Ok, so clearly I'm just a little bit behind on this challenge. I know the intent is to answer these questions on the designated day, one per day...but sometimes life gets in the way. Or in my case, germs. Our school has been dealing with a nasty virus going around, and it has laid me flat for the last several days. I even took a day off from school - something I almost NEVER do - just to stay home and sleep. Sooo, here I am trying to play catch up.
I'll be honest - another reason I have not followed through with this challenge right away is because I am stuck on the prompt for day 7. I have been thinking about it for days. It fills my thoughts at random times, even between coughing fits. The question? "Who was or is your most inspirational colleague, and why?" I truly have no idea how to answer this question. I have been blessed to be surrounded by amazing educators, filled with passion and inspiring students like never before. How do I choose just one? A wise choice for a happy marriage would be my husband, as his ability to connect with his students is inspiring a new generation of students that love science. His former students routinely talk about the impact he has made in their lives, and isn't that the mark of a successful teacher? He inspires on a daily basis. Another excellent choice would be those veteran teachers that have given so much of themselves, and are finally retiring to focus on their own lives. Special mention goes to Clyde Carpino, Nelletje Bailey, Nancy Moore, Gary Sumner, Pat Carter...and the list goes on and on.
Other outstanding teachers pop into my mind - Gretchen Schwab, Ana Farina, Missy Kalamaras, Jill Bolduc, Jacqui Alldritt, Katja Jackson, Pam Williamson. All of them dynamic, and they all have one thing in common - they truly, genuinely care about their students. They build relationships that allow them to inspire their students. They don't teach subjects - they teach kids. And they do an amazing job of it.
Most of all, I think what inspires me most in my colleagues is the amount of selflessness I see from them every day. Teachers that put lives on hold, and dedicate all their efforts to better their students and their school. Without a doubt, Dr. Will Cushman exemplifies this more than anyone else. He makes it clear that education is a service industry - whatever the students need from us is what we need to do. Serve the kids, at whatever cost. He gives so much of himself to everyone else that I am just in awe. He has the biggest heart, and he generously shares it with all of us. What a world our educational system would be if all educators could give just half as much as he does on a daily basis.
I have been very fortunate in my 16-years at Fairfield High. I've been mentored, inspired, and supported by an entire group of amazing educators. They all inspire me. To pick just one? Not a chance. Thank you, all of you.