A few weeks ago, I shared a blog post titled Pet Peeves. In that particular post, I discussed how annoyed I become when I see people that are unwilling to celebrate others during their moments of success. Shortly after publishing that blog post, I unfortunately had to experience the madness.
For the third time in three years, I was a finalist for Teacher of the Year. While this is a popularity contest in many districts; it’s a very tiring and emotionally draining process in our district. Part of this process requires us to complete a timed writing and go through an interview process where we are drilled about our attributes that contribute to being a “good” teacher. Now imagine going through these proceedings three years in a row and having to suck up your pride, hold your head up and extend congratulatory remarks to the person that beat you, to the winner.
After having that very experience two years in a row, when my name was called again, I vowed I would be ready. I spent part of my Thanksgiving Break making notes and preparing as best I could. On the day of the timed writing, I read my paper at least 40 times after it had been submitted just to give myself a sense of satisfaction in what I was able to produce in 30 minutes. On the day of the interview, I went back to the basics. After every question, I paused and processed before proceeding with any response. I walked out of my interview, phoned my husband and as soon as he picked up the phone I stated, “I killed it!” I was very confident in how well I had responded and also satisfied in the fact I had not allowed my last two losses/lessons interfere with what I desired. Beyond the writing, the voting process and the interview, I work extremely hard everyday and after 25 years as an educator I was ready to be recognized.
The day of the announcement was great! My emotions were erratic as I laughed, cried, shouted, stood in disbelief and hugged everybody in site (totally forgot about social distancing in that moment). I wore my crown and sash that day because I was proud of me! I was gratified, not just because I was a winner, but because I didn’t quit. Nobody ever asked me how I felt having to celebrate the teacher to the right and the next year having to celebrate the teacher to the left. Nobody ever asked me why I was skeptical each year about having to repeat the process all over again. Nobody asked me how it felt to live up to the phrase, “You’re never a loser until you stop trying.” This experience was indeed an humbling experience. I was grateful to have an opportunity to fully embrace my success because deep inside I had been made to suffer.
Well, less than 24 hours later someone tried to ruin my magical moment. While this wasn’t the first time I felt this vibe from this particular person, this nasty was different. For someone to openly state they knew I would win before the announcement to saying to my face in a shady manner they were insulted by the idea of me being selected over them was a bit much.
I started to address the manner but after much consideration and prayer, I decided not to say anything. You know why? Because I won. I had done everything I should have done to be the person being acknowledged in that moment. I had to remind myself we usually don’t get the things we can’t stand to see others have, including this accolade. I just hope for the day people realize there’s enough room for all of us to have a seat. In the meantime, I’m going to continue to let my light shine.