Bammy awards

Really Good Reason # 2: Who Needs a Bammy Award?
Written by Errol St. Clair Smith
Monday, 07 April 2014 22:33

Within five seconds of pushing the button announcing the opening of the 2014 Bammy Awards season, I was reminded of why working on this annual initiative can be so rewarding and fulfilling. William Chamberlain was the first to make a nomination this year. (Thanks,Will!  Big ups to you, Will.) His nominee is Paul Bogush, an educator who was not on my radar screen, but who apparently is doing some pretty amazing things with lesson plans. Paul has an exceptional blog and is being followed by some of the educators I deeply respect. So I decided to drill down on Paul and the more I read the more impressed I became.

I discovered that Paul is truly doing some leading-edge work with his students, his school and his community. I found this on his Linked in profile: Paul is “one of the pioneering content teachers to blog full time with all students, video conference with students and business leaders from across the world, podcast, use Google apps, Wikis and Twitter, live broadcasting of class activities, Genius Hour and 20% time, and publish student work with their real names.”

He also received grants to acquire technology to record the oral history of the town’s senior citizens.There’s much more, but we’ll let you discover that on your own.

As we worked this year to further refine our definition of the ideal Bammy Award honoree, two phrases emerged that really said it all: world-class collaborator and world-class contributor.  If it takes a village to educate a child, then those who are master collaborators, who reach beyond the walls of their classrooms and buildings to engage with educators around the world and who make contributions above and beyond their job descriptions, are role models for the 21st century educator.

I was sufficiently inspired by just reading about Paul’s passions and contributions, thrilled to have discovered a gem (thanks again, Will) and delighted as I mused about how many more people might learn about Paul as a result of his nomination. “We’re doing meaningful work,” I thought. “This is really cool!” But then I saw the post from his wife and it took me to a whole new level.

The sentence that grabbed me was, [Paul is] “continually developing himself as a person and a teacher - and then creating and sharing with educators worldwide. Award or not, Paul Bogush will continue on - changing lives each day - but, a Bammy would provide encouragement and affirmation for when he finds himself swimming alone in the current riptide of ‘reforms.’"

Over the years we’ve bumped into a pretty pervasive notion in the education community, which holds that educators don’t need validation or affirmation. It’s a curious position given that most every educator I know is adamant about the need to validate students (and they go to great lengths to do so).  Candidly, I’m not sure at what point human beings stop needing affirmation but my gut tells me the answer may be never. What I do know is that the people who live with our educators see what they go through and when Paul’s wife tells me that a Bammy Award would provide him affirmation when he really needs it, I believe her and am inspired and encouraged that the Bammy Awards can indeed make a difference in the lives of educators.



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