As we climbed into the school van at 3:10 Monday morning, my principal handed me an envelope and said something about also getting one and there being a typo. I don’t really remember how I replied. I’m pretty sure I didn’t really look at it before stuffing it into my bag. We were on our way to Boston Logan Airport for a four-day trip to DC. it was the first time I had planned and led a trip such as this, and my already sleep deprived mind was on getting everyone through security and onto the plane. At some point during the morning I noticed the envelope kept working its way out of my bag, so I stuffed it into a deeper pocket.
It wasn’t until I returned from DC at the end of the week (after an exhausting but successful trip) that I pulled out the letter. I had assumed it was junk mail. One of many fishing letters I get for curriculum or writing contests. Boy was I wrong! Instead of a generic sales pitch, I held a letter from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Because of a nomination from someone, I would find out who later, I was invited to attend Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers (ECET2) in Seattle, WA, July 15-17, with BMGF arranging and paying for my hotel and travel.
Friday afternoon I received an email with registration information and nomination information. Turns out I had been nominated by Kate Baker (@KtBkr4), a high school English teacher from NJ. I met Kate on Twitter, and over the last several years she has become a valuable part of my PLN on both Twitter and Voxer.
My registration and travel preferences have been submitted, but it still hasn’t fully sunk in that I will travel to Seattle in July to participate in an event where I will collaborate with teachers from all over the country to tackle current issues in education and share ideas about best practices.
I have been frustrated that I can not afford graduate school or to attend national conferences such as NCTE, but I have not let that stop me from seeking out learning online and through books. I have attended EdCamps and smaller local conferences for which I always pay out-of-pocket. I love to learn, I know there is much to learn, and I want to be the best teacher I can possibly be for my students.
I am excited to continue my learning this summer thanks to the generosity of others. At the end of June I will attend Heinemann’s Boothbay Literacy Retreat thanks to the generosity of Maine children’s book author, Cynthia Lord. Then a few weeks later, I will attend ECET2 thanks to the Gates Foundation. It’s going to be an awesome summer!