already.
The best part was friends and family and students complimenting me. The second best was that it helped with imposter syndrome. I know I am not an excellent mathematician but I always felt like I was an excellent teacher. The award showed me that other people also think I am an excellent teacher. It's not about the math, it's about the kids. Over this past year, I've felt a conscious effort from parents and students and colleagues to thank me and show appreciation. One of my colleagues said she enjoyed them gathering to talk about me for the interview because they didn't realize all the different things I was responsible for.
When we had our zoom call, I was the youngest winner. From the farthest away. Other teachers seemed to have more accomplishments like starting programs, being directors of things, etc and I'm just over here with a lot of extra jobs (cheer, student council, prom, yearbook).
That's when I realized that what made me win was my students. I truly believe it was their words that made the difference. My observer told me that the kids faces lit up when they were talking about me. She said "they really love you". And that is the difference for me. I really love them. I really love making their lives better. I really want the best for them. I want to give them the best high school experience. I want them to enjoy math class, even if they don't enjoy math. I want those good feelings to go with them wherever they go in life so that they will continue to have good experiences and give good experiences to others. I love being 'extra' and 'doing too much' and I hope they will feel safe to go be extra and do too much in their own lives.
P. S. At the beginning of 2022, I chose the word glow.
As my student Aunnie would say...I ATE.