I've been trying to find the words to type up this blog post for a while now. If you've ever been to RCA, then you know it is extremely hard to describe it in words. The atmosphere, the kids, the building, the teaching. It was all so amazing. I know I could never do it justice, but I will do my best!
Let me first explain HOW this opportunity even came to be. We have some amazing teachers in Putnam County. This summer, I was able to attend a Math and Science grant for my county. Along the way I met some new (and reconnected with old) friends - and the best part is we are all here in Cookeville together! We chatted (more than we were supposed to probably) those entire 2 weeks and became fast friends. It's a true pleasure to connect with people who love teaching and understand the struggles and triumphs of the job. Needless to stay, we all stayed in touch over the summer and following school year. We had talked of going to RCA (dreamed really!) but knew it was going to be hard to get there on our own. My awesome, beautiful, talented (the list could go on and on) friend Natalia called me one night to tell me that she got a trip funded through DonorsChoose to RCA. Of course I did a little freak out! She (along with Alicia - again, her talents could go on and on) helped me fill out my form and two days later I was approved and funded. I will forever be grateful to the Bill Gates foundation (they funded about 90% of my project) for sending me on the trip of a lifetime. Soooooo, to make a long story short - 5 of us loaded up in a county van and set off for Atlanta. We had no idea how it would change our lives!
Picture this. You arrive at RCA and see this beautiful archway. You excitedly wait in line for the gates to open. When they do, you hear blasting music coming from a building. You turn the corner and find Ron Clark at the doorway greeting you as you come into this thumping building. You freak out.
Seriously - all of that happened to us! After we met Ron, we went into RCA's library (where the infamous trampoline is located) and proceeded to jam out with the students. They greeted us and talked to us like they were so excited we were there. It was absolutely amazing!
YES!!!! That IS Kim Bearden on the trampoline talking to us! AHHHHH!
We were ushered out of the library into the main building of RCA for our day to begin. It was filled with classroom observations, lectures, workshops and awesome lunch with the kiddos.
The entrance to Hope King's room! Guys - If everyone had a room decorated like that it would make learning so much more magical. Her room was absolutely amazing. Alice In Wonderland Theme!
Where my Harry Potter nerds at??! Yes, you're seeing correctly. A HP themed lunch room... alongside the HP theme song playing softly over the speakers. I was in love!
After becoming "Slide Certified"! Yes, I did slide down that blue, twirly thing with no regrets. Yes, I did skid across the floor upon exiting the slide (they seriously must wax that thing). Something I will never forget!
This experience is one for the books. The respect these kids have for their teachers is unreal. They were so well spoken and so kind. I truly felt like I was having a conversation with a long-lost friend.
RCA you inspired me. You challenged me to teach to the top and believe my kids CAN rise to the occasion. You rejuvenated the energy I was losing at the end of the year. You gave me a plethora of ideas to bring back into my own classroom. You reminded me why I chose this profession.
Go people. If you ever get the chance, just go. You won't regret it.