Teachers across this state enter their classrooms each morning with an intense commitment to educate Maine students and guide them as they develop habits of work and learning. All of us know teachers who have exemplary practice. We can name educators who work beyond the school day by visiting students’ homes, attending their sporting events, feeding them when they are hungry, making sure they have warm clothing, and working with them before and after school to allow for additional academic time. We know teachers who step forward to head committees, develop new curriculum, support new teachers by serving as mentors, and finish their teaching day by coaching young people in extra-curricular activities. In ALL communities there are teachers who are innovators, who present to colleagues at workshops and professional development programs, and who head district initiatives. I urge you to look around and celebrate the great teaching in your community by nominating someone.
The process that I went through last year was a collaboration with my students, my colleagues, my school community, and my district. Serving as the 2014 Maine Teacher of the Year does not mean I am the best teacher in the state, but it does allow me to represent all of the great teachers in our public schools. Participating in this program has brought an additional sense of pride and adventure to my school and district. Representing Maine and the teachers in this state has already provided me with amazing professional development that I am able to share, and it’s only February!
We need to celebrate teachers and encourage teacher voice in many venues. Teacher recognition programs, including the Maine Teacher of the Year, allow us all to honor distinguished teachers and bring the teacher voice to the forefront. I can’t wait to meet this year’s nominees!