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.

Check in often, or subscribe to get headlines fed to you! Oh, and the views expressed here are not those of anyone but me.  And anyone who happens to share the same views, I guess.

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

Friday, April 3, 2009


Redmond, OR


Amazing scheduling anomaly!  My next three gigs are all west of the Mississippi river.  (This is a bit like the fact that on a multiple-choice test, there are always three of the same letters in a row somewhere on the test.  It’s statistically unlikely, but it always seems to show up.)


Tomorrow morning I’m at the National School Board Association’s annual convention in San Diego.  I have a tough assignment ahead of me: address several thousand school board members during the general assembly.  That’s not the tough part though.  The tough part is that I only get 3-4 minutes for my remarks.  That’s barely enough time to be funny!  I’m hosed.


So I must distill my message down to what amounts to a haiku.  This is good, though.  I need a challenge.  And I enjoy poetry.


I also get my first chance to meet with the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.  Again, I have a strange feeling that I won’t get to sit down and have a heart to heart with him, but that I’ll have to keep it fairly poetic.  The words “photo op” seem to be the point of the meeting backstage.  I knew I was becoming well-known in the education world, but I haven’t had too many high-ranking officials beating down my door to get their picture taken with me.  Must be my boyish good looks…



  1. Beth A. EdwardsonApril 8, 2009 at 4:41 PM

    Hey Mike,

    I had the pleasure of seeing you at the NSBA meeting in San Diego. I am a newly elected school board member of the Allen County School District in southcentral Kentucky. To put it mildly, I was overwhelmingly inspired by your sports analogy during the special session, as well as your afternoon session. I have but one very simple request...could you PLEASE come to our school? I noticed that you have traveled through our Bluegrass state, but not yet landed. I pledge to commit myself to supplying your audience if you could find your way to share your passion with not only our school staff, but also our community. Our state has recently suspended our testing and assessments (including writing portfolios, which is the area about which I am most ambivalent), and our schools are in 'transition' for the next three years. I wholeheartedly agree with your assertion that while standards and budget limitations may cause reductions in our arts, teachers can and must continue to utilize creativity in teaching core content. I believe that our teachers can do this if they see that it can be done and done successfully. You are certainly proof of this.
    So, while I understand that your time is at a premium, I also sense that in between the numerous requests for your services at major corporations and such (I told my husband that you could easily be a CEO if you so choose), your passion is with our children. I can tell you that Allen County's children desperately need an advocate such as yourself.

    Thank you for your thoughtful consideration.


    Beth A. Edwardson
    Scottsville, Kentucky

  2. National teacher
    of the year Michael Geisen
    gets Kentucky's love.

    Lonely Paul Bunyan
    travels North America
    only Babe loves him.


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