One of the saddest things in the world is hearing a teacher, who at the end of a school year, claims that he/she has no student who they feel deserve an award. I hear it every year.
Friday I gave out a record for me, three.
Horticulture went to a rookie, something I have never done before. His parents were there so he knew he was getting an award, so I was glad that he won another before I hit the stage otherwise he may have not been as surprised. I spoke of his greatest strength, but also of something he could improve upon, then spoke my blessing... of being able to look forward to seeing him improve over the next few years.
Science went to a student who is graduating, even though he could stick around for another year or two before age would kick him into the world. He has more science stored in his memory cells than I, so I spoke of what he adds to class discussions. I also spoke of the joy he glows with when I do introduce him to a new concept. His good nature and love of science has had him become a main character in "my creative stories" which I make up to explain a concept. It won't be as much fun with him gone. Who now will I draw under a frozen lake being shot up into the air by an ice volcano?
Then I was the last teacher to give an award before the big wigs took over. There I was presenting an award for citizenship and giving another speech, which I wrapped about this quote...
"One good teacher in a lifetime may sometimes change a delinquent into a solid citizen" by Philip Wylie
I spoke of how if he had ever been a delinquent it was another teacher who transformed him, of how a friend told me delinquents lack empathy, of how the young man witnessed the world and responded with compassion, of how the world would be a grand place if all citizens acted the same way, and of how given the charge to be his teacher, that I hoped that in some way I had helped him to be yet a better citizen.
Later he told me I had.
Later a friend driving myself and 8 students to a beautiful garden told me that I deserved to be "teacher of the year."
Later many colleagues told me I gave good speeches.
It all flows out of being grateful of my students' willingness to spend time with me and respecting the basic fact that I am paid to serve them, not for them to serve me.
It was a good day to give praise and to accept praise.