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, February 1, 2009

Tinted, Not Tainted

Dallas, TX


Eight distinguished teachers pile into an airport shuttle with their luggage, but I get my own Lincoln Town Car (with tinted windows.)  We’re going to the same destination.  At the same time.


I was fortunate enough to attend the 2009 Teacher of the Year conference in Dallas this week, one year after I attended it as a participant and new honoree.  This year I was there as a facilitator/moderator/wiley-old-veteran guy.


What a remarkable group of people, each with their own stories and passions, taking on a new challenge in their careers with humility.  I was honored to be among them.


They were honored to have me there, too, apparently, as they showered me with compliments, sometimes bordering on reverence.  I don’t do well with reverence.  I assured them that I am just a man, and that they are every bit as worthy of the award as I.


But I still got a private car to the airport.  And although I had a wonderful conversation with the driver about this children and his family’s passion to care for the next generation, it felt awkward to be separated from my colleagues.  I felt much more comfortable reunited with them at the airport gate, sitting on the floor at their feet, sharing stories and laughing together.  No separation, no tinted windows, just sharing in our humanity.



  1. I so admire your trasparency (despite tinted windows) and your refreshing clarity of purpose. It was fun to be fellow colleagues and friends in the Dallas airport- all waiting for our planes to take us home- you in first class, of course (but graciously offering to give your seat to a fellow TOY!) Thank you, MIke, for your leadership, wisdom, and warmth in Dallas. We are all better for knowing and learning from each other. :)
    Beth- ND

  2. I don't always get to fly first class, ya know. It's just that I have approximately a quarter of a million SkyMiles, so I get bumped up every once in a while...

    Thanks to all of you for making it such a fabulous week!


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