How are you my kind, lovely followers? I have missed you so!
I do apologize for the massive gap in postings. To say that 2014 has been a freakin' whirlwind would be the understatement of the century. I literally do not even know where to start. Let's take a little mind-trip back to January so I can update you on what in the high heavens I have been doing for the past 7 months. (Holy crow - 7 months??? Is it seriously July?? Jeepers. Ok, I will not sidetrack myself, but wow.)
****Close your eyes and take my hand, picture a swirling tunnel in your mind, listen to the swooshing sound as we travel back in time together to a chilly winter day in January 2014****
Now that I've set the mood, let's begin! I am going to tell you the unexpected story of my journey as a teacher this year.
I returned back to work from a long, relaxing, beautiful holiday with my family. As always, I was a bit sad that the break was over, but thrilled to be back with the tiny ones. We jumped right back in and got into the groove. It was not even a week that we had been back when one morning, bright and early, our classroom door opened. First to walk in was my principal, followed up our amazing and beautiful secretary, and finally a mystery woman who I'd never met before. She smiles to the kids and my principal announces to my bubbling bitties that they have some news for their teacher. I am all nerves and smiling like, "You do?? What's going on??? Please tell me this is something positive, what could possibly be going on??" and finally they told us that I was one of the 30 finalists selected out of the thousands of entries to be a Golden Apple Teacher for my school district. UM SERIOUSLY?!? Guess what I did, I cried. I was so honored and excited and proud. I could not believe that I was 1 of 30 out of thousands of incredible teachers! They handed me an envelope and inside was a 2 page list of directions as to what would come next. And thus began my Golden Apple journey :)
In the end, 6 of the 30 finalists would be chosen as the Golden Apple Teachers.
Over the next few months, I was to be RANDOMLY observed by 13 RANDOM judges from the community. Did I mention that these observations were completely random?? Yes, I thought so. The first few observations were terrifying. I was a jumbled mess of nerves. When they came in, all I could do was teach. I literally just kept going and chugging through, trying my very hardest to pretend that no one was staring at me, analyzing my every move and word, writing down notes about me and my teaching and my classroom, scoring and rating me as an effective teacher, as well as comparing me to 29 other finalists who I can only imagine were incredible, outstanding educators. EEK! Stressed out is not even close to how I felt. As the observations went on, it did become easier. I felt more at ease and it got to the point where just about anyone could walk into the room and the kids and I would just be like "Hey, what's up, take a seat." Did I mention that my kid's were so AMAZING and incredibly adorable through the entire process??? They were totally pumped that I was a finalist and told me they were so proud like every single day. I love them. Love love love them with my whole heart and soul. Truly.
SO after all of the observations were completed for ALL 30 finalists, they had a swanky little meet and greet where all the finalists got to meet each other. This was the final step before they would announce the winners. My principal went with me. Did I mention that I adore my principal? There are not enough words to tell how amazing she is. Here we are together at the shindig (I'm the one in all black):
The next week was when the real stress began. We were told that they would announce the winning 6 teachers at some point that week and that they would just show up. So of course I picked out 5 of my best outfits and prepared to look cute every day just in case :) Monday rolled around, I was all nerves, and nothing happened. I looked online and they hadn't announced any winners anywhere, so I figured it wasn't the day. Then Tuesday passed by, Wednesday next, Thursday crawled by and I begin thinking "ooooooooook PLEASE just tell us already!!!!" and finally it was FRIDAY. The last day. I thought I was going to puke every second of the day. I was nauseous and sweaty and a straight up mess.
Around 11am or so, one of my sweet friends poked her head around the corner and said "They've started handing out the apples! They gave out two already!!" They had a live twitter feed that announced each winner as they were chosen. Of course I'm like, "I won't look at that at all, I'll just ignore it and teach and pay no attention to that." How long did that last? Like a nanosecond. I checked that thing like every second. Clicked "refresh, refresh, refresh" like 400 times. Lunch time rolls around and 4 apples have been passed out, only two more to go. Oh no, it's getting to the end now.
Of course I was BEYOND proud and honored to have even been nominated. But we all know that everyone wants to win. It is engrained in us as humans, no matter how much you tell yourself that you are already a winner, you still want to win. I would be lying if I said that I didn't want it.
And I WAS proud to even be a finalist and it felt like wishful thinking to imagine receiving the award. As the minutes and hours ticked by, and I had less than an hour until the end of my school day, and they had announced 5 of the 6 winners, I broke the news to myself that I would not be winning this year and that I would try again next year. I was sad, but ok with it. And then - it happened. I had no idea it was coming and it happened. I was chosen as one of the 6 Golden Apples. Shock, honor, joy, and millions of other feelings surged through me and I just began to cry. Click for the VIDEO!
After that moment, the tornado that is my life began to spin again. There were photos, interviews, news crews, and more over the next few weeks. I felt like a superstar!!
At the end of it all, there was a glamorous banquet where I was to give a 6 minute speech. I was beyond nervous, but in the end, I managed to make it through :) Click to see the speech!
And here I am!! A long, amazing, unexpected, and incredible journey this school year has been. My dear sweet friends, I have not had a moment to stop and breathe. I truly am not a braggadocios person and I hope that this post did not come across that way. This is just such an important and special accomplishment in my life and it has been the biggest part of my entire year and I am so happy to be sharing my experience with you :)
I will write more over the next few days and tell you about other fun things that I've been up to!! I felt that I had to start with this and work my way back to the now.
I hope your summer is RELAXING and fun. I hope you are gettin' your tan on, eating tons of goodies, catching up on the massive DVR list, and rollin' with your homies. Aaaaaah, gotta love summer :)
Thanks for reading my ramblings! Because I am still alive and finally back in the blogging world, WOOP WOOP, I have decided to giveaway ANY product in my TPT store to TWO lucky followers! All you have to do is:
*Check out my store HERE
*Choose ANY product that you would want to win
*Leave a comment with one fun thing you have done this summer, your name and email, and the product that you would like to win!
Easy Peasy! I will randomly choose 2 winners on Thursday at 5:00 PM and send them their prize.
Love and big bear hugs to you all! I'll be posting up a storm over the next week so be ready for some fun! XO LOVE YA!