Accolades and Approbations

We couldn’t afford the usual trophies… budget cuts.


The end of the school year marks the beginning of a new season. Most of you think that the season in question is summer, but you’d be wrong. It’s the Season of Self Congratulation.

This is the season where teachers and educational Fearless Leaders look around the community and realize that absolutely no one gives a crap about how self-sacrificing and humble we are in the face of truly monstrous odds as we attempt to yearly reconstruct the Tower of Reason in the marshmallow-like minds of our youth. Seeing that once again no one is going to do it if we don’t do it ourselves, we set about choosing our most popular colleagues and students for awards that we’ve made up.

There are awards for nearly everything. There are scholarship/sports/basket-weaving awards for our students. There are Teacher/Principal/Asst. Principal/Bus Driver/Custodian/Certified Employee Not Assigned to a Classroom/Non-Certified Employee assigned to a classroom/Best Dressed “of the Year” awards. In fact, about the only thing that we don’t have an award for is “Best Nearly Completely Obscure Internet Blogger” award, which if you think about it is perfectly appropriate.

Yes, there are few things that teachers like better than to give themselves awards. Tax free school supply weekend might be more widely attended, but Awards Night is more highly anticipated and fought over. More than once, we’ve had to break up fights among teachers who finished as runners-up for the “Most Compassionate” award.

In fact, I can’t think of any other profession that is as self-congratulatory as teachers. Every year we hold banquets for ourselves and send our “best and brightest” to compete for the Best Teacher in the State award (understand that this is North Carolina, so that’s rather like being awarded Tallest Athlete at Midget Camp). Understand that all of these accolades are voted on by teachers, former teachers, or wannabe teachers, so it’s possible that we’re being a little self-referential.

I would love to have you conduct an experiment. The next time you casually meet a teacher, congratulate them on winning that award. Feel free to gush about how much they deserve it for several minutes. See how long it takes for the teacher to ask what you’re talking about. I’m willing to bet that they will let you go one for quite a while before interrupting you.

As you conduct your homework, I’ll be busy trying to decide what awards to give myself. I’m thinking that it will be something amazing and inspiring because I think that we can all agree that my contributions to society are invaluable. After all, it’s not every day that people write almost completely obscure internet blogs!


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