Each yr the Council of Chief State School Officers publicizes its “Teacher of the Year” award. A committee representing the most important nationwide schooling organizations chooses the winner after reviewing the resumes of awardees from every state. In 2022, the nationwide instructor of the yr was Kurt Russell, a highschool social research instructor from Ohio. I’ll say extra about Kurt in a second.
Being National Teacher of the Year is a bit like being the Super Bowl MVP or the FedEx Champion in golf. It doesn’t imply the awardee is essentially the “best” instructor in America however fairly a stellar instance of skilled excellence. When describing glorious teachers, consultants in schooling typically consult with a “three legged stool” that consists of important data, abilities and inclinations. These are the central substances that information the choice of instructor of the yr candidates at district, state and nationwide ranges.
So, what did Kurt Russell do to realize such a prestigious award, and to what extent are his attributes and accomplishments completely different from different teachers – say, for instance, state or native teachers of the yr winners? To study this, I learn via the descriptions of all 50 state teachers of the yr awardees printed by the Council of Chief State School Officers. Granted these descriptions are merely temporary synopses, however they helped to offer a basic portrait of what exemplary teachers do and assume.
The narrative about Kurt Russell portrays a extremely engaged and modern instructor who has a deep dedication to serving deprived kids of coloration. He is very revered inside his faculty district and throughout the group. He is a passionate advocate for equal entry to high quality schooling for all college students and a curriculum that displays college students’ backgrounds and experiences. In addition, Kurt is the top basketball coach, an adviser to the Black Student Union at his faculty, and an advocate for a extra various instructing occupation.
The descriptions of the opposite 49 state awardees are equally luminous. An evaluation of key phrases from every description reveals that almost all award winners share frequent philosophies about instructing framed round 4 conceptual “threads” – the event of pupil cognitive abilities, altruistic inclinations, character traits, and social-emotional competence. In addition, ideas and practices regarding pupil fairness and variety are outstanding options within the school rooms of most award winners. Awardees additionally worth instructing that promotes pupil empowerment and advocacy for social justice. Finally, they generally consult with the significance of unlocking pupil creativity and integrating studying actions that foster educational, social and emotional progress.
In phrases of tutorial practices, teachers of the yr favor student-centered, inclusive and hands-on studying actions. They additionally favor to make use of a number of instructing methods, relying on the lesson goals and pupil wants. Lessons typically embrace pupil collaborations, thematic integration of subject material and are inquiry-based. For these teachers, it isn’t sufficient to easily bear in mind and perceive educational content material, however to use new data to handle real-world issues and contexts.
This is clearly a powerful array of lofty instructional values and instructing methods. But simply how uncommon are such qualities? Of course, there’s no solution to know for positive. After all, there are greater than 3 million public faculty teachers in America. They can’t all be like Kurt Russell.
So, to slim my focus, I learn the narrative description of the 2022 instructor of the yr for the Fairfield-Suisun School District, Christopher Romo. Here’s what I discovered. Christopher has taught particular schooling at Fairfield High for 20 years. He is keen about addressing the “holistic needs” of each pupil. He works “hand-in-hand” with the group on a number of fronts, and he strongly believes that “the community serving our schools and the schools serving the community are one in the same.” (And there may be rather more.)
It’s encouraging to know that one doesn’t should look far and large to search out exemplary teachers like Kurt Russell (and, of course, Christopher Romo).
Stephen Davis is a profession educator who writes a column that publishes each different Wednesday within the Daily Republic. Reach him by e-mail at [email protected].