Posts Tagged ‘teacher of the year’

h1

Consider Running for Office

July 8, 2017

Who knows better?

Teachers across the country are using their voice and experience as a teacher to run for public office. Many of them have been teaching for several years and representing their state as the teacher of the year. The fact is, who knows better than a teacher about the realities of education at the school level.

Read the article in Education Week on the topic by CLICKING HERE.

h1

Influence of a Teacher

October 28, 2016

Teachers have the real power

This is a blog post from the Beautiful Junkyard, the blog of Ashley Lamb-Sinclair, the Kentucky 2016 Teacher of the Year. Ashley is the Founder and CEO of Curio Learning www.curiolearning.com.  Curio Learning is a start up creating an app for teachers for professional development and resource sharing and being launched in January. Thank you Ashley for the permission to re-post your thought provoking and important piece.

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-7-47-59-pmI stood in the henna tattoo line with my 4-year-old at a local festival listening to the high school girls behind me debate the merits of getting a zodiac symbol or a Chinese character. I chuckled to myself as I eavesdropped, having become very wise to teenage psychology over the past decade as a middle and high school teacher. Then something amazing happened.

One of the girls’ teachers walked by holding hands with her boyfriend. She screeched, “Here comes my teacher!” I couldn’t help but turn to look myself, and I watched as the teacher smiled kindly and waved, and the girl turned back to her friend to gossip.

“Isn’t she pretty?”

“That’s my social studies teacher.”

“She just got engaged. She told us all about it.”

Then she pulled out her cellphone and called a friend, who was presumably also at the festival. “Hey, if you see a tall woman with red hair holding hands with a tall guy, that’s my teacher.”

I waited for the inevitable discussion about the teacher’s private life. But what I really wanted to hear is what all teachers want to hear, I just love her class. She has taught me so much.

Yet neither topic arose, to my surprise. The entire time we were in line – it was a long line – the girl kept bringing the teacher up in conversation. She wondered where she was, she kept thinking she saw her coming back toward her, and she wondered if her other friends had also spotted her.

This was a fascinating experience for me to be a fly on the wall as students discussed their teachers in a social setting. We all wonder what impact we have on students when we’re not around. The fact that the student never brought up the teacher’s work in the classroom led me to a surprising conclusion: The influence teachers have in the classroom is mostly about who we are, rather than what we do.

Teachers are larger than life to students — and good, bad or ugly — they are fascinated by us. We are the face of education for them and their entire attitudes about school lay in our hands.

Now, as I end my tenure as Kentucky’s Teacher of the Year, I realize that even in 10 years of teaching, I never really understood my influence as an educator. But having worked with people at the Kentucky Department of Education, state legislators, national education organizations and even a conversation or two with Secretary of Education John King, I have a very clear understanding now that, as my dear friend and colleague Brad Clark of Hope Street Group often says, “There is a big difference between leadership as positional power and leadership as influence.”

As teachers, we can often feel as if we are not masters of our own or our students’ fates. Yet, the teenage girls I overheard at the festival didn’t discuss the teacher’s lessons or the policies the teacher was required to implement. They talked about her. They admired her as a person, and to them, she was so influential that they were willing to start a lookout chain just to spot her. She was literally like a celebrity to them.

And she probably had no idea that it was happening.

Here’s probably what happened next: She prepared her lesson plans later that weekend, maybe caught up on some grading. She went to school on Monday, saw those same students who probably smiled and said hello. She taught her lessons, gave some encouragement and even some reprimands. She went home after school and worried about those words of encouragement, the reprimands, the implementation of the lessons she so thoughtfully constructed and the products the students had turned in that week. She worried whether they got it, whether she was effective, whether she mattered.

Then she went to a meeting and someone gave her a task to do, a hoop to jump through, another worry to add to her list. At some point in the week, she felt overwhelmed, stressed and tired. Maybe she even wondered if she had any positive impact at all, never once knowing the influence she wielded over those students at the festival. Never once recognizing that she was the person with the true power, the one who stood in front of kids every day and was the face of education for them.

