Thoughts, links & ideas from the 2008 National Teacher of the Year

Each time I've taken off in a plane since May (which is a lot), I've been writing in my journal, then adding these journal entries on this blog.

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(Note: the blue posted dates are actually the dates I wrote the journal entries, not when I posted them online.)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

30,000 feet

Seattle, WA

Leaving Seattle now.  It's been raining a bit here (surprise, surprise).  What's nice is that I know it will be sunny once we get above a few thousand feet.

I'm heading to the Department of Education in Washington DC to meet with Secretary Spellings and Assistant Secretary Ray Simon, and to tape a segment for the DOE's monthly TV show.  I watched a couple of episodes of it yesterday and was struck by how rosy a picture they paint of education in America and No Child Left Behind.  It was a bit like living at 30,000 feet.  Always sunny, and everything looks pretty clean and tidy.

But on the ground it can be a bit of a different picture.  Sometimes it's sunny, but sometimes it's raining.  What may look tidy and organized from up high is actually pretty messy on the ground.

But life isn't lived at 30,000 feet, and I wouldn't want to live there if I could.  Life should be a little bit messy.  We need the rain and the sunlight on our faces.  We need to have room to run, explore and dance.

This year I have the opportunity to experience the world of education from both up high and down low.  I'll get to see the big patterns and trends, and I will hopefully get to feel the sun and the rain.  I need to remain grounded, which means I need to be with children and educators as much as possible.  Only then can I be a true voice.

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