26 Aug

Right now, the conventions are in full swing and soon we will elect a new POTUS and FLOTUS.  President Of The United States and First Lady Of The United States.  Or at least someone will elect one of these clowns into the Whitehouse.

TOTY = Teacher Of The Year.  Our school does this in the fall, which I always thought was a really funny time to do this.  I mean, about 1/4 of the faculty is brand new and don’t know anyone let alone who would be teacher of the year.  So they do what I did my first year and voted for the one they know best or who their more experienced friends suggest.  But since this is an honor bestowed on a teacher based on teaching, it would make more sense to do it at the end of the year when we can look back on what the teacher actually did.  but maybe that’s just me.

It the preliminary round, teachers nominate one of their colleagues for TOTY.  Then the ballots are counted and I think the top 8 or 10 are listed on the next ballot.  Then you circle your favorite and then the nomination is down to 4 or 5.  Then it narrows to 2 or 3 and finally the winner is chosen.  This process takes a few weeks as the teachers always have a few days to fill it out and turn each ballot from each round in.  Then a faculty meeting is called and the winner gets flowers, some cake and a reception or something like that.  The winner of the school TOTY then competes with all of the other TOTY’s from the other schools in the district to become the County TOTY.  This involves filling out a questionnaire and being visited by the school board and superintendent.  Plus there’s all sorts of media coverage.  It’s great fun…unless you’re in the middle of it.

About 4 years ago, I made that first round ballot.  And then I made the second round.  And then the top 3 or 4.  It was totally nerve racking! I don’t mind the national exposure of an internet blog or Teachertube, but the scrutiny of my peers…it was an awesome amount of pressure.  This was made even moreso, because I had some really and truly awesome peers.  There were too many better folks than me that didn’t make the ballot and I knew it.  Fortunately, one of those awesome folks won it.  I don’t remember who won it, but I remember the guy who got 2nd place.  He got 2nd place for the next 3 or so years before finally winning it.  I even kept the first 2 round ballots and didn’t vote because I was just so proud to have my name there!  I may or may not have cast a ballot for myself in my final round, but still made a copy of it that I still have somewhere.  I was proud and scared at the same time.

My first pick didn’t make the first cut this year, which is unusual.  I usually do better at picking someone who at least shows.  However, my name did appear on that list again.  And exactly like 4 years ago, I have some mixed feelings. It’s a great honor to make the ballot at all, as we have over 120 faculty in this building; the largest in the county.  And if any of you fellow teachers read me, I totally get what you’re doing especially if you read my last couple of posts!  It’s okay to vote for someone else…REALLY!  I did.

Seriously, there are some good candidates everywhere in every department.  Fact is, I idolize most everyone else who is “out there” teaching 25-35 students at a time.   I don’t know if I could do that.  I’d like to try someday.  And a bunch of these folks are stepping into other roles like club and class sponsorships, activities like the prom and homecoming plus tons of activities in the community and churches in addition to being awesome teachers.  They are SuperPeople.

I’ve seen many SID/PID teachers become TOTY in their respective schools but they don’t do as well at the county level.  As I’ve said before, we are not increasing test scores or improving the graduation rate. I think a lot of it amounts to a sort of respect that comes from a body saying “Geez, I could never do that!”  So the faculty gives some recognition and TOTY is a good vehicle for that.  Actually, it’s one of the only vehicles faculty have for honoring one of their own.  I wish they had a Para of the Year award as well, as I think it would help boost their level of recognition.

So I get it.  Thanks for the support, and I like it as long as I don’t make anymore of the cuts.  Been there, done that and it was sort of fun but it really is stressful!  I feel the love, really.  Now go vote for someone who really deserves it and can carry the MHS* TOTY torch to a district victory!


*MHS = Magnolia High School which is the blogname for the school I teach at.

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