The pandemic has not made the already difficult career of shaping young minds any easier. On top of lesson planning, teachers must worry about constantly changing COVID-19 protocols. Needless to say it has been a rough few years. The St. Vrain Education Foundation is asking the community to show its appreciation for teachers who are still going above and beyond by nominating them for Teacher of the Year awards.
"When you are talking about (academic) excellence, it is not 100% put on the teachers," Josh Atherton, executive director for the St. Vrain Valley Education Foundation said. "Part of the excellence is for them to know how much care and appreciation (we have for them.) When times are good ... I don't think we could have even imagined the stress and the things we would ask our teachers to do over the course of the (pandemic.)"
Each year the St. Vrain Valley Education Foundation opens up nominations for the Teacher of the Year awards to parents, students, volunteers, fellow educators, school staff and members of the community.
One teacher from each school is selected for the honor while two others are named Teacher of the Year finalists. The winner receives $100 and, like the finalists, are recognized at the Tribute to Teachers ceremony on April 30.
The Tribute to Teachers event will be the first time in two years that it will be held in-person. Atherton said he is excited to be able to see the teachers' reactions firsthand and not through a screen.
Each Teacher of the Year winner is also entered into the running for the district-wide Teacher of Year award.
The St. Vrain Valley Education Foundation asks the community to consider five criteria when nominating a teacher for the award.
- Innovator – Frequently and appropriately challenges “accepted but outdated” methodologies with new approaches
- Goal-Setter – Sets and maintains high standards for learning regardless of class/student knowledge
- Motivator – Demonstrates a real love of teaching in most every lesson
- Subject Matter Expert – Understands and conveys the material taught
- Life Connector – Utilizes real-world examples/current topics in the classroom to emphasize the lesson’s importance
"I think it is always good to appreciate our teachers and show them how much we appreciate what they do during these times ... We don't know what tomorrow holds when it comes to how they are expected to deliver that incredible education," Atherton stated. "We want our teachers to know that they are loved and appreciated."