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San Clemente, CA, United States

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Teacher of the Year

I was just voted Teacher of the Year by the teachers at Dana Hills High School.

About a month ago, teachers were asked to nominate a Teacher of the Year candidate and the top 3 nominees would be voted upon. Well, I was nominated. (no, not by me. I nominated Nate Ritcher because he is an outstanding Physics teacher and that sets us apart from many other schools) I must have been named on a number of ballots because on December 18 (ok, so I remember the date, sue me) an email was sent out to all 120 teachers with the names of the 3 Teacher of the Year finalists. My name was first on the list.

Wow. I think I just stared at it for awhile. Really unexpected. I'm pretty rough around the edges and awkward socially. I ROUTINELY open my mouth when I should keep it shut, and I have blasted a few crappy teachers. I really didn't expect this.

I knew I had a few fans on campus. Just a few I thought. The people who have walked in my door and watched me teach know that I do a pretty good job but teachers rarely see other teachers teach. We are teaching when they are. All we know is what our students tell us about their other classes.

Final voting for the honor was not until January 14. I had a lot of time to think about it. My final thought was this. I would rather not be nominated than be nominated and lose. Most people would think, "oh, what an honor just to be considered out of so many." Nope. Not for me. I'd just feel like a loser.

Yes I voted for my self and yes I won. That was yesterday so I haven't had much time to think about it fully. I do know one thing. I was feeling a little bit good about myself as I left Trader Joe's last night. I was feeling validated, loved, respected, and I think I may have had a bounce in my step. This was going to be my year. I publish my book and I check off a number of other items on my bucket list. I put my groceries in the trunk and as I am about to get in my car, I notice the bird shit. Must have been 4 big shots on the hood, one one the windshied, and 2 on the convertible top. I looked at all the cars parked around me. Nothing. NOTHING. I look up. No tree. This is gonna be my year.

My dad said that the award is only good for a more sensationalized headline if I ever get arrested. "Former Teacher of the Year Arrested for ........." Thanks Pops.

The bird shit and my dad were good things. Brought me back to baseline. What an honor but c'mon.

Kids talk to me all the time about their other classes and other teachers. I have a pretty good idea of what goes on in a lot of classrooms. (don't assume I believe everything teenagers say) I think I'd put myself at number 12 of the most important and best teachers at Dana. No way I'm the teacher of the year. How does this happen.

It will almost be harder to look them all in the eye. Will I feel like a fraud? Do they expect that every moment in my classes are magical? Now I feel I have to be Teacher of the Year worthy. This award is going to make me work harder every day to deserve it. That is what I'm going to do with this honor. I'm using it as a motivation to be great every minute of every day.

1 comment:

  1. Genius creates, and taste preserves. Taste is the good sense of genius; without taste, genius is only sublime folly (Alexander Pope).
    (Therefore, you, sir, are a tasteful genius!)

    Congratulations, Jake. I'm not going to blow any smoke up your arse, but I will say that you inspire me everyday. What you do for all students, not just mine, is phenomenal. Your 'real' ability to connect learning with life is a gift, and your humility is honorable.

    Thank you "Teacher of the Year". This WILL be your year!!

    Virginia (the touchy feely English teacher :) )