Sunday, May 3, 2015

And the Winner Is.....

For the last couple of weeks, I've had the pleasure of nominating colleagues/members of my PLN for the prestigious Bammy Award. I've currently nominated six highly deserving people and voted for many others. I hope that I can make time to nominate even more. I think there's still over a week to vote and nominate people.  There are so many educators who deserve a shout out for their work! 

It is extremely gratifying to surprise someone with the news that they have been nominated or are the recipient of an award that recognizes their unyielding dedication to educating kids. Since my first year of teaching, I've nominated many colleagues for various awards and find great satisfaction in doing so. Every time I do, I am humbled and grateful for the people in my life. They lift my spirits and challenge me to be a better person. I am the person I am today because of their influence.

Nominating people for the Bammy Awards started me thinking about the whole idea of teacher awards in general and the Bammy Awards specifically. To come clean, I'd never heard of the Bammy Awards until last summer when I started to use Twitter.  The night of the Bammy's last fall, I read the Tweets and was excited that so many of the people that I had connected with on Twitter were being recognized. I felt it was a great celebration of the positives of education.  When I heard that anyone could nominate a colleague for one of the awards, I got excited! The nomination process was pretty easy- just a paragraph or two. Some award nominations take a great deal of time and effort.

I'm sure that winning a Bammy Award is pretty spectacular, but I can tell you that the feeling you get after nominating someone is unmatched! There is no greater feeling than doing something nice for someone else. With the exception of my superintendent and a former administrative assistant, the people that I nominated, and those that I voted for, are members of my PLN. I've never met most of them and yet I still feel a personal bond. They are my friends in every sense of the word.

If anyone can nominate a fellow candidate, why are there not more nominations? Why aren't more people voting? I thought I was doing something wrong by nominating more than one person and voting for so many others, but found out I wasn't. I don't quite understand. I'm not naive though. I understand that for many awards, it involves politics, popularity, self-promotion, and the like. I simply choose to ignore that and focus on shining the spotlight on some great educators that I know, love, and highly respect.

I value every member of my PLN (which is another blog post). I know some people better than others. But, every person is important to me! I wish I could recognize the MANY people that have inspired me. It is a risk to single people out. But because some people don't fit into a specific Bammy Award category, I have to mention a couple.

Mark E. Weston Ph.D. @shiftparadigm  As a labor of love, Mark recognizes and connects educators together all over the Twitterverse. He posts inspiring images and thoughts that lift people's spirits. On a personal level, Mark is a mentor and role model to me. He is always finding the positive and helping me to connect with people from many backgrounds and specialties. Those are the little things. I'm in awe of his brilliant intellect.

Rusul Alrubail @RusulAlrubail One night I came home from school just sobbing (a blog post that maybe someday I'll publish) and sent out a single tweet to reach out to no one in particular. Rusul read through the words and lifted my spirits through direct messages. This interaction wasn't the first time. She inspires and gives a voice to those of us who once in awhile need to be heard and understood.

Congratulations to all of those who have been nominated for a Bammy Award or other recognition. You deserve it! I'm amazed at all you do! I'm truly honored to have so many of you for friends and members of my PLN. I learn from you every day.

I'm equally amazed at how many educators fall under the radar. There is no harder profession than teaching! There are too many teachers, administrators, and supporting staff members who never receive a shout out. They need to know that they matter! A simple gesture of kindness and recognition goes a long way!

I hope more people will consider taking the time to recognize a colleague. It doesn't have to be an official Bammy Award nomination. On the contrary! 

Earlier this week, a great educator Eoin Lenihan @eoinlenihan awarded me with his Blarney Award!

You can read about it here. I was shocked! Then, I was extremely humbled and delighted at the same time. Thanks Eoin! So in the spirit of the award and to pay it forward, I would like everyone to read the blog by Jonathon Wennstrom @jon_wennstrom He is a passionate eduleader blogging and changing the world! He is definitely "Lighting the Fire"!

Although this blog post wasn't intended for Teacher Appreciation Week, it's only fitting that I'm publishing it now. (The ideas have been swirling in my head for some time.) Thank you to every person that is part of my PLN!  You encourage and inspire me every day! I hope that anyone that reads this will know how much you matter to me. I hope you have a fabulous Teacher Appreciation Week! I hope we can all make time to find those that need to hear that they're appreciated. EVERYONE needs to hear, "And the winner is...."

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