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I love quotes. They were always on my classroom walls and now grace my office walls.  The ones I want to remember most are posted at eye level, right in front of my desk. Last week, I came across the following from Vince Lombardi, and it struck a chord.

I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.”

Now, I live in Wisconsin, and I’m a die-hard Green Bay Packers fan, so I know this quote refers to football, but it struck me as something educational as well.

I started a doctoral studies program in August. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but it was on the ‘someday’ list.   Then several things happened within the last few years, including the deaths of two former students that made me realize that someday had finally arrived.

I’ve always taken classes, earning my Masters early in my career.  Even outside the formal classroom setting, I think it is my responsibility as a teacher to keep up with research and best practices. I believe my students learn a lot about the value of education when they see me continuing to study and learn. A few years ago I pursued and earned National Board Certification (NBCT), an amazing professional journey I shared with my students. However, none of these things compare to the expectations of a doctoral program.

I’ve already mentioned that I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and with that comes just a little bit of procrastination. So, it took me awhile to get into the swing of the semester and balancing  the amount of research reading, note taking, paper writing, and APA formatting in two courses with teaching full-time, a husband, two very active and involved children, and a Border Collie/Australian Shepherd who is constantly at my side. To be perfectly honest, some days I felt like the circus guy who balances the spinning plates.

So last week found me scrambling to finish a four page paper comparing varying leadership theories, preparing to lead a discussion on an article I had to read, and I had totally forgotten my daughter’s first band concert on Monday night. It was a busy weekend, and Monday night was a late one. It’s funny how my brain kicks into overdrive when time is running out. The paper was finished in plenty of time, and I felt pretty confident in my APA format. I was well prepared for leading part of the discussion, and at the end of the night, I breathed a sigh of relief. I’d made it. While it isn’t a victory that will be recorded in the history books, I had worked my heart out for a good cause, and I was definitely exhausted but feeling victorious.

I don’t think Lombardi would mind that I took his words and applied my interpretation. I need to add this quote to the wall in front of my desk, but not tonight. I’m still enjoying the moment, and still just a little exhausted.