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.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hugs and Cuts

Redmond, OR


On Friday, I visited my school for the first time this school year.  I live half-an-hour away from Crook County Middle School, and I’m usually not home for more than a few short days at a time, so it just hasn’t happened.  I wish it would have earlier.


I was overwhelmed with hugs, smiles and questions from my former students (“Where all have you been?”) and my colleagues (“What are your plans for next year?”)


Sammy, Kim and Kylie urged me to come by the choir room after lunch because there were a bunch of other students there that caught word of a Geisen-sighting and really wanted to see me.  After a huge group hug / mob scene / mosh pit, a song for me, and sharing a few stories, Gerardo (who is the entire bass section (Austin is the tenor section)) raised his hand (he’s always so polite.)  “Yes, Gerardo?”  “Can I have my own hug, Mr. G.?”  “You bet, Gerardo.”


But there was an undercurrent of sadness permeating the school and the community, too.  Budget cuts will result in a school year that is at least two weeks shorter than normal, our forward-thinking technology program is facing huge cuts, the community is focused on banning an award winning book at the high school, unemployment is rising quickly in our little town, and next year we’re looking at a 10-20% reduction in staffing (we’ll lose several teachers at our school alone, which may mean the end of our vitally important team schedule at the middle school.)


There are tough times ahead, and ultimately it’s hurting the kids.  Unfortunately, there’s only so much a hug can do. 



  1. Mike.
    I feel your pain. Unless Florida's legislature reverses its course our school district will face a 100 million shortfall next year. We are making tentative plans to cut athletics, the arts, and teachers. As an area administrator said to me the other day - life as we know it will end. My own elementary science lab is at eminent risk. Hope can't come fast enough for education.

  2. Ouch, Rick. It seems to be bad everywhere. I really hope that as the government borrows money from our children to build infrastructure, that we give a little of it to our children in the form of an adequate education. I'm curious to see how much federal aid will come.


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