October was a pretty busy month. Today is a Sunday, so my day did not involve any interactions with current students. Today is also my birthday, which provides an excellent opportunity to look back on the past year.
I started out with a quick 3-mile run, to shake out the tired legs from yesterday’s 6.66-mile race in Salem, Massachusetts. That was actually a pretty fun race - I had looked at it the past two years but never quite made it to sign up. I wanted to have a double-race weekend, but the half marathon for Sunday through the Stone Zoo was canceled, due to low registration. One race was good, though, and my fall running season is winding down, for which my body is thankful. I did complete my 18th consecutive 100-mile month, and am only 20 km shy of my “2016 km in 2016” goal I set back in January.
After the run, brunch with my wife, my mother, and my brother’s family, and then back to my parents’ house to watch football with my father (who had to work during brunch) and carve pumpkins with my nieces. The evening ended with a rock concert in Worcester, as luck had one of my favorite bands, Clutch, in town on my birthday. Overall, it was a pretty good day, and a good way to start Year 42.
I mentioned that I did not interact with current students, but a student from my past reached out to wish me a happy birthday via text. This young woman, now 21, means a tremendous amount to me personally, and professionally, and is the personification of how a teacher can make a difference in a student’s life in ways that you don’t realize at the time.
As for looking back on the year, I have made the largest professional growth of my life over the past 12 months. At this time last year, I was a classroom teacher who was just learning about the avenues of teacher leadership that exist. Since then, I have both attended and organized professional development sessions, as well as conferences involving some of the strongest teachers I have ever met, by whom I am continuously inspired. My entire experiences surrounding the ECET2 convenings have transformed me as an educator, and I feel as though I am much more effective in my classroom with all students, and improving regularly. Even as I sat in a dilapidated old theater, watching a rock band destroy the hearing of hundreds of people, part of my mind would wander to what I would do Monday morning. When I reflect on that, I fully realize my growth, and appreciate it for a moment. But only for a moment, because I’m not finished.