A Guide to Identifying if an Award is Warranted.

Updated: Jan 7, 2019

The Age of the Award

Awards and Accolades are great. They make you feel good. They are great to show off how great your are. In the profession of public education it often times feels like sometimes teaching can be underappreciated. I get it. What other profession pays you a livable wage, great benefits, and still gives you 4 months of vacation every year...maybe congress. I digress. Awards are important but, often times it seems like we are forcing it. Isn't the rarity of the award what makes it so coveted? We've all been there at the end of the semester staff meeting where awards are being handed around like hot cakes. There are three types of awards that are given out and none of them are what you think.

1. Awards from Outside Organizations

These awards tend to be legit. No problem there. Lots of competition and the rarity validates the accolade achieved by the teacher. Cool. Moving on.

2. Awards from Inside the School District

These can be hit and miss. Some awards are special and unique especially in large school districts. Some though...why do they even exist? We all know what awards I'm talking about. The whole school awards that every school/individual in the district seems to get every year except that one school. Now instead of people feeling good about the achievement...that one school/individual feels like a P.O.S. If everyone is special...no one is special. Next.

3. Awards given to multiple staff/multiple times through out the year.

The "Teacher of the Week" or "Staff: Star of the Month". This is like the employee of the month designation but with unknown origins of merit. How in the hell can we tell who's doing a great job each week? I call B.S. these awards are there just to be there and give fake recognition. "Let's promote ourselves to...ourselves!" If you have the "My kid is a (Fill in the elementary school) honors student" bumper sticker on your car you may feel validated by these common accolades, but deep down you know all you did was show up to work and do your job.

About the Author

TCA is a Ex-Mechanical Engineer in his 4th year teaching. He takes his coffee black and his tequila on the rocks. There is a good chance everything he writes has errors...Engineers are't known for their writing prowess.


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