See this beautiful guy? He’s an Inupiaq hunter, retelling his success on the ice. He drums and sings in a sing-song voice, calling, chanting. Perhaps it is a seal he’s followed or maybe a walrus. Regardless, he’s already been successful. If he hadn’t, he wouldn’t be masked up and drumming; he’d be out hunting.
Thursday night I joined four other amazing teachers from my district to be honored by British Petroleum as Teachers of Excellence. The energy company (since of course, it isn’t just oil now) honors teachers each year and has for over 20 years. The honorees receive $500 for their school, $500 for themselves, and a free college class about natural resources in Alaska. One teacher is chosen as Teacher of the Year and is given $1000 for continuing education.
It was an interesting process. First, a teacher is nominated by folk (I suspect the more, the merrier) and then invited to complete an interview form. I’ve heard of teachers balking at that step and I suspect there are plenty that decide not to continue. You know why? It’s HARD for teachers to talk about all the great things they do! For real, we are just doing our job. The memes, “I don’t mean to brag but I totally _____” and the blank is something pretty easy and normal come to mind with I think about this. It’s just what good teachers do!
My daughter told me later that the district should make a school of only BP Teachers because everyone’s classroom sounded so amazing. Rightly so! I want to be in their classrooms, too! Congratulations Carlyn Nichols, Will Chevernek, Jen Booz, and Staci Wells! Please brag about what goes on in your classrooms and come alongside other teachers so that every teacher in our schools knows how to be a teacher of excellence.
We had a day’s notice to have some words prepared if we were named the Teacher of the Year. I ended up writing mine on the back of a parking receipt in addition to the words a student gave me to say: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! It’s what I do, involve students. (The Potterheads in the crowd chuckled when I did actually say them last night.)
Being a teacher of excellence doesn’t come without a support network of excellence. Thank you to my students and parents, community and colleagues, district and PLN.
I joked with my husband later about now being beholden to BP but that isn’t correct. If anything, I’m bound to teachers and helping them all establish excellence in their classrooms. Like my soapstone hunter, it’s time to dance it out because I have a story to share.