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 say...is 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.