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by Stephanie Blackburn

Stephanie Blackburn is working toward National Board Certification as a Middle Childhood Generalist.

February 9, 2004

The phone rings. "What are you doing?" is the most common question. My response is always, "Guess!" Half the callers guess, "Sleeping? Cleaning? Watching a movie? Cooking dinner? Paying bills?" All I can do is laugh; I don't think I've done any of those things in the past six weeks. My husband can attest to that! My life has been put on hold as I approach the light at the end of this daunting tunnel.

Weekends are spent at the computer -- from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. -- or until my eyes are burning so badly I can't see anymore. School days are spent finishing projects or collecting student work. And let us not forget about preparing for fourth grade testing! Weeknights are spent copying, revising papers, rereading standards, and organizing all the forms NBPTS needs.

But I am ecstatic to report that three of the four entries are written, awaiting only a final once over for grammatical errors. Forms are filled out. Pages are number and labeled. Student work is collected. Entry four is packed in its entirety.

The train is moving along and, for once, I feel like I'm on it. I am in a calm state of utter panic. All the advice says not to wait to the last minute, and I understand why. Will it all be done to the best of my ability? Yes, but I could have avoided all this stress if I had stuck to that schedule I spent so much time creating in August.

But there's no time to worry about what I should have done. I have tasks to cross off my list and the days are counting down.

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Meet Stephanie Blackburn

Stephanie Blackburn, one of Education World's 2002-2003 teacher diarists, received her bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Rhode Island in May 1994. For the first two years of her teaching career, Stephanie worked as an enrichment specialist in the talent development program for the Westerly, Rhode Island, school district. For the past seven years, she has taught fourth grade at Bradford Elementary School in Westerly. Stephanie was awarded a 2002 National Educator Award by the Milken Family Foundation, in a program that provides recognizes elementary and secondary school teachers, principals, and other education professionals who are furthering excellence in education.

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