Sunday, November 20, 2011

National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT)!

Good luck charms work.  Remember these guys, from this photo taken this March 31?  That was the deadline for submission of this blue box, THE box, containing many, many pages of carefully constructed and edited portfolio entries on different aspects of my music teaching.  I had Andrew and Ethan touch it before I headed to the post office and I am so glad I did!
The process was really, really difficult for me.  Last year marked my 12th year as an elementary music educator, but I felt like a first-year teacher (and this bunny) in many ways.
I had just come off of three solid years as a stay-at-home-mama (wouldn't have traded those years for the world) and the transition was not an easy one AT ALL.  I was so happy to have a job again, but quickly realized much had changed over my three-year teaching hiatus.  I was in a new school in a new district in a new state.  There was so much to be learned about the way this new bunch of folks did things.  My confidence level about teaching took a major nosedive. 

But, the state was offering a wonderful financial opportunity to teachers who tried to achieve national board status.  I couldn't pass it up.  So, I threw another log on the fire and went for it.  Stress level = instantly WAY HIGHER.  I did not expect to achieve it on my first try (we have three years), but I was still cautiously optimistic.

In addition to the portfolio entries that I mailed at the last possible second on March 31, there were some dreaded tests.  I went to a computer assessment center one Saturday in May and took six 30-minute exams on music history, applied theory, diagnostics, and a few other facets of teaching.

The long-awaited scores were supposed to be posted Friday.  So many candidates checked for their scores, the website crashed.  It was still down yesterday.  This morning, however, it was up and running!  I logged on to see this very exciting greeting:

After checking my scores in disbelief about a million times, I read this sentence on an attached letter.  Aaaaaaaaah.

This achievement means a lot of wonderful things for my career and for my family.  I am so happy and relieved and thankful and proud.

Good luck charms work.  Period.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Beautiful Run

I've been trying to run a lot, but usually can only fit it in at 5:00 am, in our dark neighborhood. Since the weather has been so gorgeous around here lately, I treated myself to a rare weekday daytime run the other day, and took a couple of shots of the pretty landscape.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Full, Fun Weekend

I'm anxious about some upcoming events and have given up on sleep for now, so why not post?
This Saturday, Jon and I had a really interesting date night as we checked out the SC State Museum's latest traveling exhibit, Body Worlds Vital. We were not allowed to take photos, so here is one I borrowed from the website.
The short of it is that a German scientist named Gunther von Hagens teamed up with a doctor in the late 70s to invent plastination, which is a process that stops decomposition and preserves the bodies of donors.  Mr. Hagens and his staff have posed the bodies in various positions, and in this particular exhibit, they have compared healthy bodies to those ravaged by disease.  It was eye-opening and amazing to see this. Once you realize everything you are seeing is REAL and this is YOU, it is a beautiful exhibit. Go here for more information on this amazing experience.

On a completely different note... on Sunday, we took the kids to Monkey Joe's,
a new play place very near our house, and we are so thankful! We used to have to drive across town to get to the bouncy houses.
Ethan was extremely apprehensive at first.  Here I am, encouraging him to slide!
Perhaps by "encouraging," I meant that I actually sent him down the slide, whether he really wanted to go or not.  In this photo, you can see flailing legs on the way down.
And here he is, clearly letting his parents know what he thought of his sliding experience.
BUT, he ended up becoming very courageous and enjoying his sliding time
after he warmed up to the whole deal.
So, there went another amazingly FAST weekend. I will be at school in 4.5 hours, working on parts with whatever 4th and 5th grade steel band members decide to roll in for 7:30 am sectionals.  Good night, fellow bloggers, and have a good week!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Inspirational Week... Thanks to Our Vets!

On Monday, our school's 600+ students and staff spelled "USA" and got up-close and personal with an Army helicopter pilot who hovered VERY NEARBY for a few moments to snap this amazing shot! The leaves were swirling off the trees and everyone was really excited to see the massive chopper. Teachers got tears in their eyes. It was awesome.
Then, a group of lovely teachers and I sang this version of the national anthem for the school's Veteran's Day celebration on Tuesday morning. It was definitely a feel-good experience for all.
Today, the only ever 11.11.11 in our lifetime, we honor the amazing people who serve(d) so that we may be free to do whatever we choose. Thank you to ALL.

Monday, November 7, 2011

i heart facebook

this is one of the many reasons i am a fan of facebook... this was my morning just now! users always feel so loved on their birthdays.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Some Saturday Fun

Jon is at state championships right now (fingers crossed that BHS' band does really well) so the boys and I have been hanging out today. This morning, Ethan dumped out many toys and lorded over them, as usual.

Then, Ethan entertained. He stole my Droid (again, as usual) and the first clip is him dancing to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on TV. Next, he opened the music player by himself and rocked out to the God Bless the USA instrumental version that will be accompanying my chorus this Tuesday for our Veteran's Day Celebration.  The final clip is Take You to Rio... this was much more his favored tempo.
After the early morning fun, we headed to Clemson Extension at Sandhills for a long run.  I am now working with the Bridge to 10K app, so after 50 minutes of running, the kiddos got a teeny bit bored and grumpy, which is precisely when I took this photo.
Anyway, today was (and still is) fun, even with the disappointing WVU football loss. Now, we are watching Cars 2!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Halloween Randomness

This is the time of year when music teachers begin to feel pretty overwhelmed with impending performances, not to mention their own personal family Christmas creep.  Jon is in the home stretch of his 2011 marching band season and we are ALL looking forward to having him around again in the evenings and on weekends starting next week. So, this is the best Halloween post I have the time or energy to offer. It's a hodge-podge of pumpkin-carving, trick-or-treating on our street, Andrew's field trip to the pumpkin farm, and just hanging with the hounds in our backyard. 

Now, we are looking forward to Thanksgiving! We are READY!!