Your thoughts on "Teacher of the Year"?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by TrademarkTer, Jan 28, 2018.

  1. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    How do you feel about "Teacher of the Year" award? In my district, I feel it is pretty political. You have to be nominated by another teacher (not parent or student), and then if you are nominated, you have to fill out a form about why you think you deserve it (your accomplishments, contributions, etc.) Then a group of past winners decide who gets it. The "rubric" they use puts great weight into contributions outside of the classroom, like coaching and organizing PD, and the award seems to have very little to do with actual teaching.

    To me it would make more sense if it were based on things such as classroom observations, test scores, and parent/student feedback.
     
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  3. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I'm not a big fan of those kinds of awards, simply because I'm not a fan of the idea of teachers being better/worse than others. I'd prefer to think of all as one big team, each with different skill sets and strengths.
     
  4. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    I think recognition is important and maybe small awards or recognition for accomplishments, but no not really a fan of teacher of the year, especially when chosen based on the reasons you stated.
     
  5. TXforever

    TXforever Companion

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    I’ve taught in two districts, and they’ve both been more of a popularity contest or admin favorites. At my first district, you had to teach three years before going on the ballot. The teacher who won had only been there two years...she was a favorite and, according to admin, more deserving than the rest of us.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2018
  6. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    In most public schools I have worked at it has either been a popularity contest or chosen by the P.
     
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  7. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    just like voting for homecoming queen/king A ridiculous waste of time and resources.
     
  8. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Only one of the three districts I've worked in has done TOTY, and that one only did it the first year I was there. In that case, other staff had to write letters for you and then a committee at the district level chose who won. I didn't win, but had two teachers write letters for me and I was given the letters after the process was over. I really cherished those letters. It didn't really matter to me that I didn't win.

    Unless there is a big monetary bonus or something like that to go along with winning, I'm honestly not sure why people let it bother them so much, especially if it's kind of a well known fact that it's a popularity contest. If you know that Teacher A won solely because she's bubbly and outgoing, that shouldn't make you question anything about your own teaching abilities compared to Teacher A's.
     
  9. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    Seems like some of you guys are jealous, but’s that’s just what I think. At my private school, the students and parents vote for who they think is Teacher of the Year and I won three years running — this is my 4th year at the school. It is something that we teachers look forward to because it is nice being recognized for all the hard work we put in. My colleagues have congratulated me every time and never acted put out because they didn’t win the award. I hope to win it this year, too! :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2018
  10. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    That system would be more appealing to me. While still a bit of a popularity contest, it is likely more based on what is actually occurring in the classroom than on being friendly with colleagues.
     
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  11. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I was nominated and won County Teacher of the Year several years ago. Two colleagues voted for me (both teachers had children of their own in my class that year). Thankfully, I didn't have to write anything about myself or justify why I thought I should've won. In fact, I didn't even know I was in the race until someone from the county office of ed contacted me.

    I was pretty matter-of-fact about winning, though. I loathe being in the spotlight.

    Reading certain responses on this thread, though, make me think of the Taylor Swift song Shake It Off: "...cuz the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate..."
     
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  12. TXforever

    TXforever Companion

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    Not jealous because things like that aren’t my gig. I’ve asked that my name not even be put on the ballot at each school I’ve been at. It’s just annoying when one person, who isn’t any better than another, wins because of who their friends are.
     
  13. jadorelafrance

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    At my school, they won’t consider you unless you’re retiring. A teacher literally saved a student’s life and didn’t get it.
     
  14. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I'm actually a bit offended at the comments about "haters gonna hate" and that I'm jealous.

    First, I get nothing but brilliant notes back from parents, many finding ways to try to get their kid in my class. I ended last year with kids and myself in tears at the fact the year was ending. State testing results have shown my class grow to a greater extent than the grade level average. To me, both of those things are a million times more important than an "award". Note - I'm not saying I'm better than the other teachers. In fact, I think I actually have tons of room to grow and am not yet at the level that many of them are in many areas. I'm saying this because I do know that there are certain strengths that I have, but I also know that no matter how positively others might see me, I have my weaknesses and there are many elements that I need to continue to grow in.

    Secondly, I wouldn't actually want an award, so that jealously can't exist. I want to focus on continually improving, learning from others, and giving my fourth graders the best possible education and 180 days that they deserve.

    Lastly, I don't hate those that do get an award. Clearly, they did something that deserved praise: either making strong connections, making a difference in some fashion, or something similar.

    I'm just not a big fan of the "choosing one teacher over the others". Again, that's because we each have our strengths and weaknesses, and affect education in very different ways that I personally believe shouldn't be put into a competition. Is teacher A's more public display of caring for their students more important than teacher B's more quiet, individualized showing of their caring for students? Are the 3 programs that teacher C started more important than the time that teacher D took to support their students outside of school when no one else was there to support them? etc...

    (That being said, to each their own, and those that win should, most of the time, be proud of themselves for having won that award.)
     
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  15. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Jealousy? Haters gonna hate? What is this 7th grade gym class?
     
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  16. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    We have a monthly award for our district. There is one for certified employee, classified employee, and community partner. It's a better indication of who actually does deserving things than the "teacher of the year" type of award.
     
  17. Teacher234

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    In my opinion, I feel that "Teacher of the Year" is ridiculous because it is based off biased information. Teacher of the Year is just unnecessary as Beauty Pageants.
     
  18. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    In an unrelated note to my previous post, I think it is safe to say that we all agree on one opinion.
     
  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    My current district doesnt do. In a former school, (small, private), the principal actually had people raise their hand if they hadnt been TOTY yet and chose one from those:rolleyes:.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2018
  20. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    What does this mean? In English, please.
     
