It is quiet now. I am sitting in my classroom during my conference period. There are still a few papers yet to mark before submitting grades for the end of the quarter, but I wanted to share a few words. It has certainly been a Friday like no other.
I arrived this morning a little before 6:30, eager to get in a bit of grading before classes began. I quickly set up the "Do Now" or warm-up activity for our Period 1 class, and then settled in, pen in hand. Once students began to enter the room, grading took a back seat to answering questions, and then I looked up to see Mr. Akers, one of our assistant principals, entering the room. He asked for a few students to join others from other classes, and I called them over. There was nothing unusual in this, for North Central students are often called upon for various opportunities outside the class. As they left, I joked with the class that being taken away by an administrator is what happens when students are not working on their "Do Now!" A few minutes later, I found out the real reason.
My door opened and our room was invaded by news crews, administrators, teachers, and friends. Indiana Superintendent Glenda Ritz was leading my two children by the hand, and I saw my wife among the crowd. Mrs. Ritz then announced that I was the 2014 Indiana Teacher of the Year and that I would be leaving my class for a press conference. My first thought was about the "Do Now" activity on the board, and I asked if they had secured a class cover. Our Washington Township superintendent, Dr. Nikki Woodson, assured me that this had been taken of, and off we went.
Upon exiting A526 I found upper A and H halls lined on both sides with students. There were cheers and applause as I made my way downstairs and through this double line of students that I thought would never end. For all the flashing of cameras and enthusiasm of the press, it is that line of cheering North Central Panthers that will remain one of my fondest memories.
It is hard so describe all that happened next. I was mostly just trying to breathe. Cameras continued to flash and numerous interviews with print and television media ensued.
As I prepare to finish my last bit of grading and try to sort through the barrage of emails and tweets that are coming through, I would like to conclude with this. I am deeply and abidingly grateful to my family, friends, students, and colleagues for their incredible support and encouragement. I will name names in another post, for to do so now would take too long and, as I am still overwhelmed, I would undoubtedly forget someone important. Let it suffice to say that I love you all and thank you so very much for helping me do what I love...teaching.