This week I found out that I won the PAEMST!
That is the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching. This is the highest honor that the nation gives to math and science teachers. They only give 1 per state per year.
Sounds great Don, what'd you get? Great question. I get a 4 day all expenses paid trip to Washington DC. On this trip I get to meet the President (OMG). As well as taking meeting with law makers and education policy makers. And there is a $10,000 cash award!
This year there are 97 math and science teachers from all over the US that'll be meeting in DC that week. I am so excited! I am THE winner from Michigan. And I get to meet a whole bunch of awesome math and science teachers from all over the country!
The process was arduous. In April of 2011 I found out that I was nominated by my mentor teacher (who is a former PAEMST winner) Mark Davids. The application was due in just one short month. I worked every night and was exhausted when I was finished.
The application really forced me to analyze my own teaching. The final document was 15 pages long, although it was edited down from about 30! The questions from the organization really made me question my methodology. In the end I felt really good about it - but a little shaken. How often do we really analyze our methods that in depth?
Also I had to provide a video of one class period; uncut and unedited. It was 50 minutes long of me doing my thing. That was nerve wracking! But I love my style and methodology and apparently it translated well to the judges.
I would encourage anyone interested in reflecting on their own teaching to apply. I am a much better teacher after just having gone through the application process than I was before. Asking the questions to yourself as to what you do in teaching and why you do it is very therapeutic!
Mostly I'm excited because I feel validated. We work so hard to learn more and provide quality education for our kids. This award for me says YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB, KEEP IT UP!
See the links below for cool news worthy stuff.
White house press release
My bio page at PAEMST