What if?

Saturday evening I sat in a darkened theater, wearing a tuxedo for the first time in almost 40 years, for the first presentations of what might be annual awards for excellence in education. The Bammy Award for Excellence in Education

I am sitting among a group of education bloggers who will be called up on stage and recognized for our work.We’re being treated like movie stars, photographed and video interviewed on the red carpet on our way into the Arena Stage in Washington, DC.

As much fun as it is to see people I have come to know, respect and learn with all dressed up, the men handsome and the women beautiful in our finery, this feels weird, bizarre and more than a little uncomfortable.

That this feels so strange is precisely what is wrong with the Bammy Awards for Excellence in Education —  that it is so outlandish for educators to get red carpet treatment, hear kind words and receive weighty trophies. We have become far more used to being blamed, attacked, criticized, sniped-at and otherwise vilified.

The Bammy Awards are a calculated response to the cynical, damaging and dangerous negative images of teachers and other educators being presented to the public.

In the process of recognizing exceptional teachers, administrators, school maintenance managers, education reporters and school nurses the Bammy Awards ask a challenging and important question: What would happen if we treated teachers with the same high regard we give to entertainers, sport stars and other celebrities?

What would happen, how would things change, if we showed teachers appreciation, respect, perhaps even admiration for their work, their experience and their dedication instead of treating them with contempt.

What would happen if we built educators up instead of tearing them down; what if we helped teachers feel good bout themselves instead of causing them to question their choice to teach in the first place.

What would change if we recognized the professionalism of teachers the way they do in Finland and Singapore?

What indeed?

5 Responses to What if?

  1. First – Congratulations!
    I think this is analogous to what FIRST is trying to do for Math and Science Students – to create an event where students are cheered and made to feel like rock stars. I have seen my students flourish and grow in confidence because of their events. I imagine that the same would happen with educators. The last couple of years have been tough as an educator (especially in NJ) and have certainly weighed down the profession. Sad

  2. […] Policy, Teachers, Teaching, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own […]

  3. Joy Kirr says:

    Thank you for this post!

    I didn’t even know about the #bammyawards until some of the educators I follow on Twitter were THERE. I’m still not sure what they really are. This is telling, as well. I’d bet you that NONE of the other teachers at my middle school know what they are, because they are not on Twitter. What does this mean? They are working just as hard, but are not connected (enough?)… So they have no clue.

    I don’t know if I have a point, only that I am grateful for your post, and I feel fortunate that some of the stellar educators I follow we’re recognized in some fashion!! Thank you, thank you, thank you, for being one of those people in my life.

    • Deven Black says:

      Joy, many of us who were at the Bammy Awards were not aware of them until a few weeks before the ceremony. We had no idea how the recipients were nominated or chosen and most of us had never heard of most of the winners. I know there are many excellent teachers who are not connected but I strongly suggest they become connected. Our power is through our connections, our survival as a profession may depend on them.

      That said, the organizers of the Bammy Awards really need to do some work before the next set. They need to publicize them better within the education field but especially outside it if the awards are going to have their intended effect. Then they need to fix the venue of the awards. It does no good to celebrate connected educators in a venue that prevents connection because it does not have wifi and does not have cell phone service.

      I am glad the Bammy Awards exist and glad I was able to play a small part in their initial ceremony, but there is a long way to go before the awards are worth the effort to put on the show,

  4. Rae Pica says:

    Deven, just want to thank you for this thoughtful post on the Bammy Awards and teacher recognition!

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