Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Good Week to Be Steve

I can’t believe how well this week has looked to my ego. It started out with the ten year reunion of the first musical at Westfield. Nine students came back to visit after ten years. Seeing those nine adults standing on stage next to their 12-year-old selves was amazing to say the least. This was also the culmination of the 2014 Winter Musical Oklahoma! The students this year did a fantastic job pulling together and pretending to be someone else. The wiki for the troupe has expanded to over 230 pages of students and shows. http://d300-presents.wikia.com I also was able to attend two high school performances of Urinetown. Seeing those kids on the verge of adulthood doing such a great job was another feel good. 2/3 of the cast are alumni of the Westfield troupe. I can’t believe how far they, and I, have come in this decade’s long musical project.

Then on Tuesday, I got the surprise of a lifetime. I was in the monthly faculty meeting when the District Foundation for Education Excellence announced the Westfield candidate for the Outstanding Educator of the year. To my shock, the faculty nominated ME for that honor. Even more surprising was that my family arrived for the announcement, they knew about this for a month beforehand. I dropped my seven-year-old son off at his school and he arrived at my school 10 minutes later. He had schemed with his mother that I would drop him off at the front of his school and he would run to the rear of the school and get into his mother’s car for the continued trip to my school.

I am utterly humbled at the thought that my peers see me as a strong teacher and leader in my profession. It’s curious to think how we go through our daily lives and just get by, doing what we do. Some days are better than others and we sometimes strive to achieve more.

I am so lucky to be in a job that they pay me for. I have always said that this job is the easiest job I have ever had because they pay me to do my hobby. If there were no place I could go to put on musicals and talk to kids about technology, I would find a place to do those two things. That’s what I do. Before I took this job the pre-interview phone call defined my tenure here. The assistant principal on the phone hesitated. He said, “well…this job…it’s half drama and half computers.”

I tried not to be too cocky. I was on the phone with a potential employer, but I said, “Well then you had better stop interviewing, because you will never find another human being on this planet who is more half drama and half computers than I am.” That fact is irrefutable. Most people who work with one cannot work with the other very well, but I believe I stand as the model in both worlds to my students.

When I was interviewing for this job the principal said, “There has never been a musical program here at Westfield. Are you the man to start that program here?”

I looked him in the eye and I smiled. “Yes. I definitely am that man,” I said. And I have been that man for the last decade.

I can’t imagine allowing the talent in this building to not flower on stage. It pains me to think of the waste that would be. A decade’s work making this troupe in to the adults of this cynical world seems like a blink of the eye but my hope is that the lessons learned in the theater have strong influence on the decisions that these students make for a lifetime. I think they do.


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