Monday, February 25, 2013

The Oscars of Teaching

It's Oscar night. I sit here while movies that I never watched get voted as best picture, and something occurred to me.  There is no perfect movie. The Oscars have picked apart these million dollar investments from their make-up artists, to whatever a cinematographer is. They have identified parts of the pictures that make them the most enjoyable; nuggets of an industry that when refined and molded, make gold.

What Oscars would our schools win? Best Actor (Teacher)? Best Supporting Actors (staff) ? Best Use of Technology?  Directing (Admin)? Screenplay (Curriculum)? Production (Central Admin), Best Picture (School)? I can tell you my school strives for best Costume Design!

I have gotten my share of awards and can tell you that every single time, I was humbled to think that the work I do was recognized outside the world of my classroom. Not only was I astounded that someone noticed, but I was also validated, reassured, and pushed to continue to do my best. It may seem self-indulging, but I created this blog partly because I have been recognized for my teaching and feel that some of you may want to hear some of my thoughts. I would not have felt confident enough to put fingers to keys without the people that have pushed my to excel in a profession that I enjoy so much.

I was recently awarded the STEM Teacher of the Year Award by the Quad Cities Engineering and Science Council. The banquet the held was spectacular in its purpose. A group of two hundred of the area's premier engineers and scientists dressed to the nines, had a nice meal, and celebrated successes in their fields. Upon accepting my award, I was not asked to speak as they do in the Oscars, but sitting here now, I thought about what my acceptance speech would have gone like. Perhaps something like this:

"There are so many people that I need to thank, least of which is the Quad Cities Engineering and Science Council for even creating such a reward. I need to thank my students first of all, who have worked for me, rising to my expectations when I continually set the bar higher and higher. I need to thank my science team at Bettendorf High School. Success is achieved when you surround yourself with wonderful people. They are my sounding board, an unending well of ideas and innovation that I draw from constantly. I need to thank my principals. Their trust and support has been essential in the success of my classroom. Thanks to the staff at Bettendorf for all their work with my students, guidance, food service, custodial....there are so many to thank.

I can hear the music playing, they want me to get off the stage.  Thanks to my kids, Adam, Braden, and Lacey for understanding the time at home daddy takes grading papers or preparing for Monday and for the basketball games I missed for committee meeting. And a huge thank you to my wife, Jennifer. She keeps me grounded and always reminds me that the students are why we do this. Thank you, all."

What would your acceptance speech include? Thank these people today personally.