Finally finding time to blog this week. I'm working on several posts in my head, but have not had any extra time to sit and write. I'm going to start with a story about our first dinner out in a long, long time without Abby!
Last Friday night the Maryland State Teachers Association honored the 302 teachers from across the state that achieved Certification through the National Board for Teaching Standards. Yes, there are lots of acrynoms that could be used, and they will be from here on out! The dinner was at the Marriott Waterfront in Annapolis, Maryland. I don't think I've ever been to that part of town, which is humorous just a bit since I've lived here for like 20 years and it's the state capital!
The dinner out process started about two months ago when Anny received an invitation to the dinner. It was explicitly clear that I was not invited, and honestly that rubbed us both wrong. I wrote, on Anny's behalf, and email to the contact and said that she respectfully declined the invitation if her significant other was not able to attend. They said that they were dealing with space issues and had to wait to see how many teachers would be there before they could release seats to guests. Obviously, they let me go or there would be no more story at this point!
Let me tell you, it's a ton of work for a teacher to achieve this certification and about 50% fail on their first attemps. Anny went through the process twice, once she was pregnant and the second time we had an infant/early-toddler on our hands. Every time that she need to work on her projects, I got the extra house and child rearing stuff. I earned a spot at that table, as did every other significant other in the room.
My aunt Pam came over to watch Abby. This was a big thing for us. We have done two lunches out, and one evening when Anny and I each had meetings at different locations. The evening babysitting was not pleasant for anyone involved, but it was more than a year ago so we were a bit more confident. We left an extremely thorough "Abby's Normal Evening" list for Pam to use. I'll probably post that later today or tomorrow on Abby's blog.
We got to the hotel almost exactly on time and got our nametags and drink tickets. The thing is that we don't go out, obviously, so we had absolutely no idea what the tickets were for and ended up paying cash for Anny's first glass of wine. No big deal, but felt pretty dumb about it later when someone pointed it out. We were the first people from Howard County and found the table with the county name on it, along with Wicomico County's two teachers. We found out, after setting ourselves up, that there was another full table of HoCo teachers. It was not a big deal since Anny knew only one of them very well, and he ended up at our table with his wife.
They kicked off with speeches that included the MSTA president as well as the Lt Governor of Maryland. It hit me at that point that these are people with their hands on the stimulus money that we hear about on the TV every day. It's just so intangible in my head, but these people know it to be real, honest-to-goodness money. It was the first time that we had heard that Maryland is the Number 1 state as far as education goes in the country according to Education Week. That's pretty cool. (See how your state stacks up HERE.)
Dinner was nice, especially considering it was buffet style! They had four tables of meat, two (very rare) roast beef and two of turkey. They had two tables of pasta with veggies, and bread. It was surprising how quickly the lines seemed to move, but I realized that these are teachers, and they spend part of their day herding children through cafeteria lines. They are pro's, so to speak!
After dinner they had each county line up to receive a certificate from the MSTA and a very cool plaque for their desk. One county had only one recipient, and two counties had well over 25. Anny's county had 13 total, and I think that about 9 of them were there. This was a very, very long process and so we got to talking with our table mates and had a great time chatting.
We got home much earlier than we thought, which was kind of nice. Pam offered to watch Abby again any time, of course, and that she was an angel. She only asked about us twice, which is no more than when only one of us is home and the other is out.
Anny's certification lasts for ten years, so I don't think I can pull off a nice, fancy dinner again for a while. Maybe she can work with next years participants and get an invite that way... I should get to work on that right now!