Sunday, November 3, 2013

Bumblebee & a Weekend at Penn

Hey, good people!  Hope all is well!  Did you see all the trees finally start changing last week? SO, SO gorgeous.

I snapped this pic exactly four years ago as the leaves started changing.  Fall colors make my heart sing!

Speaking of my heart, check out my little bumblebee before her school's harvest party last week:

She was so excited about Halloween this year. Unfortunately we didn't get to do our typical Halloween stuff because of how busy the month was (and the rain Halloween night).  So I was very grateful for her school's harvest party. They did the costumes, jumpy house, hayride, etc. all in a school day. It worked out. 

Another thing I missed last month is the Komen Race for the Cure. :-( That's something I've been doing with my family the past few years, but couldn't this year due to a conflict with my schedule -- particularly the conference I attended in Virginia a few weeks ago. Hopefully next year they won't fall on the same weekend.

Speaking of conferences, I recently attended one in Philly. I participated in the PWC and KWHS Seminar for High School Educators on Business and Financial Responsibility. Sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Knowledge at Wharton (University of Pennsylvania's prestigious business school), it was such a RICH experience.

Along with 130 other teachers across the nation (I was the only from my state), I participated in sessions and discussions led by Wharton professors and partners from PricewaterhouseCoopers.  We discussed everything from marketing to management to finance. I didn't know what to expect from sessions with Ivy League professors -- I kinda had an idea in my head of how professors from such prestigious schools would be. How I'd understand maybe 5% of what came out of their mouths. But I was proven wrong.  They were highly intelligent, as expected, but they were also funny, likable, and HUMAN.  And they didn't lose me when they spoke.  Well, except for the economics professor - ha! In his defense, economics has never been my thing. (I understood his humor, though. Well...most of it.)  

Anyhoo, I applied for this opportunity over the summer when they had it in San Francisco, but got wait-listed for that location. So of course I was thrilled when I learned I was accepted to the Philly location -- woohoo!

I've been to many professional development conferences/seminars, and this one was definitely one of my favorites.  It was SO engaging, and they scheduled it so that we were constantly up and moving (and eating -- sooooooooo muuuuuuuuch foooooood).  Though it was intensive (we met from sun up to sun down), it was worth every minute.

Here are a few pics I took. 

Main meeting room. I sat in the front/middle area.

Since everyone flew in from different states, you didn't really meet any other attendees until you got there. 

But the two of us were lucky. We met at the airport waiting on the shuttle. We met back up in the hotel lobby the next morning, and naturally became conference buddies. 

I met SO many people, but spent the most time with these ladies. From left to right, you've got V from St. Louis, M from Boston, D from Brooklyn, G from Mount Ulla (NC), and me.  

I met S the last day, a math teacher and chess coach from a town in Pennsylvania. I told him I'd briefly met Salome Thomas-EL (another Pennsylvania educator and chess guy) when he spoke to at my school earlier this semester. S insisted we take a picture and tweet it to Principal EL - ha! :)

One evening we had dinner at the Penn Museum.  I'm STILL thinking about a crab cake appetizer they served.  Oh, my gosh, it was the BEST.

We were entertained by Penn's Penny Loafers at dinner that night.  What a treat.

One day when I had a little time left after lunch, I took a walk on campus to clear my head. I HAD to snap a few pics of this beautiful campus (all phone pics - I wish I'd taken my real camera).

(Did you know that Ben Franklin founded Penn?  I didn't.)

I wish I'd had more time to explore the campus. 

I had a great time that weekend learning and networking.  I'll never forget the few days I spent with these ladies. (The one on the far left looked familiar from the moment I saw her.  We finally figured out that we must have seen each other at a conference we both attended back in the spring.  Small world.)

Here I am with the main reps from Wharton and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.  They were such nice people. I was sure to personally thank them for the opportunity.

Not only was this weekend rich in networking and learning, but it cost me (nor my school) nothing. Wharton and PWC covered airfare, ground transportation, hotel, and meals (we stayed at the beautiful Westin).  How amazing is that? I'm going to recommend this opportunity to every teacher who teaches anything that involves business.  It was an experience like no other!

Now that October is over, I'm gonna slow down and get my house back in order -- literally and figuratively. I'm getting my health back in check (and hopefully lose these eight pounds I've gained over the last couple of months...YES.)  More importantly, I'm going to get back to focusing on my most important job:

I've been working a lot this year -- bringing work home and everything -- which is not something I like to do. M's age brings so much independence (she can spend an entire evening in her room playing), which has made it easy for me to work at home.  But I'm someone who likes to leave work at work, and I'm gonna get back to that.

I can't believe my baby will be five next month. She is such a hoot right now. She loves to laugh and be silly like her mama. She also loves to read just like I did at her age (she's doing well with her reading -- I'm proud). Right now, she's into chapter books (though she doesn't read those herself...I read them to her).  She really likes the Junie B. Jones series and often asks for "one more chapter." I love it.

She's still Chatty Cathy at school and basically gets in trouble every week. The struggle is real, people. I teach 120 teenagers every day and have them completely under control, yet I can't get my four year old to be quiet at school. Parenting can be so humbling.

Anyhoo, I've got to get our stuff together for the week, so I've gotta end this post.  I really hope everyone is doing well.  Be good and be safe!


PS - I hope to start back blogging more often!

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