As the 2014 Indiana Teacher of the Year, my year of service was the 2014-2015 school year. During that time I had the opportunity to take a sabbatical from my classes and to support education around the state. I did the latter, but did not take the sabbatical. I remained in my classroom teaching six sections of Latin I, II, III, and IV, which included A.P., I.B., and independent study students and sponsored one of the largest chapters of the Indiana Junior Classical League. Suffice it to say, it was a wonderful and exhausting year!
Highlights included working with schools of education at Indiana University, Indiana State University, Ball State University, Indiana Wesleyan University, Huntington University, Taylor University, and St. Francis University. These opportunities allowed me to see the great work that is being done in our schools of education to prepare the next wave of Hoosier teachers and to share with them many of the things I have seen in the field.
Speaking of being in the field, it was a true pleasure to visit many different schools and districts across Indiana. Of course, the best part was spending time with students, who were always eager to show me what they loved about their school.
There were times when I was able to address and work with members of our legislature and the Indiana Department of Education. This even included my film debut as the narrator for State of the Classroom, a piece that looks at the challenges students face outside the school and the amazing Hoosiers who are working to help them.
I found it most fitting the last act in my year of service was to deliver the keynote address at Ball State University School of Education's Best Practices Conference. This was an event that saw teachers from around the state sharing their best activities, their best strategies, and their best ideas with each other. It was fun and exciting. It provided an opportunity for teachers to share and to learn, to enrich each other's lives from all they have experienced in the infinitely complex and vastly wonderful world of educating students.
So where do I go from here? I have received countless questions about teaching at the university level, publishing, and even running for office. I can tell you that Gary Abud, the 2014 Michigan Teacher of the Year, and I have been working for a year on a soon-to-launch educational radio show. Our producer is working with iTunes, and we will have more information for everyone in the next week. I am also working on establishing an educational leadership conference at one of our state universities in 2016 that will feature U.S., Hoosier, and international education leaders. I am speaking at multiple events this summer, and as nearly as I can tell, while my year of service may be at a close, my years of serving the education profession have no end in sight!
Thank you to the many people who have supported me throughout this wonderful experience. Were I to try to name you all, this post would crash the Internet.
A special thank you goes out to all those who read this blog and follow me on Twitter @intoy2014. Keep reading, for I will have much to write about this shared journey of discovery...education.