Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Global Teacher Prize Trip Report – Departure Day!

Wheels up for Dubai! I’m writing this post from somewhere between 36,000 and 41,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean.

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind. Trying to make sure my students get what they need, presenting at PETE&C, media requests since being named a Top-10 Finalist, and my 40th birthday have made life a little crazy. I just finished packing about 10 minutes before I walked out the door this morning.

I’m very excited, and a bit anxious about the unknown going forward. No matter what happens this week, I’m sure life will get a bit crazier for a while going forward. I still can’t believe all of this is real. I’m on a plane to Dubai. Wow. Out of all the incredible, inspirational, amazing teachers in the world, I got chosen as one of the Top 10. Double Wow. I’ve got a shot at winning the whole thing in 6 days. I can’t even wrap my head around that one. No matter what happens, the opportunity to meet all the other finalists and to expand my professional learning network to include some of the best teachers in the world will be the highlight of the trip. 

Since my wife, Lori, and my mother are coming into Dubai two days after me, I’m thrilled to be flying tonight with Melissa Morris, who was a Top-50 Finalist along with me for last year’s GTP. She made my day by bringing me a present of champagne flavored Jelly Belly jelly beans so we could celebrate. We met at the airport around 1:30 and had lunch in an Irish Pub. Before boarding the plane she bought some duty-free makeup and we shot a 5 clue challenge video to add to the website.

It was hard to leave the kids this morning. I wish I could be sharing this experience with them as well. I was so proud of Michael. When he was asked this week what I should bring him back from Dubai, he said, “Well, hopefully not anything made out of gold if the gold was gotten by slave labor. It would be ridiculous for me to be raising money to get kids out of slavery and then get something like that.” Socially conscious at 10 years old. When I dropped Abby off at the bus to school this morning, she asked me to read Enders Game while I was on the plane because she just finished it and thought I would like it.  I told her that I would only read it after she finishes The Martian, a book I’ve been begging her to read for months because I want someone to talk to about it.   

The Emirates A380 we’re on is incredible.  We ended up in our own row. Melissa and I are on the aisles and we have 2 empty seats between us.  That should make it easier to get some sleep on this overnight flight. We were both booked in full rows, but Melissa told the lady at check in that I was a big shot or something and talked her into giving us a row. Nice!

Dinner will be served in a bit, and then I’ll try and sleep as much as I can. It’s not like I’ve been sleeping much lately anyway. I don’t handle the unknown well. 

I’m going to do my best to post every night during the trip to share this experience with you all, and to keep a record for me to look back at one day. It’s going to be amazing.