  21. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    Sounds like the textbook definition of jealousy to me:

    Jealousy - a feeling of unhappiness and anger because someone has something or someone that you want

    jealousy
    [jel-uh-see]
    noun, plural jeal·ous·ies for 4.
    1. jealous resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another's success or advantage itself.
     
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  22. Belch

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    We certainly don't do that here, but what we do is have students fill out questionnaires asking them to rate us on a 1 to 5 scale on things like comprehensibility, interaction with students, following the syllabus, and so forth.

    These don't translate into awards, but are rather a way for us to understand from the student's point of view how we need to improve ourselves.

    I'm guessing that this teacher of the year award is much like being employee of the month at walmart. You get your face on a placard that walmart shoppers don't care about, and tomorrow will continue to follow today.
     
  23. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    This doesn't exist where I teach, and I'm glad. I'll take the "thank you" notes from parents and coloring sheets from my students.
     
  24. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    I get both the award and those things you mentioned. I’ll happily continue to take both.
     
  25. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Definitely a little projection here, like when you read about public schools and their strong unions ;)
     
  26. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    Actually, I have no problem with unions. I actually support teachers unions, by and large. What I don’t like is all the legal hoops school districts have to go through to remove blatantly incompetent teachers. For example, I just read about a teacher in these forums who refuses to teach, write and submit lesson plans, and tells their principal that they’re not going to do anything he says. Yeah, that’s not okay. Someone should not have protections when they refuse to or are unable to do their job, regardless if they have tenure or not. I’m so sick of hearing “that’s policy.” There should be clauses that allow an alternative action, separate of the usual legal channels, if employees are completely out of line. It gives ALL teachers a bad name when bad teachers are allowed to keep their jobs, especially when administrators have numerous pieces of evidence against them which demonstrate their ineptitude.

    Hopefully, that makes sense.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2018
  27. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Uh, what? :confused: Clearly, you didn't read what I wrote carefully enough. :rolleyes: I'm not unhappy nor angry, nor do I want... the only thing I expressed frustration with was the childish "haters gonna hate" / jealousy comments, which are by no means true.
     
  28. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I understood it, as I'm sure others did by using context clues. I fixed the three letters for you in the quote above, so you can better understand it. Probably just a mobile "whoopsies".
     
  29. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    They’re actually true. Just by reading through some of your comments and others it is obvious of your/their disdain for this practice. They basically boil down to, “unfair blah blah blah popularity contest blah blah blah WE are hard working, too.”
     
  30. futuremathsprof

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    I understood the first sentence and the second half of the second sentence. Thanks for translating.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2018
  31. CherryOak

    CherryOak Comrade

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    I think TOTY type stuff can be good IF done well. Some personalities are really encouraged with public praise. (And that's ok!)
     
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  32. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Then "it is obvious" that you don't fully understand what we're saying, which is unfortunate.

    Here's a slight example for you: imagine being a white person back in the days of slavery. Think the white person is "jealous" of those of color? No, of course not. I doubt that those same people would be jealous of those white people who owned the slaves, too, even though they might have "more" than them. I'd imagine that some (clearly not most at that time) though would feel that the practice was unfair and shouldn't happen.

    Just because you dislike something or feel it isn't an appropriate practice doesn't mean you are jealous. To think so is shortsighted at best.
     
  33. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    As soon as you brought up slavery I stopped reading.
     
  34. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    I think that TOTY awards can cause jealousy among some teachers, but it's useful to celebrate good teaching.
     
  35. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    If it really is about good teaching. As explained above, many times it isn't about good teaching.

    Define good teaching Tyler. No one can put a definition to it.
     
  36. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    TOTY involves the pubic celebrating good teaching. Perhaps the system for choosing the celebrated teacher is flawed and another teacher might be a better choice, but when the public feels proud of their teachers, it attracts strong teaching people to the to profession and makes practicing teachers know someone's paying attention to all their hard work.
     
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  37. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    In NJ, the state is involved in public schools, taking the county winners, and then going more in depth in how these teachers are "best of the best" based on actually observing them teach. This, of course, is for the state TOTY. The county winners are pulled from school nominated teachers. As someone else said, retiring teachers, or teachers the district would like to see retired are frequently nominated. I am not going to hazard my guess on this forum about why this happens.
     
  38. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Good point!
     
  39. GPC0321

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    Wow.
    I've been TOY at my school twice, and I was honored to receive the recognition from my peers. We vote as a faculty every year. All of the schools in our district do this. We have to fill out a fairly extensive portfolio, get letters of recommendation, and attend an interview at the central office. One of us is then chosen to be the district TOY. I've never gotten past the school level, which is actually fine with me.

    I don't care to ever get it again. The portfolio is a lot of work and the interview is during summer vacation (boo! LOL). But at our school, the TOY gets some nice perks. Flowers, a nice trophy, a gift card to a nice restaurant, no homeroom for the year (which means no cumulative folders to deal with at the end of the year), no morning, lunch, or afternoon duties, we never have to keep ASD (After School Detention), and we get a reserved parking space with a "Teacher of the Year" sign.

    I'm certainly not a popularity queen, and I don't really do anything extraordinary at school. I think both of my wins were because of my high test scores, and maybe the fact that I am easy to get along with? I really don't know. I feel like Peter Gibbons on Office Space a lot of the time at work. LOL.
     
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  40. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Lol

    Fixed it!
     
  41. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    1) I have literally zero desire to work towards an award that would require me kissing my own [posterior].

    2) There is exactly one teacher that I see often enough to definitively nominate for an award such as teacher of the year.

    3) In regards to point #2, re-read point #1.
     
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