Having been blessed with the opportunity this past year to get a 30,000-foot view of education, I now see what that teacher can’t see. I see that if every teacher woke up to the awesome influence he or she bears on the educational system at large, there would be a drastic overhaul in how the system operates. Someone said to me recently, “It’s really easy to get caught up in the hierarchy of education,” and I agree. But if we change the way we view the system, it becomes less of a hierarchy and more of community.

For example, while listening to Secretary King speak at a conference in Washington, D.C., he said something that contradicted my own experiences in my classroom. Before this year, I would have made a snarky comment to my colleagues, maybe sent a text complaining about it and moved on feeling just a little bit more frustrated with the educational system.

But I recognized that I was the teacher in the classroom – the topic of which he spoke –while he was not. So after the speech, when he made his rounds speaking to the educators in the audience, I told him what I thought. I told him stories from my classroom and how the policies he discussed impacted my students. He listened, asked questions and gave me his email address to follow up with him on the topic later.

I realized then that he might think twice when speaking on the issue next time. He might take the time to ask other teachers in similar situations what they thought about the issue. I viewed him as a member of the education community, rather than someone at the top of the chain who wouldn’t appreciate my expertise. And most importantly, I recognized that I was the expert and I took the time to tell him as much.

What would happen if every teacher changed his or her perspective on the system and took the time to talk to those at the top? I think all of our educational leaders at every level would have no choice but to think twice and ask a teacher first.

So my time is ending and someone else will soon have the view from where I stand, but it’s hard to close your eyes again once they’ve been opened. My mission now is to open up the eyes of my colleagues, because teachers are the rock stars to the kids. It’s time for policymakers to hear the music.

h1

ECET2 Conference

August 9, 2016

Today and tomorrow at Colby

Kate and Sophie

Starting off the Elevating & Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers! ECET2ME conference at Colby College was Sophie Towle, a 2016 Marshwood High School graduate. Sophie is a singer songwriter from South Berwick and a former student of music educator Kate Smith who taught her at Central School in South Berwick. Her third CD of original songs “An Ocean Away” will be released later this month. Sophie gives guitar lessons, plays tennis and likes to hike. She will attend Wesleyan University in Connecticut this fall and will pursue her interests in government and graphic design. If you are interested check out http://www.sophietowlemusic.com/.

The day was filled with positive energy and only got better as it progressed. Starting off the morning was the 2015 national teacher of the year Shanna Peeples from Texas who provided inspirational words. Shanna encouraged educators to tell their stories – “stories shape how people see us.”

Theresa presenting her SLAM! session

Theresa presenting her SLAM! session

Kate and Theresa Cerceo, both members of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI), attended the conference representing MALI. Theresa provided a workshop on SLAM! Student Leaders in the Arts Movement. She created SLAM! one year ago as an outcome of attending the Teach to Lead summit in Washington, D.C. It is a student leadership group who advocates for arts education. Workshop participants were very impressed with the work SLAM! and Theresa have underway. In addition there many other workshops including Creating a Positive Adult Culture, Tweeting to Lead, National Board Certification, Advocating for the Profession, Leading from the Classroom, Leading the Way to Gradeless Classrooms, Differentiating with Students and Adults, and much more

Kate 'talking' Teacher Leadership

Kate ‘talking’ Teacher Leadership

Kate and I were videotaped by a team visiting from the US Department of Education. The subject was ‘teacher leadership’. Watching and listening while Kate was ‘attached to her microphone and under the lights’ my heart swelled with pride as I was reminded of who we are in Maine and the work our arts educators are doing in their role as leaders.

The day was jam packed with opportunities to learn and network with the other 150 educators including 3 other music and 2 visual arts. The funniest part of the day was an evening with the improv group called Teachers’ Lounge Mafia. Four out of the five members are teachers in western Maine; I laughed so much my face hurt. If you ever have the chance to see them or are needing a group for any occasion check them out on facebook. Soooooo funny!

Congratulations to the ECET2 planning committee – a big shout out to the 2015 and 15 Maine Teachers of the Year, Karen MacDonald and Jennifer Dorman for their leadership in providing an outstanding learning opportunity for Maine educators!

