I mean seriously...
Just 1 week ago I was heading down to Atlanta to attend the 2-day Ron Clark Academy experience and boy is it an experience! The most amazing experience in my almost 28 years of life. True Story.
First, this happened..
Oh.Em.Gee y'all...can I just tell you how flippin' excited I was? Like.. "Justin, look- it's HIM!" Talk about nervous butterflies. This is the man whose story helped me realize my desire, deep down inside, to teach. #TeacherCrush (Don't tell my husband - I'm sure he's supposed to be my teacher crush - don't worry, Justin, you are also the reason I realized my calling. :) )
Before even walking through the gates at RCA we could really feel how truly welcome we were. The students stood outside, handing out nametags, greeting guests, welcoming you, and conversing with all of the educators visiting. These kids are incredible! Firm handshake, smiles, great conversationalists... I was impressed. And we had only been there for 10 minutes.
Then, you walk into the library to students dancing & cheering. People jumping on the trampoline.... Basically you walk into ENERGY!
I was excited....I was loving it!
Then, for the rest of the day and the following day we attended workshops and classes. First of all, it was so cool to see the teachers in action. They are truly leading an education revolution. The kids were incredibly engaged in their learning. And the rigor?! Phew! These kids knew the cubed root of 64 in the snap of 2 fingers. Me? It took me a few seconds... I loved how zero time was wasted and how much music was incorporated into the lessons. The communication between and among the kids/teacher was a huge take-away. I love how the students stood to address the class and they were reminded to communicate with their classmates rather than the teacher. Every single teacher is doing incredible things in their classroom. I was blown away in every class that I attended but especially in Mr. Fleming's class where he used scenarios to help kids develop their knowledge of government, politics, and other issues that we face today.
I even totally got to pretend I was a 5th grader in Mr. Clark's math class and get on top of the desks to celebrate! #BestDayEver
This is the entrance into Hope King's Alice in Wonderland themed classroom. HOW COOL IS THAT?
And Ron Clark's classroom entrance.... Yes, those book cases do open up to let the kids in.
And how about Kim Bearden's classroom? Book nook in a bug anyone?
Then there were the workshops. In a word: inspirational. I could listen to the educators at RCA talk all...day...long! No joke. The best part is that they are truly practicing what they are preaching. I mean, how many times do we go to PD and they're like "Yes, you can do this.. look I did it with 12 kids in my class!" Yeah...Riiiight. 20-30 something kids in a class, rigor, discipline, engagement, creativity, out-of-the-box and most of all PASSION, They are doing it and proving it's possible with kids of all backgrounds.
And of course, like all educators - I got SLIDE CERTIFIED!! The kids tried to get me to go head first, which Mr. Clark had warned about. "No, No. Mr. Clark said all blondes have to go head first!" Funny you say that... Mr. Clark said you might try to pull that trick on me ;). #NiceTry
For day 2, we got to wear a house shirt. I chose to wear Reveur Blue. Reveur means "dreamer" and I think I've always been a dreamer - so I thought it fit perfectly. #DreamOn
The very last thing we got to experience is the team cheers on Friday afternoon. Plus is was a COAT DAY!! It was so amazing to see a child who had worked so incredibly hard , a student that truly earned it, get that RCA coat. An amazing experience that I was so glad to be a part of.
I cannot thank Ron Clark, Kim Bearden, the entire RCA staff, students, parents - enough, for the amazing, incredible welcome. For re-energizing the passionate teacher in me. For giving me new ideas to engage my students and create magic. For leading this revolution for kids everywhere. I will never forget this experience and I really hope that I'll be able to come again! (Tacky Prom Night, anyone??)
Thank you for the inspiration.
I'm going to keep running....and sliding. For you, for myself, and most of all for my students who deserve the passion, rigor, excitement, and creativity that you bring to RCA everyday.
P.S. Please excuse any typos. I am tired.
In the words of Mr. Clark..