Two weeks ago I was selected by my peers to represent them as the Teacher of the Year. Putnam City High School has a fantastic faculty and I honored to be chosen, not only from among them, but by them. However, as MrScienceTeach so eloquently wrote on his blog, how do teachers know who is effective and who is not? The last time a fellow teacher was in my classroom during class was during my first year and she had to be in there to fill out her mentor paperwork.
I suppose there have been a few times that teachers have mentioned that students were talking to them about my class (this secretly makes me quite happy), but other than students talking about class, how do teachers know whether other teachers are "good" or not? I'll be honest, I'm not sure what criteria I used to vote for teacher of the year (other than not to vote for myself when it came to the final vote).
But really, why is it that we don't go and learn from each other? I mean, wouldn't taking some time to go and observe other teachers be a good use of our time? I know, I know. We all have a gazillion (this is like 1040 , in case you didn't know!) things to do and the last thing anyone wants to do is go to another classroom. But what if we did it just once a month? Or even once a quarter? Just once!
If it sounds like I'm complaining, I don't mean to. I'm honored to be chosen, but I just wonder why anyone did?
I'm pleased to be able to represent such an outstanding group of people. After looking at the district teacher of the year application, I am even more convinced that the system is flawed in some way. They want me to tell them what I do that is effective. What? Who would know the difference? What if I am a terrible teacher and just really popular (and a really good liar)? I'm not (hopefully to any of that).
Again, I don't mean to sound insolent or whiny. I just wish we could find a better way to evaluate who should represent our school because I'm not 100% sure I am the best man for the job. As I told a student the other day, there is a big difference between doing your best and being the best. Just because you aren't the "top dog" doesn't mean you didn't give it your all and I genuinely think the reverse is true.
All opinions here are my own and in no way reflect the faculty, staff, or administration of Putnam City High School. :-)