'Born on Third Base': Checking Privilege at the Door

“BAD SCHOOL vs. GOOD SCHOOL” Perhaps the strongest aspect of my time as 2018 Louisiana Teacher of the Year is the constant reflection every experience affords me.  My experience throwing out the first pitch at an LSU Baseball game was no different.  I thought a lot about experiences that brought me to the field that day.  I spent the first six (of ten) years of my career working at a school within the same district, and that is the school that I credit with teaching me how to be a teacher.  According to the Louisiana School Finder, that school is 95% economically disadvantaged in contrast to my current school which is 45%.  When I switched over to my current position, I think what jumped out at me most wasn't the differences in the attendees of the school, rather, it was the pervasive attitude from some of both the students and the community that the other school was somehow "bad" and that this school was "better".  Despite the fact that teachers at my first sch…

Headed to Washington Week- Feeling all the Feels

The question I've recently gotten a lot is, "How does it feel?"  I usually stand awkwardly trying to think of a way to quickly process everything I'm feeling, but there's no quick way to do that so I say, "It feels great!"  But it also feels like so many other things, making it all the more incredible an experience.  If a person had an hour to listen to the complete answer here is what it would sound like:

Hello!  Tomorrow, I leave for Washington Week to learn and celebrate with my fellow SToYs (State Teachers of the Year).  I haven't packed.  I haven't made the reminder lists for my husband.  I haven't done laundry in about a month.  I'm still not quite finished with lesson plans for my sweet babies (students) for while I'm out.  I haven't thought about what I'll make for dinner tonight.  I'm already missing my little girl.  I DID, however, finish my week of State Testing with my students, rounded out appointments for m…

It's a Classroom. Not a Movie Set.

It's a Classroom.  Not a Movie Set. 
I can just see the movie trailer now:A deranged school shooter (hell… it’s my movie… I’m casting Adam Driver) bent on mass destruction after being humiliated in gym class.One heroic, armed teacher willing to risk it all to take him down (let’s go with… Denzel Washington, or Viggo Mortenson, or NO!Wait!Idris Elba!!!).Three minutes that will change lives.Fade to black.Flash to bright.The community praises the school for its militant training of teachers.
The trouble hanging over that scenario- what’s setting so many people at odds with their own beliefs- is that those familiar with real schools filled with real, unscripted human beings know that scenarios like that could only reliably happen in movies.In movies, all variables are accounted for.All the lines are rehearsed.All the attacks are staged.All the bullets are fake.All the screams are digitally enhanced.All the blood is mixed from packages.And when the scene goes wrong- CUT!They get to try…

A Hefty Price Tag for Kindness in the Classroom

The other night, sleepless as usual... I was engaging in one of my favorite wastes of time I call "freesearch" (mindless "research" in my free time... which is almost always after midnight) and one thing led to another.  Who knows where I started, but I ended up reading all about the prestigious school where young Prince George recently started attending:  Thomas's Battersea in London.  I spent AT LEAST two hours reading all about this school, from the curriculum by grade-level, to the amazing student diversity, to the tremendous course and extracurricular offerings.  But what struck me the most about a day school that parents happily pay over $23,000 a year for their children to attend is what the school heralds as its most important rule:  Be Kind.  In tandem with this, the school celebrates "Our ethos, aims and values actively support the upholding of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths an…

The Nth Degree

Northwestern State University (NSU) describes their prestigious Nth Degree Award as "a special honor presented to individuals [with ties to NSU] in recognition of their unselfish devotion to duty and the willingness to go the extra mile in meritorious service." First recorded in 1852, dictionaries describe the term -Nth Degree- as performing "to the utmost.  This expression comes from mathematics, where the Nth means "to any required power" (n standing for any number)."   

In either (and both) instance(s), I was recently awarded NSU's Nth' Degree Award, and I couldn't be more proud to accept the honor.  NSU gave me, a girl from "Bayou Blanche", Marksville, Louisiana, the education necessary to understand our world and myself well enough to discover how to best exact change upon it.  This award adds to what drives me to continually uphold the standard every educator in our nation should strive to hold.

There is no denying the absolute m…

Thankful for my Students

I'm so thankful to have the students I teach. There are honestly a million reasons why, but today I just want to send them a shout out for their bravery. I never discount the daily trials they face. I love them so much. Happy Thanksgiving to my sweet babies! SHOW MORE

The Road to Teacher of the Year-

A Look Back at the Process

Almost a year ago today, my principal let me know I had been selected as Brusly High School's Teacher of the Year.  I was in disbelief over the news, particularly because I had just finished thoroughly bashing myself over a lesson I knew had totally flopped for my kids.  I have days like that.  A lot.  In an actual, gazillion years I never, ever (EVER) would have dreamed that this moment... that chance... would lead to me becoming the 2018 Louisiana Teacher of the Year just nine months later.  I simply never could've foreseen the incredible journey and possibilities that lay ahead for me!
On Tuesday, October 10, 2017, the Department of Education will launch this year's Teacher and Principal of the Year process.  The state-level applications are due on January 17, 2018 and in early April, lives will change as 48 new teachers and principals will be named as semi-finalists and their journey to the gala, the Oscars of Teaching in Louisiana, will begin.…