December 19, 2014

My Last Day

Today was my last day of teaching at SVMS.  I came in early to get a few things done, and expected it to be a fairly normal day.  Then a teacher and some students presented me with a blanket they had made and had gotten signed (all without me knowing about it) by all my students.  Those were the first tears.  Then the link below came out along with an announcement for it to be played for the school.  Luckily I didn’t have students first hour so I was able to watch it alone.  I can’t tell you how much all of the well wishes mean to me, and to my family.

Subject: Breaking News
We have a very special Eagle News broadcast for today.

December 17, 2014

Business Casual

Balancing Eggs on the solstice!

I emailed my boss the other day to ask what the dress code was.  He emailed back and said people wear everything from business casual to ties.  Not exactly sure what business casual meant, I Googled it.  One of the first sites to come up was from GQ.  I figured they should know about this so I clicked on it.  The first thing that comes up is a picture of a guy that looks surprisingly like me.  Dark pants, blue long sleeve shirt, white undershirt, phone holster, the whole package.  I was thinking, “Man, I got this business casual stuff. I have almost those exact same clothes.”  Then I read the caption.  “What Not to Wear.”  Guess I need to do a little more research.

On a side note I had the first of what are sure to be many geek out moments.  In this same email my new boss said he was working on getting me office space.  I’m going to have an office at the Smithsonian! (insert nerdy giggles here).  

December 16, 2014

Smithsonian Here I Come!

I've been a space nerd for a long time!

I thought I would start by telling the story of how this job came to be.  In late August I was contacted by the acting director of education for the Smithsonian.  I met him a few years ago when I participated in the JASON Project.  He sent me an email saying that he had a job for me and I should call him.  I’ve been offered a couple things in the past that just weren’t right for one reason or another.  I thought this would fall into that category.  Then I talked to Peter.  He said he had been in a meeting with the director of a new division at the Air and Space Museum who asked him if he knew of anyone that had science, teaching, and production experience.  He said, “I’ve got a guy.”  The actual job title is Education Specialist for Digital Learning.  I would be writing and hosting a series of middle school science webcasts called "STEM in 30".  They would be shown live on the Smithsonian website, and some would be on NASA TV.  After a digital introduction and several phone calls, I was offered the job.  Initially I thought I would be flown out for an interview but after sending a resume and cover letter, they offered the job.  The dream job.  In this process I asked what the shows would be about, skills, content, or artifacts.  The response was all three but that I would have access to the coolest stuff in the world along with the worlds leading experts.  Astronauts would be around all the time and there were already downlinks scheduled with the International Space Station.  I would be talking to astronauts live in space.  

Then I told them no.  I agonized over the decision, the money would be tight living in Washington DC, and leaving family and friends would be unbelievably tough.  I called the director of this program and told him that I wanted the job, I’d be really good at the job, but I couldn’t afford it for what they were offering.  I was at peace with the decision, and ready to move on.  Then he told me he would get back to me.  He did and offered more money.  More number crunching, sleepless nights, and general agonizing and Sarah and I decided we should give it a shot and I accepted the job.  

My start date is January 12th.   I will be renting a room from a friend of mine who lives 10 minutes from the museum.  I will be leaving on January 4th, alone.  This is the part I’m dreading, being away from my family.  It is going to be so hard but I think it will be worth it in the long run.  My kids are going to get to grow up in the nations capital.  When they come to Daddy’s work they will see rockets and meet astronauts.  Their playground can be the national mall and our weekend trips can include Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York.  

When I posted on Facebook that I was leaving, I was overwhelmed by the response.  The kind words from friends were amazing.  I know I can’t bring everyone along to DC with me but hopefully with this blog you can come along for the ride.