Friday, September 14, 2012

Are the Bammy Awards important, necessary, or needed?

There are great thinkers in the education realm (we could always use more), and this weekend many of these people will be gathering in Washington, DC to celebrate the contribution of writers, doers, and change agents in education at the first annual Bammy Awards. I'm attending in large part because I'm intrigued by the idea of honoring everyday heroes like educators with a big glitzy awards ceremony. This is so out of the normal for educators who are much more comfortable presenting in conference halls and sharing and collaborating on-line. I'm wondering if the Bammy Awards are a good idea.

No one would argue with the idea that educators deserve more credit for their contributions to society, but is this the right way to do this? Would it seem odd if firefighters from around the country were gathering for a black-tie affair for being excellent firefighters or the same for police officers or even accountants, farmers, or doctors. It feels weird to me. It don't like to ever feel that I need an award for my work since the outcomes that I achieve are based on a complex system of people (teachers, students, staff, community) to make it great. I'd gather shine a bright light on them. By putting on the cloak of a servant for the children and community should we limit the glitzy events that often shine light in the wrong places?

There is power in loose connections, and this weekend will be an opportunity to grow many connections in my learning network and possibly bring new ideas and collaboration to my school. As always, many of the benefits of gathering sit on the side of the purpose of the gathering, but I'm keeping my expectations low that this celebration will be rich with growing conversations and thinking even though some of the top minds in education will be in the house, but I'm an optimist by nature, and I'm hopeful that this celebration and social gathering will be fruitful short and long-term. Every day that education is in the spotlight, especially the innovative and forward-thinking ideas, is a good day for kids.

The Bammy Awards may or may not happen ever again, the second annual can be harder to pull off than the first annual, and to gather this many folks that can't wait to see kids on Monday in the same space can be hard as this side trip makes a real impact on trying to balance life. I hope the synergy of having this group of amazing people in one location does launch new greatness. I'm stepping out of my comfort zone, putting on a tux, being big social, and trying to keep talk about the important pieces of my work in the right balance. More than likely, I'll slip just out of the spotlight and into people watching and listening mode where the magic happens for me. Though I'm not convinced that this is the way to celebrate for educators, I'm ready to raise a glass to the hard work, determination and grit of some amazing people from throughout the country.

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