Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Teachers' Oscars

"Film has the Oscar™, music has the Grammy™, science has the Nobel and sports has its gold medals, but what about the true unsung heroes on the frontlines of shaping our future? Where is the recognition for our nation’s educators?" Lowell Milken

Today sees the red carpet rolled out for the 86th Academy Awards in Los Angeles - The Oscars. I have friends in the US who have Oscar parties in which they dress up, drink champagne and watch the whole shebang on the biggest tv available. In the UK it's perhaps less celebrated but still broadcast in full. Here in Israel we get the highlights.

However, the buildup has been in the media for weeks. The hype is an amazing feat of PR, whipping up a frenzy of hero-worship and adoration for... what? Writers, actors, producers, directors, and technicians in the film industry. 

I'm not saying that films don't give an enormous amount of pleasure to an enormous amount of people. Who hasn't watched a classic on the big screen and sighed with relief that one more heavy tome doesn't need to be ploughed through with actual reading? (I'm thinking War And Peace, all of Jane Austen, and most of Shakespeare.)

On the other hand, what if there were no cinema? Think about that one while I add: what if there were no medicine, technology, law and order (not the tv programme, the real thing)? What if there were no teachers? Because in the end it all comes down to teachers really. 

The other day I came across the quote above and went looking for more information. I found it here. Real Teachers' Awards. In an industry without millions of dollars to spare and in which the clothing is practical out of necessity. In this industry the little egos of the 'clients' are put centre stage while the teacher stands back and lets them shine. And when their little egos become big egos it's often because of the teachers and the teachers still stand back and let their students shine. Lowell Milken recognises that it all comes down to the teachers.

By pure coincidence, this morning I read this blog post about Fantastic Miss T. Then I went to grade some papers from my online students and one of them had chosen this article about Jennifer Rosenbaum to appraise. Another submitted this one about Vanessa Muller.

Where are their red carpets? Where are the champagne parties for the teachers who change children's lives in ways that no film can ever do, however big the screen? Check out the Milken Educator Awards in the US and The TES Schools Awards in the UK.

Disclaimer: I have never met Lowell Milken but he is now on my list of the four people (living or deceased) I would most like to have dinner with.


  1. I know….so many unsung heroes - we need more award ceremonies!! Lx

    1. I agree, and also for nurses, carers, and other professions that go unawarded and little rewarded.