On this blog I speak highly of my home district, Grosse Pointe. So I was happy to see Grosse Pointe North’s Gary Abud named Michigan Teacher of the Year earlier this month. Since the announcement, I’ve been following him on twitter and I’ve also been following the controversy surrounding StudentsFirst’s exploitation of his award. But I had the opportunity to hear Gary last night on Tony Trupiano’s radio show and something he had to say stuck with me. He said the negative stories we hear about schools are few and far between and that if we look beyond them we will find tremendous things happening in our schools.
When I step back and think about this, I have to say that I agree with him. In every classroom I’ve walked in to, I’ve met hard working teachers and I’ve seen tremendous work being done by students. For every criticism I’ve posted on this blog, there are ten things that make me hopeful about the future of our schools. Are there structural changes we can make? Yes. Are there things we can do to improve? Always. Are there bad or misguided teachers? Of course. But, again, for every one of those there are so many more set on doing what’s best for their students.
That’s why we focus on teachers so much. We, as teachers, are the ones who do this work. We’re the most invested in this work. We’re second only to parents when it comes to making or breaking a student’s educational endeavours.
So, while I can’t say I won’t be critical in future blog posts, I can say that I’ll try to be a little more positive, too, because there are so many amazing things happening in the field of education. Perhaps if we can highlight those things, we can convince others to stop berating this profession.
Thanks, Gary, for the positive inspiration last night! I look forward to following you in the years ahead!