In general I’m not a huge fan of awards or awards shows, especially when it comes to the entertainment industry. There are no shortage of awards in the music industry — with ones designated for every genre (and seemingly every singer) — and the same goes for acting, where you could win statues for anything from Oscar to Emmy to MTV.
In a lot of ways, the entertainment industry has become like youth league sports, where everyone is a winner and they all go home with some sort of shiny trophy. It’s perfectly understanable, however. The awards exist to bring attention to the industry, which needs to sell the songs and movies and TV shows that compete for that hardware.
But all awards are not equal, and some do a better job than others in bringing deserved recognition to the people (and their profession) that are nominanted. Which is why I like the yearly Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year competition, which announced its list of 26 semifinalists this week.
The field will be narrowed down to six finalists in the next month before the Teacher of the Year is named in November. While that person will be more than deserving — the best of the best — it’s not the end game that makes me like the competition as much as the recognition that comes from the process of highlighting teachers at their respective schools during the process.
Each school names its own Teacher of the Year early in the year, a list I always enjoy scanning to search for familiar names and acquaintances. To be selected among your peers at an individual schools is impressive, and this year 130 teachers were given that honor. As those winners will tell you, the competition not only brings attention to them, but to their school and to their profession as well.
That list of 130 has been pared down to 26, representing 15 elementary schools, six middles schools and five high schools. The semifinalists will judged by a committee of teachers, administrators and central office personnel, who will choose six teachers as finalists. From that final group, an overall winner will be chosen in addition to winners for the elementary, middle and high school levels.
On Nov. 7 the overall winner will be named at the annual TOTY banquet, a first-class way to pay tribute to all the nominees. The ceremony won’t be broadcast on national TV, but it would be nice of it was. Because this is one awards competition I can get behind, and a group of people truly deserving our praise.
Email Todd Cline at email@example.com. His column appears on Wednesdays.