President Obama visited McGavock High School last Thursday, January 30. In order to share a very out-of-the-ordinary day in the life of this ag teacher, I'd like to share with you a photo journey of things that happen when the President visits your high school. (If you're interesting in the White House video, you can check it out here - President Obama Speaks on Education from Nashville, TN | The White House)
Lots of media attention is focused on your high school and why they chose you over the school down the road. Be prepared for a mixture of commendation and anger.
(Note: People may give you some undue praise. Because this is my first year at my school, I've only had about 6 months of work put in. The reason for his visit was to congratulation the Academies model and encourage it in other schools. If you are unfamiliar with Academies, they are essentially small learning communities centered around CTE classes. This model is what Mr. Obama said all high schools should be like. I know there are many different political stances to take on the current administration, but I have to say, that's a point in his favor.)
You will have the privilege of being able to help choose who can attend.
McGavock High School has over 2,000 students, and only 600 could attend. Our 10 officers represented us.
You will get a snazzy ticket that no one actually looks at or takes from you.
If you're into scrapbooking, you'll probably get really excited about including this.
Your last class of the day will gawk at protesters outside your classroom window.
This crowd will grow past this point and be audible from your room.
You could wait outside for an hour and a half in the cold in order to go through security.
You may leave your jacket in your classroom on the other side of the school, because the student council sponsor may mistakenly tell you that jackets aren't allowed inside. The plethora of emergency vehicles and news vans will entertain you.
You will enter the already packed, freshly-painted gym and see the PE teachers sneaking up to the best spot, and you will follow them.
Your kids will wave to you while you take a picture (they are all turned looking up towards me in this one), but as you will soon find out, they're crafty and won't stay in that spot for long.
You will start getting texts from folks watching at home who notice your students and their jackets are on TV.
You will be immensely proud of them for being smart enough to back up to the ropes so that can happen. The ladies are even smart enough to pull their hair forward so all of the jacket shows.
Regardless of your political affiliation, you realize that CTE is getting a huge shout-out from the Commander-in-Chief, and it makes you applaud frequently.
You also get pretty excited when your students are just feet from the President, in OD. They take adorable selfies for Instagram,
You also take some selfies.
Including a Secret Service selfie. Notice the earpiece and cool pin.
When it's all over, you will load up some of those students, who at this point had been standing for about 4 hours, and drive them another hour away to compete in the second level of Extemporaneous Speaking, Prepared Speaking, and Job Interview CDEs. They will be so exhausted that they may not be on their A game, but they make you proud regardless. There is no picture of this event because it's a miracle we even made it to the contest. (To the teachers of the Southern Section in Middle TN, especially those at Eagleville and Oakland - thank you for waiting.)
When you get home and have some time to breath, you watch the recorded news footage and get excited when one of the stations talks about your program for an entire minute.
If you're like me, you'll end the experience on a nerdy note and use a stopwatch to add up all the time that your students or their jackets were on TV.
Between 4pm and 6pm on the day this happened, on the 3 major networks? 40 minutes, 33 seconds.
You will think back to all of the people who made fun of you for going to an urban school and joked that they would "see you in the hospital" because you might get shot.
You will then resist the urge to email all of those people a picture of the President in your gym, talking about why your high school and school district rocks.
You will reflect back to August when your students didn't know what FFA was and had never seen a blue jacket, and you will say it was a pretty darn good day.