Thursday, April 26, 2007

i'm wired...

I can't help it. When something big is about to happen, I can't sleep. My cats are nestled in their favorite spot on my comforter; Montana sleeps at my feet; the night is still with a bit of a chill to air; and the crickets have come out after hiding from the thunderstorm...but I can't sleep.

Tomorrow...or tonight I should Senior Project Night. From what was once a handful of faculty and staff and a collection of brochures and scrapbooks has turned into 183 volunteers and homemade electric guitars and ballroom dancers. This year I'm overwhelmed. Every year gets better and better and I know we haven't reached the peak...although we're getting closer and closer.

Tonight, students will put on their best duds, head to the high school, and spend 20 minutes presenting their research study and their creations to a panel of judges, many of them in front of strangers. I'm feeling a little in awe right now. I have always been an outgoing person, never afraid to speak to or in front of people. In high school, I entered as many public speaking contests through FBLA and FFA as I could...but this? I don't know if I could have done this. Perhaps if the expectation was placed in front of me, I would have met the challenge...and how I wish I could have done a project such as this for a grade in high school (although I know my students don't believe me!)

For now, let me just say, again, I'm overwhelmed. I've sat with students at my desk for conferencing over papers...not once, not twice...but several times in many instances. I've helped research sources and find books and peruse websites. I've watched kids run back and forth to the printer, sit down, and highlight information they found interesting. I've been text'd at 10:30 p.m. to answer a question. I've been interrupted talking on the phone, answering e-mails, visiting with colleagues and eating my lunch just so students would "have my opinion" on their work. I've gained respect for many...and lost respect for some. I've been angry; I've yelled; I've stormed out of my room and stormed right back in; I've been so irritated I couldn't even speak; and I've been so frustrated I refused to answer the same questions over and over.

But it's all part of the game of teaching. And when students walk out of their presentation rooms tonight and scan the halls for me, it's then that I know it's not only them who has conquered the world and accomplished a feat they never thought possible.

With a little persistence, with a little patience, with a little hard work and dedication, ALL is possible.


Anonymous said...

Well, what can I say other than the students that I helped judge were wonderful, full of confidence, dressed sharply, and they gave me a lesson or two. I know more about braille. I now know there are different sounds in a coondogs howl and for a reason. I was touched my a young lady who chose to help others, by volunteering to raise $750 bucks for a cancer program. I appreciate young men who can focus on restoring a vehicle, building a racing machine, or making a CD, and writing the songs on that CD, wow! Ballroom dancing, never would I have considered that in my day, but I was moved by their commitment, and those that commented after the dance, touching!! I enjoyed the comments from the judges from other schools during the fellowship / dinner break. By the way, thanks for a wonderful meal. Is this program not awesome? My fourth year of judging and my best in every aspect. As a judge I came early and spend more time visiting with the students and reviewing their projects during the viewing hour. I am happy I did that and feel that helped me be more objective in my judging. Thank you for allowing me to be part of a wonderful evening. I was the lucky person there because I got to witness this occasion. I thank you, Ms. Casey, having surrounded yourself with great people who have helped you put together a marvelous and great evening. Something is working right at the Willow Springs School.

Cindy said...

Wow! What a night. This was my first experience judging senior projects and I was amazed at what high school students accomplished. Students had to learn time management, writing and presentation skills that will be of great value to them, whether or not they go to college or choose a different avenue. Surely this will be an experience they will value, sooner or later!