Standards Opinion

Recognizing Talent Among Our Peers

By Starr Sackstein — April 23, 2015 2 min read
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Who doesn’t do something well?

Unfortunately we live in a world that seems to thrive on finding all of the things that don’t work rather than focusing on what does.

Although we enjoy bolstering the egos of students by giving every child recognition for all kinds of successes, the trend hasn’t transferred to adults.

What if we spent time today recognizing people who make a difference in our professional lives for talents they have, but don’t get noticed enough?

Award season is upon us at the end of the year. We have the Bammy Award nominations out, which is a great way to say thanks to a colleague who may not otherwise get noticed on a national stage. In New York, they are finishing up the Big Apple Teacher Awards process and a multitude of other organizations that are in the business of acknowledging successful practice will choose.

I’m sure many states have some kind of process for electing important movers and shakers, but it seems that those who are known get accolades and those who aren’t continue to do great things from the quiet corner of the world they inspire from.

We need to make sure more people find out about the amazing folks who don’t readily get the acknowledgement... so think of someone in your school community or a teacher who has taught you and make sure to tell them you appreciate them today.

In my school community, there are many folks who challenge and support me regularly. I’d like to send out a public thank you to them...

So Jessica Cimini, Science teacher extraordinaire, thank you for your awesomeness. After visiting your classes and watching you interact with students, you are a continued source of inspiration. In addition to that you, your ability to play devil’s advocate challenges my thinking and forces me to see all aspects of my own work.

Georgia Douvres, Science teacher and testing coordinator at our school. You give of yourself tirelessly to our school community by being a faculty adviser to the Greek Club and providing extra help as needed. Despite having a busy family schedule at home, you always make time for your kids. I’m blown away by your compassion and dedication. You are a constant reminder of what I want to be and I appreciate your commitment to our students and school.

Christina Apeler, Math teacher and co-pub.finance educator. Thank you for your collaboration and dedication to trying new things even when they don’t feel plausible. You have taken a chance with my crazy movement away from grades and haven’t given up when the process didn’t readily line up with the standards or the system we employ at our school. Your commitment to math education and your students’ understanding is commendable and I love to watch you in action.

Dr. Michael Curran, although I have never taken one of your classes, I admire the work you do with upcoming educators. You prepare them for the teaching world in a way few others do. Our weekly conversations have been a source of learning and support. I appreciate everything you have brought to my teaching and how you will help change the structure of education in the future. Your students are lucky to have you.

There are many other educators, past and present who are worth recognizing. Their thoughtful preparation and dedication make my teaching life better. Whether through challenging my beliefs or nurturing the students we share, there is something to learn from every person I work with.

Who would you like to recognize? Please share... maybe even consider nominating him or her for a Bammy Award.

The opinions expressed in Work in Progress are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.