Via the Lufkin Daily News comes this story about high school Math instructor Bill Newell. Mr. Newell was, in effect, selected as one of the 10 best teachers in the state of Texas by the University of Texas.
The award came with a catch:
Newell learned that, in order to receive the award, he had to attend the conference.
"They didn't say anything about that in their application," he said. "I thought it was a no-win situation. If I didn't go, I wouldn't get the award. If I did go, I didn't think it would be fair to my students. My students depend on me to be here every day. They always say to me, 'What will we do if you're not here?' I get that all the time, because they're so used to seeing me all the time."
Not wanting to miss his classes, Newell explained the situation to award administrators to no avail.
Mr. Newell will also have to forfeit a $2250 cash award for his refusal to miss 2 days of work.
It sounds like some people at the University of Texas has their priorities a little messed up, doesn't it?
Our profession has a huge chunk of time each year, that we can use to attend conferences and get training without missing time with our students. Still they schedule conferences during the school year. I have never understood that. The work ethic my parents taught me makes it very difficult to miss work, unless I'm sick.
Same thing happened to me this year. Got an award from a state organization and chose not to attend the conference. Now they've decided not to present it to me. Hmmm. Oh well. Never liked that group anyway.
What a shame. Seems like the organization needs to reevaluate its approach to the award.
Just browsing the internet. You have a very, very interesting blog. Great blog.
Hardly surprising. During my undergraduate days, I was invited to join a national education honor society. At the time, I was traveling 90+ miles to school across Wyoming in the winter, and on the night of the initiation ceremony, a blizzard hit, making it impossible for me to attend. Can you see the punchline coming? Since I couldn't attend the ceremony, I couldn't be a member and the reasons for my lack of attendance didn't matter at all. Remember, they asked me to join. So my initiation was put off for a year, when, since the weather cooperated, I was able to show up for the 15 minute ceremony, which consisted of lit candle holding, several solemn intonations and invocations, and the usual congratulations.
Groucho Marx was right when he said that he would never join a club that would have someone like him as a member.
I can actually commiserate wtih this teacher. I was chosen as Teacher of the Year for my school but was told that because I was thinking about retiring, I needed to know that I couldn't have the award if I retired. I think this was a terrible way for me to find out that I won this high honor! (By the way I stayed for one more year much to my husband's dismay and became a top 10 finalist for my district of 5000 teachers.)
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