It is most commonly known that the two things we should not open a discussion on at a friendly dinner party would be religion, or politics. These two topics stir up passions in people that may take some over the bounds set by acceptable civility at such gatherings. I have found myself a victim of this social imperative on a number of occasions. That is the price to be paid for being opinionated, and passionate about things.
Among educators, I would suggest that we add Awards and Lists to Religion and Politics as subjects that strike chords in people who cause them to cross over to the wild side. Whenever annual award presentations appear on the calendar the pro and con discussions begin. The merits and flaws of such ceremonies are debated in blog posts and tweets ad nauseam. Lines are drawn placing people on respective sides of what, at the time, seems like a very important issue. Actually, in the scheme of things that are of real important, it is actually a non-issue.
Often, a well-meaning effort to recognize the accomplishments of the few who stand up and stand out, are criticized or maligned to the point where people are discouraged from even suggesting to do such events. The irony is that those same critics of awards may also loudly complain about the lack of recognition for educators in the national discussion of education. I believe that any positive recognition any educators get, for whatever their accomplishments are, helps all educators. We might consider how that rising tide raises ALL boats here.
No criteria can be fair and all-encompassing for every educator in every category for whatever awards that are to be presented. Some deserving people will always be left off the winners’ list, and maybe not even nominated for a myriad of reasons. It is wrong however, to dismiss those who are nominated just because someone else may have been overlooked. (Interject here, if you will, the baby and the bath water analogy)
Lists of any kind are also big targets for many critics. I really do not like making lists of any kind. Some of this might be a result of the voluminous lists handed to me by my favorite list maker, my wife. Nevertheless, lists of things and people are a fact of life on social media. No matter how inclusive one is about the gathering of the list, someone or something is always left off. That is usually the first thing that critics will point to. Often they will name the very person, or thing left off the list that you are already kicking yourself about for leaving off. (Oh the sting of it)
Since we know lists of “Favorites”, or Top Ten, or “The Best Of” will always be with us, let us try to be less critical of the choices. We need to keep in mind that each person draws from a different pool of sources. Any particular list represents the best selection from that author’s pool of sources. Of course we all have better sources, so our choices would be similar, but different, and, of course in our eyes, much better. Don’t knock someone else’s list; just put out to the public your own list. Other people will judge any list’s value based on their specific needs. I both love, and hate lists.
In full disclosure I should tell you that I, and the entire #Edchat team are being considered for a BAMMY AWARD to be presented in Washington D.C. this weekend. We are being recognized for the impact #Edchat has had as an innovative tool for connected educators. The entire Black Tie, Red Carpet event honoring many, many educators will be live streamed. This is the 2nd annual Award Presentation to recognize Educators on a National stage.
If you are unfamiliar with #Edchat it is a weekly discussion of education topics held on Twitter twice each Tuesday. The #edchat Team of educators who make that happen each week includes: Shelly Terrell Sanchez @ShellTerrell, Steven Anderson, @web20classroom, Kyle Pace, @kylepace, Nancy Blair, @Blairteach, Jerry Blumengarten, @cybraryman1, Jerry Swiatek, @jswiatek, Mary Beth Hertz, @MBTeach, and Berni Wall, @rliberni. I hope I did not leave anyone off the list.
Whether we agree with the choices for the BAMMY AWARDS or not, it is wonderfully refreshing to see educators being held up in high esteem and honored instead of being vilified and torn down as has been the trend of late.