Saturday, June 13, 2009

award giving... giving thanks

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.


  1. ...ending can have much grace in them. My youngest came home from school yesterday, touched by a teacher who gave them each a "certificate" -- on it a quote chosen for each of them (and fitting indeed was my son's) and a desire for their future. And then, my son says with amazement in his voice, "he told each one of us, in front of everyone, what made us special and what he would miss about us." I nearly wept.

  2. Your students are graced every day, Wayne.

  3. Oh that sounds wonderful. I'm glad you had an opportunity to honor your students and that you were honored.

  4. I know this has been a rough year for me, however, there are always a few kids who inspire. I am always amazed at how many teachers dislike all of their kids. Why teach?

  5. Michelle--- your son was blessed.

    Gannet Girl---- but not always by me... that is why it takes a village.

    Kathryn---- I saw my language was vague. my friend had nominated me, but alas, I was not chosen by those who read the nominations. I was more than happy to applaud for the man who won.

    Msklem--- summer's off, benefits, don't know what else to do with their lives...

  6. I know he is blessed, but I am delighted in how much he cherishes the experience...

  7. Michelle-- you parents can be that way... parents of the young man who won the horticulture award seemed well pleased with their son and the words I spoke ;')

  8. We have an excellent staff at the Elementary school where I've been employed for the last seven years. Good teachers; and yet there are those who speak to me of having a heart for the position, not just working a job. I say that, knowing full well that the administrative side of the job can gradually eat at one's zeal and spill over into other areas. Some, though, somehow, possess a gift, a call, a patience, that sets them apart. We lost one of our Special-Ed leaders this year to retirement and she'll not easily be replaced. It is very evident to me, Wayne, that you, likewise, are connected to your kids in more ways than just earning a paycheck. Thank God for such as you......

  9. P.S.....Beth wants to know what the name of that flower at the end of your post is?...

  10. Jim--- yes, there is plenty to eat at you when you are a teacher. I am blessed to teach things I really love which helps to fuel my soul.

    as for the flower, the garden is not into ID tags, but I do believe it was a poppy


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