The Teacher of the Year winner was announced yesterday during 6th period and I didn't win. Both my husband and I were nominated this year and he didn't win either. He came by my room to let me know that I lost to the winner by one vote. He said the principal wanted me to know that and thought it might make me feel better. Hey, I'm first place loser. Oh, yeah, that makes me feel so much better.
I was in the middle of trying to corral my most challenging class and my husband is trying to have a conversation with me. I wish the principal had just announced it over the loudspeaker like they do with the student body election results. The students know nothing about the nomination process, the election or the winner. It's actually a pretty ridiculous chain of events.
Teachers are asked to nominate fellow teachers. We are never in each other's classrooms because we work at the same time so we have no idea how good of a teacher our neighbor is. Who are we to judge each other. Then, we have to fill out a resume for that other teacher, when we really have no idea what they do. Then, teachers vote for each other, but nobody gets to see the form that was filled out, so it is really just a popularity contest. If you have a lot of friends, or if only one teacher from your department was nominated, or if people in your department remember to vote, you get picked to represent your school.
Then, one teacher from each school goes on to a selection committee where they have to present a list of accomplishments and make a video that says why they are so great and this committee which may or may not know anything about teaching picks one 'winner' from the district to send on to the state level.
One year, the principal forgot to ask for nominations and had to turn in our school's Teacher of the Year the next day, so just picked a teacher. She picked her friend and that lady was so embarrassed to be the 'chosen one' as we all called her. She didn't 'win' teacher of the year. Not that she wasn't a good teacher, but she didn't go through the process, however lame it is.
A couple of us losers were talking yesterday about how the real judges of good teachers aren't even asked. The students who have to sit in our classrooms should be given a choice in the process. Not the only choice, but at least some vote. The administrators should also be given a voice. Not that one administrator has come in my classroom to watch me teach, but maybe this would force them to come into classrooms more often. It's pretty silly to have teachers judge each other based on no knowledge of what actually goes on in the classroom.
I have actually sat in most of the teachers classrooms on campus because I am a BTSA mentor. (Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment) One year I took a day off and with my new teacher I was supporting we went around to every class on campus and sat for about 10 minutes and watched every teacher do their job. So, I have 10 minutes of information on what goes on in classrooms. That's 10 minutes more than anyone has of what goes on in my classroom. We also had a thing called 'Showcase of Excellence' a few years ago where the vice principal had teachers invite people to come watch 'good teaching'. I thought it was a stupid idea, but went anyways (yes, I can be a suck up and a really good one at that!). I got a much longer view of some of the classes on campus.
If I have to win, I have to start working on my resume for next year's election and polish my popularity skills. It isn't about good teaching as much as it is about who you know. I guess I need to get out of my room more and shake some more hands. I need to focus less on my students and more on my fellow teachers. Oh, wait, that defeats the purpose of being a good teacher. Nevermind. It's not like you get a closer parking spot or anything for winning.