Just Look...

Just Look...

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

LIVE Update

This one is likely going to be long... (I have to make up for a two month blogging absence.) :)

On Friday (I cannot believe it was less than a week ago), we had been told that a special announcement was going to be made on Raider Connect. We all tuned in at 9:45 (after some mocking from me, just if I'm being honest) for the "BIG ANNOUNCEMENT". The screen flipped to the "LIVE with Kelly and Michael" show... then to the Top Teacher Contest... at that point, I assumed a local person had made it into the contest. A couple of names into the announcement of the Top 12, I realized who the local person was...
Um, WHAT??? Is this real life? I turned to my class and they turned to me and for about two beats, we stared at each other silently, then they cheered and I got lots of hugs, etc. My ears had closed after I heard my name, so I had no clue what this possibly meant, but it seemed really good. :)

The day felt like a dream with people congratulating me, celebrating with me, and asking for more information. The voting started that day in order to get into the Top 5 Finalists. The weekend was just so much fun and so surreal. I went to Walmart and strangers stopped me to say, "I voted for you!" One lady hugged me with tears in her eyes, saying that she read the letter about me and she "just had to hug me". My social media filled with compliments and kindness. I am just in awe of and so humbled by the support I received. It was a beautiful weekend.

Voting ended at 5:00 on Monday, so I broke all my rules for myself (don't even vote for yourself, don't toot your own horn, don't self-promote) and voted like crazy, begged people to vote for me, and posted frequently about my situation. I tweeted at famous people, locally famous people, etc. I went on the radio that morning to beg for more votes. 

Once it all ended on Monday at 5, I felt an unbelievable peace (that was quickly broken by an unsettled weather pattern that resulted in us sleeping all night in the basement). I posted this on my fb that night:

"I just want to say that no matter how this contest ends, the past four days have felt like a dream. I am so grateful for the nomination (Kelly), for the insane amount of support from friends, family, church family, coworkers, students, former students, parents, future students, classmates, local media, "famous" friends, and perfect strangers. I just read through the comments on my voting site and I am just so honored. It isn't very often that you get an opportunity to hear this sort of kindness while you're still living  and I just appreciate it so very much. I love my job with a love that probably looks crazy to most people. I truly feel that I was called by my God to do this work and I attempt every day to live up to that calling. My ultimate goal in education is to help my students become a better version of themselves and stand up for what is right, showing kindness to all along the way. (I also hope they learn some English and literature and writing as well, haha!) I treat my students the way I want Emma and Kelsey's teachers to treat them. That being said, it is SO easy to love my students and this job because they make it easy. Cleveland High School is the best school on earth and I work in the most phenomenal school system, with and for the most amazing people. I am so blessed by the students I have had and I eagerly anticipate the upcoming 17 years.

I would LOVE to be in the Top 5 and go to NYC. Kelsey asked me tonight if I would be disappointed if I didn't make it. I said I will certainly be disappointed, but I wouldn't trade the past four days for anything. At that point, EMMA compared it to "Soul Surfer" (apparently there's a scene where Bethany Hamilton is asked if she would change anything about that day and she says no, because if it hadn't happened, she "wouldn't be here right now with you, talking about the love of God")... While I feel rather certain there is a huge gap between shark attacks and the Live with Kelly and Michael show, I AM so thrilled to be here right now, even if tomorrow brings news that this is where it will end.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for voting and sharing and listening and hugging and writing beautiful and hilarious posts and just being YOU... my people."

I truly meant every word of that post. But thankfully, miraculously...THIS HAPPENED:

On Tuesday morning, we had a two hour weather delay. For that reason, I was not in class with my 2nd period, but in Jon Souders's room surrounded by teacher friends, Kelly, and my sister. I didn't really get nervous until there were only 15 min left in the show and I knew it was next. Never been so grateful to be at the BEGINNING of the alphabet! My name was the first announced!!! My friends stood and cheered and screamed, Natalie hugged me, I was shaking and shocked. After I talked to Autumn, I went back to my room and my sweet co-workers/parents/sister had decorated and made me the sweetest treats!!! It was so beautiful. I had barely gotten into the classroom when Autumn called me down to talk to New York. NEW YORK. Where I am going to get to GO now!!! I am one of the Top 5 Finalists in the teacher search. 

What I found out from Autumn is that they would be coming to tape the VERY NEXT DAY (today, that is). Well. That escalated quickly. ;) That meant that my classroom, my car, my house all needed to be clean. Perhaps more importantly, I needed to get my hair done IMMEDIATELY. Thankfully, my sweet friend Edie not only did my hair, but did it free as a "Congratulations!" It was a crazy night, one in which I stayed up almost all night, making it the second night in a row I got little-no sleep. 

Today, fitting with a previous pattern, I wasn't even very nervous. It was so much fun to meet the camera man, Ben, and the producer, Jonie. They were just the nicest people who were so good to me and easier to work with. They filmed in my classroom most of the day (getting footage of my classroom, me teaching, etc). They also invited my students out in the hallway to be interviewed. We ate lunch in Autumn's office (JENKINS!) and then they did some other interviews and I was back on my own for a while. 

I am so stinking proud of my students today. They were absolutely so impressive today with the crew there, just as they are daily. THEY are why this job is what it is. THEY are the ones I love. 

This afternoon, they interviewed the girls, Kraig, Pastor Moody, and the four of us at our church. I think that went well. 

This entire thing is just so crazy. No other words for it...From the amazement and awe of being selected to the sheer gratitude I feel to those who voted and shared to the nervous energy associated with today.  I have floated through the past six days. I cannot imagine what is coming next!

They finish recording at the school tomorrow, then I go to NYC the weekend of graduation to be on the show on Monday, 5/12. Voting starts again on Friday, May 16. AUGH!!! :) Did I mention I am going to NYC??? :) 

Friday, April 25, 2014

VOTE! (please) (Even though I stink as a consistent blogger)

So, I feel a little awkward posting this BUT..... it IS a trip to NYC, a place I've never been, so here goes. :) Somehow (and rather miraculously) this happened today and I am in the top 12 semifinalists for Live with Kelly and Mike Top Teacher Contest. If you would, please go to the link below and vote!!!