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Teacher of the Year Blog
Teacher of the Year Blog
Accepting the Challenge of a Teacher of the Year Nomination
I am back to blogging after a brief break.  Who thought it would be a good idea to sell her house and move the day before Thanksgiving?  This gal did!!  It’s been quite a holiday season in the Milanoski household; I am finally feeling like my feet are back underneath me and I am ready to hit the ground running for the second semester!

As I sit in my kitchen looking out over my new backyard on the first day of 2020, I can’t help but reflect on all that 2019 brought me.  Before the needles on the Christmas tree turned brown and the New Year’s confetti settled to the ground, I sat at this same kitchen table (though at a different location) and made the finishing touches on my Teacher of the Year application.  When my assistant principal approached me with the nomination, I was both flattered and frightened.  I knew very little about the process, and much less about the actual position.  I viewed it as an opportunity for personal and professional reflection and chalked it up to a new challenge with very little expectation for a next step.  Winning was something I neither entertained, nor expected.  As they say…the rest is history.
        The position of Teacher of the Year has certainly seemed to evolve over the past year into something magnificent.  The list of opportunities and responsibilities has grown and changed quite a bit.  I am so proud to be a part of so many new aspects of Harford County Public Schools.  However, I do worry a bit that the work that I have been asked to do might be a deterrent for future nominees to accept the challenge.  Not everyone enjoys speaking in front of 5,000 HCPS employees on the first day back to work, after all.
        I hope that anyone who knows me, knows that what you see is what you get.  I am very proud of the fact that I don’t try to pretend I am anything other than what I am.  So, I won’t lie to you.  This year has been challenging:  at times stressful, and at others self-confidence testing, to say the least.  There have been moments of guilt when leaving my own classroom to attend to TOY responsibilities or when I have felt the need to adjust my list of priorities in a way I wouldn’t have previously chosen.  My family has sacrificed a lot, as have my friends, coworkers and sleep schedule.  I will always speak honestly about those points.  However, when asked recently if I would choose to do it all over again, without even blinking, I uttered an enthusiastic “Absolutely”.  I would not trade this experience for anything in the world, despite the challenges and sacrifices that have accompanied it.  I have met and formed relationships with some of the most wonderful people, I have had the opportunity to see phenomenal teachers at work and to thank them for the job that they do each and every day.   I have seen firsthand the joy and laughter and impact that good teaching brings to students.   I have considered others’ points of view in new and different ways. I have embraced bridging gaps between people and groups that don’t have the benefit of the perspective with which I have been blessed.    I have tested myself with experiences and challenges that I never imagined in venues and circumstances I never would have believed.   I have gotten to represent teachers in the public eye; to feel like I am making a difference to all people in the education profession and to help shed light on how wonderful this profession is.  Most importantly, I have been given opportunities to make a difference in making it better.
        Will I be relieved in April when I hand over the torch to the next winner?  Yes; definitely.  But the relief will be nothing compared to the sadness that has begun to creep into my heart as I consider how quickly this year has blown by already, and how so many of these large responsibilities and opportunities will be coming to a close, as well.  So, I guess what I’m saying is that I challenge to you consider a nomination for someone who you feel deserves this phenomenal experience or consider accepting the challenge of a nomination that has been granted unto you. The experience is a rare gem that most teachers will not have the opportunity to uncover in their their career or their lifetime.  This has been the most wonderful, frightening, beautiful, and life-changing gift that I have ever been given.  Consider that nomination.   It will be worth it.  I promise.