I have been slowly updating my website to have a cleaner feel while at the same time honoring my promise to my former students that it would always be there for them. I have not used my website much since leaving the classroom to become a Responsive Classroom consultant. Thousands of people still visit it every day to view the learning experiences of my former students. It's important that it looks current and that the information provided on the site is up-to-date.
This summer I have worked hard to keep the 'about me' page current. Double checking that the articles I have written have working links. Ensuring that I proudly state my consulting and presenting accomplishments. Yet, I hesitate when it comes to including how others in the profession have recognized me.
I decided that it was time to delineate those accomplishments and create a section for how my accomplishments have been publicly recognized. Most were easy for me to include, others not so much. I agonized over whether to include my teacher of the year (ToY) nomination.
I remember feeling conflicted about that nomination. A part of me was certainly happy to be nominated, but mostly I was frightened. I had a lot of firsts that lead up to this nomination - ditching desks and replacing them with tables, integrating technology, not assigning homework, implementing project based learning, providing students choice, requesting challenging students, and eagerly soaking up PD opportunities. I was different, an educational rebel, I stood out. This isolated me and I did not want an award to exacerbate that.
I have never told anyone this - I went to various members on the ToY committee and begged them to make sure I did not receive the award. Those committee members told me I was crazy. That I deserved the nomination and even to be ToY. I insisted.
Since leaving the classroom I have learned to embrace my unique qualities and release that need to be liked. When I was nominated I was too wrapped up in my colleagues' opinions of me. Now, I have decided to own that nomination and be honored by it. My nominator recognized my unique qualities and what they were able to accomplish with students - a love of learning, an eagerness to come to school, and immeasurable learning. That is worthy of recognition.
Now I proudly post a ToY nominee badge on my site. Thanks to Eric Johnson for having one on his blog that I could use!