What Was I Scared Of?
This is the title of another Dr. Seuss book that relays the message of trying new things and stepping out of your box. I love Dr. Seuss books because they all have valuable, everyday lessons that are taught in a light-hearted, but effective manner.
For a number of years our state association officers asked, "Why don't you fill out this application for the NAAE?" For a number of years I found excuses not to -- one being if I fill this out and don't win I just wasted a lot of my time, right?
Oh I was so wrong. After I filled the application out and reflected back on how I had made improvements and changed my curriculum and the culture of the program, it was worth the effort even if I had not sent it in. I did not win the first year, but I was able to make some minor corrections and adjustments the next year, and in 2002 I won the Outstanding Middle/Secondary Program award. The recognition that my school received locally and regionally for our program achieving this award was inspiring. Now it has been a lot of years since this first award, but there are still coffee ladies who say or ask about this when we visit.
Filling out the award application not only benefited me, but our school district as well. I have since gone on and earned the Outstanding Teacher award, though I admit I still often feel humbled and inadequate compared to other teachers in our field.
The message I am trying to send is every year when I go to conference, whether on the state, regional or national level, I am amazed and in awe of the great work and ideas I see and hear from all of you. It is not me that you need to toot your horn to, but your administration, school board and the communities that you live in. You can be their shining star!
The application due dates are coming up soon. Contact a few teachers, community supporters and administrators and ask for that letter of support. Then call or contact someone you know that has applied for one of these awards and get their help. We would expect no less of our students, so why should we lower the bar for ourselves? You know as well as I that while the "atta boy" or "atta girl" are appreciated, they will not carry the weight to our schools and communities that these awards can.
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