As a school and district Teacher Of the Year this year and as one of the South Carolina Honor Roll Teachers Of the Year, it has been an honor and a privilege and I’ve learned so much. I have learned that:
- I am a teacher leader, if I choose to be even if I had previously never considered myself to be.
- That I represent more than myself, I represent my students, my profession, my subject area and more recently I have come to realize I represent two countries!!!
- I am not the best teacher but I am the fortunate one who represents a great many outstanding educators.
- A great many people see more potential within me than I have ever seen for myself!
- Not all students will magically behave because I am a Teacher Of the year!
- How much I truly love my students and my job because of the amount I have had to be away form them this year.
- Time is a very precious commodity and one that should not be wasted, not even a second, time with our friends, family and loved ones, the opportunities we seize with the time we have, and especially the time we have with our students.
- I have learned the power of ONE!
We all fall prey to the feelings of doubt and wondering if we really are making a difference especially when there is so much negative media bias and political unrest, where we see one form of education pitted against another where in actual fact we should all be deciding how to work together for the good of the students!
I feel very fortunate to have been able to represent my school Doby’s Mill Elementary, my school district, my profession and my students at a local and state level. This has been one of the most outstanding years of my professional career, and added to this the thought that 1 in 10,000 teachers get the position I am in is amazing to me and very humbling.
When putting together my reflections I was thinking back to how I felt about all this last year and came to the conclusion that one of my TOY interview questions should have been; What is your energy level and can you sustain it! That is one thing I have had to have this year more than anything, and it was not all about my teaching anymore.
All of the things you experience as a school level and district TOY and now as a South Carolina Honor Roll Teacher, are wonderful and unique and I wish every teacher could experience this in some small way, which is why we have a very active Teacher Forum and why we have District TOY blog to be able to share those experiences whether they be from:
- Following the fat back queen and the lama’s in the Boykin Christmas parade with the emergency services right behind me that kept making me jump when they set off their sirens……….and seeing one of my former students Rosetta, who upon realizing it was me began running alongside the car…….. and shouting at the crowd I know her, she was my music teacher and blowing kisses, to the people I don’t even know that send me emails of congratulations. To the lady in the gym when I am at my best, blood sweat and tears wrestling with a machine twice the size of me and I’m not winning, tapping me on the shoulder and saying, you are our teacher of the year aren’t you, I saw your picture in the paper, thank you for all you do.
To my students that have called me Queen Walker all year long and in particular Chandler in 1st grade, and I know you have all had a Chandler, he is full of life and comments on everything and springs on his bottom!!! Who when we were in the keyboard lab earlier this year creating our own songs we singing at the top of his lungs, I love Ms Walker, I love ms walker, shes my music teacher. And a million other experiences that I really should have been writing down, but there were too many to mention.
To do this job right you have to be committed to teaching students as a career and you need to have an unlimited amount of energy.
Our relationships as teachers with each other and particularly our students are vital, because we have an ability and we have a world of potential to create an incredible future!
More than ever we have to use our teachers voices, and yes Heather, our emotional one of Teacher Forum, you have a teacher voice within you because its not all about shear volume!!!
As TOY you have a golden opportunity to put that little bit of power to great use to uplift your students, colleagues, parent’s and profession…… your peers have deemed you worthy of this honor…….. it’s almost like, may the force be with you…. Choose how you are going to use it;
Are you going to carry on regardless of this honor?
Are going to bask in your glory and enjoy your new title?
Are you going to push the boundaries try new things, bring people in, get further involved, because that is part of our business too………public relations
Are you going to go above and beyond and stand out even further as a leader and show that our profession is one to be admired and revered?
In my humble opinion, you should seize this year and do a little bit of everything, if you can and are able. Know when to wear your crown, but also know when to put it behind you! I have committed my life to teaching, my choice, my passion and I love every minute of it.
Enjoy your year, celebrate your profession, seize opportunities, you may never have another one like it and be proud of being a teacher, celebrate it at every possible opportunity and involve everyone you can because you have many people to thank for being where you are.
It was Winston Churchill who said “ I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and this trial”
We are in the hour and trial where our profession is being severely tested, you were meant to be here, now, and to make your mark, congratulations again, I have only love and respect for you all, and in true Olypmic tradition….. go team Great Britain….go team USA, it is my turn to pass the torch and light a fire of inspiration that continues to burn for education!!!
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