Monday, July 9, 2012

Lighting the Way

I'm currently in Sacramento, California for my second of three teacher workshops for the summer. This one is the ARRL Wireless Teacher Institute. It's day one and I'm learning a lot. I think there will be a lot that I will be able to take back to the classroom. However, after just finishing Advanced Space Academy for Educators by Honeywell, its hard to keep my head out of the clouds. The space camp experience the second time, just like the first, was amazing. 15 teachers from around the country and the world bonded as if we were family. I haven't laughed so hard or felt more in geek sync with friends...ever. However, I've waited two years for this experience and I had to get through the lowest lows as a teacher to get to this high. After I left the public school system two years ago, already feeling beaten, I signed a contract at a charter school. I won't say the name of the school, but looking back I feel very misled from my interview. I knew the very first day of school that something was wrong and wasn't sure what I had gotten myself into. I cried almost every day, along with a fellow colleague, for most of August and September. I had a nervous breakdown and the passionate light of my teaching career was on the brink of being snuffed out. My husband finally told me to give them my notice of resignation. I didn't know what else I could do if I couldn't teach. Nursing? Back to school? I had no idea. I was so lost because teaching was what I was good at and my passion. I'm not sure what triggered the change, but I told myself that I will not let this situation get the best of me. I used every strategy and lesson that I could from space camp and created my portfolio for Advanced camp. I knew if I had a goal where the kids would benefit and I could keep my sanity then I would be able to get through this year. It was not easy, but the space science activities were the light that got me through each day in a classroom with no windows. My fire was returning and I would blaze out of there no matter what! The students loved the engaging activities and we were in the newspaper monthly. Later in the year I found out I was accepted to Advanced Academy, Teacher at Sea, and the Reduced Gravity Program. The hard work had paid off, but I would have to defer camp in order to participate in the reduced gravity flight because of date conflicts. I was heart broken to have to wait another year, but after this experience it was so worth it. Each teacher that I met this year had such amazing qualities and ideas to share. I've never felt or experienced anything like this before. Just like one of my teammates expressed, we have touched each others lives...forever. This was something so very special that not many people on this planet get to experience. I feel so blessed that in some crazy way I was chosen. That we all were chosen. My message on this post is that even when the road is so dark and it would be so easy to give up...don't. Always follow your heart and your passion no matter what others may say. There will be rewards for your perseverance and you will come out stronger. I'm at an amazing school now and I have the best space geek friends anyone could ask for. Thank you Honeywell. Thank you Team Kibo. Thank you Team Kennedy. I'm excited to continue down this path as a passion to share and to teach lights the way.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A video by Krissy Venosdale that sums up our time at Space Academy thanks to Honeywell.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Thursday, June 21, 2012

First day at camp!

Well summer has officially started and I have just finished my first day back at Honeywell's Advanced Space Academy for Educators! Many of us met on facebook before we arrived at camp, but it was great to meet everyone in person. The teammates are so wonderful and we get to totally geek out with our passion for space science! Our first day consisted of a ropes course where we climbed to the top of a 32 foot pole, stood up, and then jumped off. It was exhilarating and pushed us all to trust one another. Then we were briefed on shuttle hardware and medical issues that may "pop" up during simulations. To wrap things up we saw the regular space camp graduate and listened to astronaut Leland Melvin talk about his journey to NASA. A wonderful dinner and dancing under the Saturn V rocket followed. It was one of the best nights I've had in a long time and I'm so fortunate to be able share the experience with these people from around the world. More to come!