In January I was blessed with the opportunity to spend a long weekend with two of my friends at Disney. Every excuse I gave them for why I couldn't possibly leave town in the middle of January was met with a solution. As result we had the most magical weekend going to all four parks, and we got upgraded to the Grand Floridian. Since that weekend, those two friends have been there for me through the smooth and bumpy times, and I can't imagine my life without them.
In June, I was blessed with the opportunity to go to my third ISTE conference. Because of my generous friend and colleague I got to hike the Rocky Mountains and stay in a treehouse before the conference started. I also got to see my friend Wayne who I hadn't seen since college.
ISTE is like Disney for teachers. Having the opportunity to connect in person with so many educators I tweet with on a regular basis continues to improve my teaching. My PLN makes me a stronger person every day. When I first heard of Twitter, I would have never believed it would become the single most valuable professional development tool for me as a teacher.
I remember thinking, "Do I really need to know what Donny Osmond did today?" I couldn't grasp the difference between users and hashtags. My principal very patiently tried to explain Twitter to me at a conference. Despite his best efforts, I wasn't a quick learner at first.
But when I realized that I could communicate with many of my favorite Phillies if I figured out how to tweet, I became determined to figure out Twitter. I dug my heels in and decided I was going to figure out this tool. In the beginning I didn't understand how my love of baseball would lead me to so many kindred spirits in education all over the world.
In July I got to attend a Phillies game with extended family and three teachers who I met through Twitter. That game was also Photo Day so I had the opportunity to talk to and get my picture with many of my favorite players and coaches. My teacher friends said watching me that day was like watching their kids at Disney for the first time. I still can't believe I met the Phillie Phanatic. This trip would not have been affordable without being able to stay with my aunt and uncle and without flying on Frontier Airlines. The teachers who were with me that day encourage me on a regular basis and are only a direct message away when I need their counsel.
In late July, I drove to Atlanta to visit family friends and college friends. Oh, and of course, I was there to see my Phillies:) It is not lost on me that I am eternally grateful that my car did not start acting up on this trip. I got to see my Phillies split two games with the Braves, met lots of courageous fans with amazing stories, and introduce my friend Jen to one of the Phillies broadcasters, Gregg Murphy. My Phillies trips are always more special when I get my picture with Murph and have the opportunity to thank him in person for all the work the broadcasters to do to bring the Phillies home to us every game.
During my second game I got to sit next to 3 year old Cici. Watching her learn about baseball from her Dad brought back memories of my own Dad and trips to Wrigley with my Dad and my brother. She won't remember the day we met, but I won't ever forget it. She asked me who my favorite players were. Experiencing the game from her perspective made the loss to the Braves seem unimportant.
My final summer adventure took me to just outside of Orlando. My friends Tom and Shereen gave me a restful and fun filled weekend to finish out my summer adventures. They took me back to Disney so I got to experience some of my favorite rides for a second time this year. We met Kelly from Ohio in the new restaurant Skipper's Canteen. Her sense of humor was a great addition to our day, and the food was really good at this new Disney restaurant.
So today, on this Sunday before my school year begins, I am truly grateful for the opportunities I had to recharge and rejuvenate. I grateful for all who support me on my journey to be a better educator and a stronger person each day. I am grateful for my new first graders who I will meet on Tuesday. I am grateful for God and the opportunity to share my faith.
Thank you for taking the time to read my posts, and for supporting me along the way:) Happy First Day of School!