Teachers recognised in USA, Australia and UK
The Alabama, USA, 2012-2013 Teacher of the Year is a high school mathematics teacher in Hoover, Alabama. She was recognized by the State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Thomas R. Bice who sees teachers as being the ‘key’ to Alabama’s future:
As Alabama’s Teacher of the Year, Mrs Culbreth will have opportunity to inspire thousands of teachers, parents and community leaders as ambassador for education. Alfa (Alfa Insurance) and the Alabama Farmers Federation appreciate the important role she and all teachers play in the lives of our children.
Mrs Culbreath was awarded use of a car for one year from Alfa. She stated, “I can’t explain how much the use of this new car will mean to me in the coming year. I’m just overwhelmed to have been selected for this honour.”
A total of twenty-seven winners in NSW were announced in 2011.
Vicki Andrews, who was one of the recipients, stated: “I’m going to be retiring in the next year, so it’s nice recognition for the work I’ve done over a long period of time.”
A Maryland, USA, county level Teacher of the Year, Norman Crosby, gave credit for his teaching inspiration when he was in high school. “I guess it’s a way of paying it forward. I’ve been very fortunate to have interesting and interested students,” Crosby stated. “I don’t think you can ever expect anything like this. I am a little overwhelmed. I teach with some remarkable colleagues.”
A fellow teacher, Mark Kavanaugh, said, “He has a real ability telling the stories of history so that the kids today are interested."
In announcing the 2012 Australian Awards for Outstanding Teaching and School Leadership opening of nominations, Australian Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, Peter Garrett, stated:
"These prestigious awards recognise teachers and school leaders with expert knowledge, exemplary skills and commitment to meeting the needs of young Australians."
Some of the 2011 winners included David Henderson, Australian Secondary Teacher of the Year who was recognised for his "positive influence on student learning, mentoring and leadership at Rossmoyne Senior High School."
The Australian Primary Teacher of the Year went to Jo Sherrin, a Northern Territory teacher-librarian. She works in the Bradshaw Primary School and said, “It was a fantastic surprise, given the calibre of the other finalists. I met some of the most incredible teachers at the ceremony,” she said.
The UK Award for Teacher of the Year in 2011 went to Christine Emmett of St. Elizabeth’s Primary School.
The UK judges noted that she had never lost her enthusiasm, energy and appetite to inspire young children in her classroom. They noted that, “She captivates children’s interest like a pied piper and is adept at involving the community in helping out with practical maths.” Some ‘message board’ responses to her winning the award included:
"Well done Christine delighted to hear about your award; well deserved for all your hard work and effort for your pupils.
Congratulations! Michael Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning.
Fantastic! It would take an exceptional person to beat you in this award! Well done.
Everyone here is overjoyed for you and very proud. You’re amazing!"
In the USA, Washington’s Governor Gary Locke made the following comments about how one teacher, a Mr. Grefton, changed his life.
“I dreaded school. I was haunted by thoughts that I was a bad student who would never measure up. Then I got to 6th grade and Mr. Grefton. Mr. Grefton encouraged me. He assigned me to write a report. He told me the report was so good that he wanted me to present it to other classes too. But what he really conveyed to me was that I had worth. That I could learn. That I could achieve high goals.
Each of us has our own Mr. Gefton; and today’s honoured teachers (2004 Teacher of the Year program) will be remembered by their students in the same way. Some day one of your students may be standing where I am today and he or she will mention you.”
Massachusetts, USA, announced that a Sharon High School foreign language teacher was The Teacher of the Year. Mitchell Chester, Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner, said, “One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is the opportunity to recognise excellence in teaching, and I am pleased today on National Teacher Day to honour the incredible educators we have working in classrooms across Massachusetts.”
He went on to say, “Massachusetts educators are well represented by Kathleen Turner, who through her leadership and exceptional teaching provides students with a well-rounded education that enriches their lives and prepares them for success beyond high school."
Recognition for outstanding teachers is one of the most treasured gifts an primary/elementary or secondary school can give to such valuable teachers. The above comments from school officials about and by teachers show the excellent reception of these recognition awards by the teachers. These are samples from hundreds of such quality teacher recognition examples that are possible to find.
My research in K-12 schools and community colleges found that less than 50% of the schools and colleges had such programs. It is a major oversight from this educator’s viewpoint. I lived and worked in schools and colleges that had no recognition and others that had a program to recognise their good teachers. These later ones were by far ones that were most highly respected by the teachers who strived to obtain such recognition.
If administrators and governing boards provide a respected and meaningful evaluation program of their teachers it is very easy to spot and identify those outstanding teachers.
Poor teachers have to be assisted and if improvement does not materialize they need to be removed. Replacing poor teachers with high quality teachers will add to the cadre of teachers who will need the positive recognition that is highlighted in the examples in this article.
Officials at all levels can play major roles in improving the climate in their states, provinces, cities, and school districts.
About the author:
Dr. Hans A. Andrews is the Distinguished Fellow for Community College Leadership at Olney Central College in Southeastern Illinois and was President of Olney Central College and presently lives in Ottawa, Illinois, U.S.A. A former secondary school teacher and Director of Counseling and Guidance, Hans Andrews has published six books on Awards and Recognition and Teacher Evaluation. He is an international known consultant in the areas of faculty evaluation, teacher awards and recognition and dual-credit programs. Visit www.matildapress.com .