Even though they dedicate much of their waking hours to helping others, educators rarely receive positive recognition. In fact, many caring, competent, and devoted teachers bring their very best to students every day – sometimes going months without positive acknowledgement.
I have received an unusual amount of recognition recently. I completed my dissertation in November and my doctorate was confirmed in December. Shortly after, I received news that I had been selected by Pittsburg State University for the Clyde U. Phillips Distinguished Educator Award. The award is for an educator who has provided significant service to education. As an award member I was asked to address 100 to 150 current and future educators.
Several days before the ceremony I began preparing my speech: First, I would thank the College of Education for selecting me for this fine award. Afterwards, I would gain accordance with the veteran educators in the audience by stating, “While we don’t do what we do day in and day out for recognition, it is very nice to receive once in awhile.”
The day of the ceremony arrived and started like most any other; first, off to school where I would boot up my computer and open up the daily newspaper, the Chanute Tribune. Unfolding the daily, right there on the front page was my photo alongside the caption, “Man With Gun Taken Into Custody.” To be fair, the liner on the other side of the fold said, “Wire to receive…”
I decided to take a copy of the newspaper with me to Pittsburg State that evening. During my short address I showed them the picture and headline, sharing how I had intended to talk about recognition but had decided to rethink my position.
The following day the Pittsburg Morning Sun ran a nice review of the evening. As the space for the article ran out, it referred the reader “cont. on page…” Subsequently flipping to that page, there again was my picture – right under the bold print header, “OBITUARIES”
Recognition? Overrated! I think I will just go back to laying low.