I saved Michelle Obama's Becoming for my trip to Maine to take part in Lewiston's "InspirED" professional development day for educators. I knew I wouldn't be able to complete the 17-hour audio book, read by the author, on the 12-hour round trip drive, but I'd be able to make a substantial dent in it.
I was wrong.
Because of Winter Storm Whatever-They-Named-It, I delayed my trip by a day, meaning I was in Lewiston for about 20 hours. Not ideal, but with my own "spring" (and I use that word loosely) semester starting, I had to be back in my office. It was cold -- really cold -- and my relatively rugged car, which has logged more miles to Lewiston than I care to calculate, began to balk at the idea of keeping the windshield wiper fluid flowing in sub-zero temperatures on 95 North. Pulling over in Lawrence and then Haverhill, a series of lovely mechanics helped get me back on the road, most of whom didn't charge me a dime once they learned I was a Massachusetts native and had, indeed, seen every second of the Pats' game and that no, I didn't think Tom Brady was a cheater. (I am not much for football, but all of this was true).
Once in Lewiston, I squeaked out some time to see some friends, have a beer (or two) with Coach at the Goose, and have dinner with my niece, now a sophomore at Bates. Early the next morning, with the cheerful woman at the desk assuring me that it "Feels like negative 21 out there!" I made my way to Lewiston High School.
What an honor. Speaking to these hundreds of educators, so many of whom I now call friend and, oh yes, family, was a humbling experience. I was nervous, a rare thing for me, because this was their story, the story of ONE GOAL. But it was, as I said to the crowd, a chance for me to say thank you, to -- as Shobow Saban says in ONE GOAL -- live my thank you, my wad mahadsantahay.
I had to leave Lewiston by lunchtime in order to make it back (uneventfully, I'm happy to say) for my own students. But what an inspiring day -- teacher-led professional learning, with sessions that ranged from retirement strategies to in-depth conversations about Ramadan to instruction on new ways of using technology. After the keynote, I did two workshops with smaller groups, learning as much from them, if not more, than they did from me, signing a few books, and getting more than a few hugs as people popped their head into the classroom to say hello.
Before leaving, I went to say farewell to Jason Fuller, Athletic Director of LHS, who taught me how to balance the abundance of victory that Blue Devils soccer has experienced over the course of the last few years. What a way to end a day.