How is the Teacher of the Year chosen in your school district?
In my district, a teacher must be nominated by a student, parent, or other staff member. Then, the nominated teacher must submit a packet that contains the following--and no, I'm not kidding here:
A. Introductory letter
-Explain what it is like to be a student in your class.
-Relate an inspirational vignette that illustrates an important aspect of education.
-Share an example of how you turned a challenging moment into a teachable moment.
B. Resume of Background Experience and Professional Development Activities
-Colleges and universities attended, including post-graduate studies, dates of attendance and degrees earned
-Teaching history with time period, grade level, and subject area of each assignment.
-Professional memberships, including information regarding offices held and other relevant activities.
-Staff development activities, mentorships, and training of other teachers.
C. Student Progress Essay
-Describe how you know your students are achieving.
-Describe how you use and understanding of data (sic)
-Consider assessment methods used, what you do with data to improve instruction, and how you assess and address the needs of struggling students
D. Philosophy of Teaching Essay
-Describe your personal views about teaching including what aspects make you an outstanding teacher.
-Describe the rewards you find in teaching.
-Discuss how your views about teaching are demonstrated in your personal teaching style.
E. The Teaching Profession Essay
-Describe why you would recommend that individuals enter the teaching profession.
-Describe how you would strengthen and improve the teaching profession.
-Describe ways teachers should be held accountable.
-Describe ways in which you support the profession through teacher collaboration and mentoring.
Am I the only one for whom this seems entirely ridiculous? There's no way I'm going to write essays telling others what a great and wonderful teacher I am. And I doubt there's anyone at the district office who wants to hear about my philosophy of teaching, anyway.
Asking someone to blow their own horn in order to win an award seems a bit like holding out a treat and telling your dog to "speak". I am not a trained dog, and neither will I act like one.