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.)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Halfway to the Moon

Redmond, OR

Well, I’m halfway to the moon.  According to my flight tracker, I’ve logged enough airline miles to circumnavigate the earth nearly 5 times, or fly halfway to the moon.  I’ve spent almost eight full 40-hour workweeks in the air since May (and that’s not counting all the time sitting on the plane waiting to take off or deplane, or the time in airports, or in taxis, or…)


Time-wise, I’m about halfway done with my reign as Mr. Teacher of the Year.  So I have a big decision to make: do I turn around now and hope to make it back home by next summer, or do I keep flying toward the moon?


I am, of course, speaking metaphorically.  I have made dozens upon dozens of trips, but each of them has included a return journey.  In fact, I’m actually sitting on my couch right now (my first official post not originally written while on a plane!  Does it feel different to you?  To me, it feels, well… much more comfortable.)


Jen says, “Go to the moon!  It’s the trip of a lifetime!”


“But how will I get back,” I am compelled to ask.


“Oh, we’ll figure that out later,” she assures me.  “You’ll probably have enough frequent flyer miles to at least get out of the moon’s weaker gravitational pull.”


I think what she is trying to say is “enjoy the journey, and go hard until the end of it.”  She fully supports me returning to the classroom next year.  She knows that’s where my heart is, and where I get so much of my creative energy.  But the journey wouldn’t be quite as unique if I turned around half way.


My flight tracker also informs me that I’m just over 1/1000th of the way to the Sun.  I don’t think that destination is worth the effort.  Plus, I’d burn up and stuff.

(Scientific note: The diagram above is to scale in terms of the moon's distance to the earth in relation to it's diameter.  Farther than you think, eh?  I am not to scale in the diagram, though.)


  1. I say, always aim for the moon Mike!

    You already know what the first half of the journey looks like, but who knows what's on that second half!

    C and I watched the NEA speech you gave - you are doing such an amazing job at public speaking. We were so proud of you Mike!

  2. Thanks for the photo I am using for my banner to my blog by the way!!

  3. Mike,
    The smartest thing I have ever done has been going right back to my classroom after the year sabbatical. 30 years and it is still fun. I'm not ready to grow up and leave the clubhouse and i definitely don't miss suits and ties. If it feels right to you then you are on the right path. For myself, I prefer to howl at the moon!
    Free to Be Me In Florida


Feel free to question, disagree, challenge, or make suggestions! I'm a big boy. I can take it.