Image: Trey Ratcliff
Teaching awards have always puzzled me.
About now there appears to be a bit of a debate going on in the 'teacher blogosphere' over the relative merits of the Edublog Awards. Similarly, at the (quite large) institute where I currently work, there is the tiniest bit of fuss over the whole 'Teacher of the Year' business that takes place each year.
I can't say I'm particularly fussed either way (for or against such awards). I think they can do good things for teachers and the profession at large while at the same time confessing that, without them, I don't think we'd really be missing out on much.
Why? Basically because everything I see in the way of Teacher Awards is propelled by teachers themselves. Great as it is to get collegial recognition, if learners aren't part of the process of selecting and rationalising teaching awards then they can't realistically amount to anything all that significant.
However, I do think recognition is a very important thing in education. Noticing and recognising the great things happening in our classrooms is a rewards system unto itself. The best part of that is that, as teachers, we don't need to be noticed or recognised ourselves in order to get a really unique buzz out of what we do and (more importantly) what we are a part of.