My hands felt damp as I smoothed down the brown skirt of my new dress and stepped a foot closer to the stage as another name was read. I looked around the crowded banquet hall and nervously smiled. I heard Bethel College announced and Dorothy’s name called. I’m next, I thought as I took a deep breath and stepped onto the stage, smiling as I accepted my certificate and shook the Kansas commissioner of education’s hand.
This year, Dorothy Voth and I were named Bethel’s two “Teachers of Promise”. Every year each college in Kansas with an accredited teacher education program gets to name two of their pre-service teachers with this distinction. We spent a day in Wichita and had a wonderful time. We attended a workshop for several hours in the morning with the 2011 Teacher of Year Team (this was the 2011 Teacher of the Year as well as the 7 other finalists). They lead an active workshop on the importance of creativity in the classroom with lots of fun and engaging ideas I hope to try out in the spring as I student teach, and someday in my own classroom.
That evening we attended the Teacher of the Year banquet where we received our certificate and celebrated this distinction. We also heard the eight Teacher of the Year finalists for 2012 each give a brief address. One of the finalists was my 5th grade teacher. It was so exciting to see him up on stage and think about the wonderful year I spent in his classroom. He certainly deserved to be there!! The speeches were so inspirational and reminded me of the joys and challenges I will face as a teacher in an educational system that can be frustrating and restrictive. Often people complain about teachers and the educational system, but if they had heard the good things these teachers do in their classrooms every day, they too would be encouraged and excited about the possibilities.
Thank you Bethel College for sending me to this event, and for preparing me to take a place in this profession where I too will have an opportunity to make a difference. And who knows, maybe someday I’ll be back at the banquet addressing the attendees taking my place on the Teacher of the Year team, or even as the Teacher of the Year.
The pictures show me on stage, with the certificate, and then with my fiance, Peter.