Teachers' Room Mafia

Teachers’ Room Mafia

 

 

h1

Teachers go to DC

May 2, 2016
4286768

Maine’s 2016 Teacher of the Year, Talya Edmund will represent Maine educators at the White House ceremony Tuesday

President Obama to Honor Teachers of the Year

On Tuesday, May 3, President Obama will honor the 2016 National Teacher of the Year and finalists, alongside great educators from across the country, including NAEA Art Educator of the Year Barbara Clover. Maine’s Teacher of the Year, Talya Edlund is a third-grade teacher at Pond Cove Elementary School in Cape Elizabeth will be attending as well. Talya  was the emcee earlier this year for the northern and southern Poetry Out Loud events held by the Maine Arts Commission.

Providing all children in America with the opportunity to get a world-class education is critical to their success and the success of our nation, and there is no more important factor in successful schools than great teachers. As part of the event, the President will lift up the role that great educators have played in improving our education system over the past seven years, and highlight the progress we have made since he took office.

The National Teacher of the Year is chosen from among the State Teachers of the Year by a national selection committee representing the major national education organizations organized by the Council of Chief State School Officers. As part of this year’s event teachers and educators from across the country will also join in the celebration.

WHAT: President Obama honors the 2016 National Teacher of the Year and finalists at the White House

WHEN: Tuesday, May 3 at 4:00 PM ET

The White House will be posting for the event on its social media channels on May 3 (@WhiteHouse on Twitter, White House on Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram).

h1

TOY on Ellen

May 10, 2015

2012 National Teacher of the Year, Rebecca Mieliwocki

h1

In Today’s News

August 13, 2014

Maine’s teachers of the year need your help so our students can succeed

7214787

Kate Smith

In today’s Bangor’s Daily News you can read an article about the revised Maine Teacher of the Year program – now for the first time we have county teachers of the year. Representing Franklin County is the Central Elementary School, South Berwick music teacher Kate Smith. Kate is also one of the Phase IV Maine Arts Assessment Initiative’s (MAAI) Teacher Leaders. We’re proud of you Kate – CONGRATULATIONS!

The article includes how important it is that each of us has a responsibility. Educators, families, administrators, students, and community members all have a role to play in this standards-based school environment. Gone are the days that students could move along the school track from grade level to grade level getting pieces. The proficiency-based learning environment is about all kids! If you’re wondering how to get started or have questions about the work you are doing in your arts classrooms/schools/districts you can find helpful resources on the new MAAI website, specifically in the section called Proficiency Toolbox that you can find at this link.

To read the entire Bangor Daily News article please click here.

DSC_0107

Kate with Village Elementary School, York, music teacher Cynthia Keating. Kate and Cynthia will be collaborating to present their workshop for phase IV of the MAAI.

h1

Teachers at the White House

May 5, 2014

President Obama Welcomes teachers

This is the second in the series of blog posts in celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week, May 4-10, 2014. Thank you for the work you do supporting quality arts education!

Screen shot 2014-05-01 at 8.44.19 PMOn May 1st President Obama welcomed the 2014 state teachers and National teacher of the year to the White House. I share this information with you today since it is the first day of Teacher Appreciation Week. In the photo above with President Obama is Sean McComb, the 2014 National Teacher of the year. On the President’s right is Maine’s very own 2014 teacher of the year Karen MacDonald, from King Middle School in Portland. Below is a snippet from the White House blog:

“Today is a chance to thank not just the teachers on this stage but teachers all across the country,” said the President. “We really can’t say enough about how important their role is in making sure that America succeeds. So thank you for what you’re giving our children and what you’re giving our nation.”

After emphasizing the significant role that teachers play in our society, the President honored the National Teacher of the Year, Sean McComb.

Sean, a teacher at Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts in Baltimore, works with students in a program called Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) — a college-readiness program aimed at capable students who just need that extra push.

You can read the entire post by clicking here. More importantly I suggest that you watch the (entire) video embedded in the post where Sean McComb speaks. I am proud to be an educator when a teacher speaks so distinctively about our profession.

In Sean’s own words…

“I became a teacher because I had incredible teachers who were able to shine a light of hope and possibility into a dark time in my life. Teaching is my calling to do that for others, and an opportunity to spend my career living purposefully — helping children fulfill the promise of their lives.”

 

 

%d bloggers like this: