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Recognize A Great Teacher

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We have all had a great teacher who made a difference in our lives--a math teacher who stayed after school to help us learn Algebra, a coach who not only inspired us to compete on the field, but showed us how to be a leader off of it, or a principal who taught us how to believe in ourselves and dream big. A single teacher can touch the lives of 3,000 students over the course of a career, according to data provided by the USC Rossier School of Education, which I referenced in a previous post.

A growing number of organizations are recognizing the impact a great teacher can have on the lives of their students, the culture of a school, and the future success of our economy and communities. Businesses, non-profits, and others are investing their time and resources to support, celebrate, and learn from outstanding educators. These opportunities are important for talent managers to know about as recognition of a job well done can come from internal OR external sources!

For example, I recently got an email from a friend about Dollar General's "My Teacher, My Hero" essay contest, encouraging people across the country to share stories about how a teacher inspired their success. The nomination period closes Thursday, August 9th 2012 at 11:59 p.m. ET. (The Grand Prize is trip and a $50,000 educational grant!) Visit http://kc.promo.eprize.com/myteachermyhero for more information.

The United Way is also focused on supporting and enhancing effective teaching. With assistance from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the global non-profit organization worked with communities in Florida, North Carolina, and Tennessee to:
• Build coalitions of diverse education stakeholders;
• Craft advocacy plans and strategies; and
• Mobilize others to advocate for "bold reform" in the area of effective teaching.
The United Way detailed this work in a recent report, Building Support for Effective Teaching: The Impact of Public Will. The organization also encourages visitors to their website to share stories of teachers who changed their lives. Check out http://www.unitedway.org/teachers to learn more.

In addition, my organization, Battelle for Kids, has launched Celebrate Teaching, a commitment to identify highly effective teachers, celebrate their achievements, learn from their practices, and share the lessons learned to elevate the performance of all educators. If you visit the website you can see spotlights of outstanding teachers and read testimonials from business, community, and other leaders who attribute their success to educators.

The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, in partnership with Duke Energy, is offering ICAN! Classroom Enrichment Mini-Grants to support the efforts of teachers across the region in connecting their classrooms with science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or medicine related businesses and professions. Eligibility and other information can be found here.

Exxon Mobil is also focused on strengthening math and science education across the country through the National Math and Science Initiative and other programs.

While these and other programs offer important recognition and support for teachers, often the most meaningful feedback comes through a simple thank you from students, parents, district leaders, and others. We should all make an effort to continually celebrate, support, and learn from the great teachers in our communities.

"No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude." ~Author Unknown

Call to Action: In the comments section below, I encourage people to share information about other efforts across the country to recognize and support outstanding teachers.

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