One of the highlights of my year is taking part in the BP Teacher of Excellence Award Ceremony where we honor several of our teachers for their outstanding job educating their students. When the teachers approach the stage to accept their award I see faces full of pride but also recognize a strong sense of humility; for most of the teachers, there is a clear discomfort with the public recognition. The irony of course, is that when on stage in their classroom, the teachers thrive in their public role. Although not the direct intention of the ceremony, I view the evening as a great way to not only award the BP teachers but by extension, recognize all of our teachers.
One of the recurring debates in education is whether skilled teaching is innate or learned. Schools of education are constantly refining their preparation programs and districts are regularly offering training to their staff. I don’t feel however, that the success of the seven recognized teachers was dependent on such training. My take is that their success is predicated on an innate desire and then ability to connect with their students. I expect that this desire leads to constant reflection and then adjustment of their instruction. When asked who my favorite teacher was, I recall a teacher who connected with me on a personal level. I don’t recall that his instruction was innovative or cool, I do remember that he made me feel special. I suspect that the students of our seven BP Teachers of Excellence feel the same way about their teacher. As the year comes to a close, let’s be sure to thank all of our teachers for their willingness to make our students feel special.