Time is something I never thought much about until I became Teacher of the Year in December of 2017. I was married, working two jobs, and busy, but not so busy that I wished there were more time in each day. During my state Teacher of the Year experience, I found myself wanting to take advantage of every single experience available. I wanted to say yes to every speaking engagement, be the best teacher to my students, be the best professor to my other students, be the best wife, and be the best mother to my new child. As it turns out, there isn’t enough time in each day to truly do all of that.

Here is what I learned… A jack of all trades is a master of nothing. Something had to give. Sometimes it was my health, and sometimes it was my home. Regardless of what it was, in order to be really awesome at something, you have to  have the time and energy to concentrate on it.

I just went to Google for Education in Mountain View, CA to meet all of the other Teachers of the Year from my class. They were the most inspiring people. They had forward ideas and bold mentalities. Right away, I knew, “these are my people,” but there is something I wanted to share with them that I didn’t. See, Pennsylvania is different. We name the Teacher of the Year an entire year ahead of time. So, technically, I am the 2019 National Teacher of the Year candidate right now, even though I am out of the running. Most of my new friend from my class are just getting started. Some have 6 kids, and others work multiple jobs. Some work in prisons and others in incredibly rural places. One has a two hour commute and another works with students who have profound special needs. Regardless of their circumstances, I wanted to tell them one thing… make time. Make time for yourself, and make time to reflect. If you don’t slow down during this experience, you will miss out on the enjoyable parts. You will miss out on your students and you will miss out on your colleagues.

Time is precious. Time is fleeting. If I could do it all over, I would stop and reflect more, write more, and think more. Time goes by very quickly, and now that  my “state” year is over, I think I will take more time to focus. I still have a voice, and with more time, I can refine it and use it for the best possible causes I can.