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.)

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Seattle, WA


I was always sort of ambivalent about homecoming.  I never really understood who was supposed to be coming home, or why we were celebrating it.  All I knew was that it involved a football game, a queen, and a dance.  And that was good enough reason to celebrate, I guess.


This morning was my own homecoming to my alma mater, Kentridge High School in Kent, WA.  The principal at KR had kept it a secret from the staff so it would be a surprise, though.  When he introduced me and I came out on stage, the reaction was… well… a bit like my reaction to homecoming.


There were only a couple of teachers there that I had as teachers 17 years ago (one other, Mr. Walrond, my art teacher that I loved, was gone today.  Although I thought a guy in the darkness of the back row was him and I kept making comments to him back in that direction.  Turns out that after the lights were out of my eyes, I realized that it wasn’t him, it was the only other African-American teacher at the school.  Oops.  I felt like an idiot.)  (Whoa, that was a long parenthetical remark.)  Anyways, no one else really knew me, so the whole surprise was a bit forced.  I didn’t really feel like I connected with anyone.


So there I was on stage, with an enormous screen behind me, and a hundred educators to entertain and inspire on their first day back from summer.  Surprise!  I’m not sure it worked too well.


I opened it up afterwards for questions and to get a feel for what people would take away from the talk, which went much better.  And the curriculum coach asked for some more info and examples, so that’s good.  A few people came up and complimented me afterward, too.


But for the most part, I felt like most of the dancing I did at this homecoming was by myself.  A few people might have picked up a couple of moves, but I didn’t feel like I really worked the dance floor.


Oh well.  Maybe at Prom.  (Whatever “prom” means.)



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