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.…

We DO Need Another Hero

Ten Years ago, I walked into my very first classroom in the back of campus.  I had no idea what I was doing, only that I wanted to be there more than anywhere else.  Those sixteen, teenaged-boys who were over-aged, could not read and were full of troubles needed me to be there.  They believed in me. They needed me to believe in them.  They needed me to believe in myself.

Saturday night, I walked onto LSU's football field under my beloved Louisiana sky.  I had no idea what I was doing, only that I wanted every other teacher I've ever known to be there with me.  Those 80,000+ fans, who have all been positively impacted by a teacher, needed me to be there.  They believe in teachers. Through pounding, powerful reverberating cheers they showed the state of Louisiana that they believe in the power of our teachers. They need everyone to believe that teachers are heroes, too.

Students won't soon forget that in that moment, a teacher was honored on the same field as the athletes …

Student Voice. Student Choice.

Student Voice.  Student Choice.  Click the video below to hear me discuss the idea of why allowing student's voice and choice in the classroom has never been more vital!

Sharing the Torch

I am still completely amazed that in three weeks' time, my entire life changed course! I ended July eager to begin a new year with ever-renewed ideas for serving my students, school, and new teachers for our district.  Well, on the night of July 28th a wand was waved transforming me, and on Tuesday, August 15th I officially began my first day of service as the 2018 Louisiana State Teacher of the Year.  
Although I had entered the Claiborne building so many times over the years, nothing can quite describe the way it felt walking up those steps with this new, incredible purpose.  In an orientation for two, State Principal of the Year Mr. Tommy Byler and I became acquainted with the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and all the possibilities this one year can hold... an EPIC experience.  It's not every day that a teacher from a small town gets warmly introduced and invited to join in on such a powerful force that works so incredibly hard to provide both equilibriu…