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What Lies Ahead?by Stephanie Blackburn

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"The Milken Award? Someone is being presented with The Milken Award today? My eyes darted from one familiar face to the next. "Finally," I thought, "someone is being recognized for his or her hard work and dedication."

I listened closely as the state's education commissioner continued to describe one of my colleagues, one of the people I am fortunate to work with day in and day out. Then it happened. This fourth grade teacher is only an eight-year veteran ... the commissioner announced.

Stephanie Blackburn

The room seemed to go suddenly silent and a thick haze quickly engulfed me. I slouched deep into my chair. My thoughts stammered. He is talking about me! I could feel my face begin to turn a shade of crimson as the heat quickly rose from the depths of my soul. Youve got to be kidding," I thought. "Now they are going to make me go up there, arent they?

As the world slowly began to come back into focus, I quickly searched for words to express my gratitude and surprise. Approaching the stage, a further shock hit me. I looked up to see my family entering the room. Unbeknownst to me, they had been watching with pride from a side room, understanding the honor that was about to be bestowed upon me, and anxious to share this momentous occasion with me. For a few minutes, I stood shaking in front of my colleagues, students, and family, only to finally spit out, I dont know what to say. For once in my life I was speechless!

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Later, when the whirlwind had begun to subside, I was forced to reflect on who I was as a teacher and what my educational philosophy was. At first, all that crossed my mind was the many people who had helped shape me into the educator I am today. I realized how thankful I am for their guidance and support; they are the ones responsible for helping me embark on this journey.

After many long hours of pondering, however, I realized that I had decided to become an educator in order to combine my love for children with my love for learning. I believe that children are our future; they embody the dreams and aspirations of all of us. My dream is to effectively contribute to a childs life-long educational journey. Suddenly I realized that somehow, through all the laughter and frustration, I had found the path toward achieving my goal.

Even though I already have begun to make the contributions for which I longed so deeply, I am still awe-inspired by the possibilities that lie ahead. Each day, I sit and wonder, What new challenges and triumphs will I face today?

Previous Teacher Diaries

Be sure to see Education World's previous teacher diary features, The First 180 Days: First-Year Teacher Diaries and A First-Year Teacher and Her Mentor.

Article by Stephanie Blackburn
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