And The Award Goes To…

And The Award Goes To…

And The Award Goes To…

You work so hard at parenting/teaching/treating.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be recognized?

So who does get “Teacher of The Year” and what’s the lesson for us?

Perhaps it goes to the teacher who feeds hungry students?  Certainly there are award winning teachers who are acknowledged for doing so.  Then again, if that is what makes students excel academically and teachers get awards, then with the advent of school breakfast and lunch programs academic performance should be on the rise.  Instead, our scores are decreasing and obesity is on the rise.  There is also the fact that most parents do feed their children 3 square meals a day and are lucky to get a generic Mother’s/Father’s Day card, a thank you if they’re luckier still, and certainly no award.

Perhaps the award goes to teachers who groom unkempt students?  Here again there are award winning teachers acknowledged for doing so and more parents who are not.

Is it the warm greeting?  The fantastic prizes? Maybe innovation is the answer?   Yet, another piece to this puzzle, as there are many educators awarded who are acknowledged for their innovation.  But what happens when that innovative method becomes the new standard?  Do all students suddenly excel?  Do all teachers suddenly win awards? No, because once something is a standard it is no longer innovative.  Quite the contrary, it becomes common and common things tend to be taken for granted and are expected.  Interestingly, when they are not available you hear the complaints long and loud.

There is a story of a boy who came home one day with a letter from school.  His mother told him that the letter said, he is too smart for the school and outgrown it so mom should home school him.  Years later when he found the letter among his mother’s things he saw that in fact the letter read that he was retarded, not gifted, and could not return to school.  While this story is attributed as having happened to Einstein, the facts seem to contradict this claim.  I share this story for a different purpose, there is still a crucial lesson to be learned from the fact that this story continues to make the rounds.

 I have never heard a successful person who attributed his or her success to a parent for making sure they had food on the table, giving great prizes, a warm greeting when they came home or innovation in housekeeping.  However, there are many successful people who attribute their success to their parent and other numerous successful people who attribute their success to a teacher, mentor or friend.  What do these influencers have in common?

Hear Rita Pierson speak about her mother in her TEDTalk “Every Kid Needs a Champion” ( at 5:15.  You will hear about a person who was a successful influencer because she loved her students enough to notice what the individual need was and to do her best to provide it, and a speaker who understands that the influence necessary to teach is all about positive relationship (an expansion of the idea in the post “Learning: It’s a Communication Thing”).  This is the commonality in award winning teachers and influencers- demonstrable love.  It does not matter if their title is “parent”, “mentor” or “friend”. What does matter is how the learner feels in your presence.  This includes yourself as the learner.  What messages do you tell yourself as you try to learn?  Are they messages of encouragement and positivity?

Use the lesson planning steps discussed in lesson-planning-how-relevant-is-it  and engaging-materials as this will help you find out what your students need and want.



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