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Posts tagged ‘Teacher of the Year’

Teacher of the Year Says Best Evidence of Good Teaching is Found in the Hearts and Minds of Students

Cromwell teacher and CT's 2013 Teacher of the Year Blaise Messinger spoke to CEA members Friday night at the CEA Representative Assembly.

Cromwell teacher and CT’s 2013 Teacher of the Year Blaise Messinger spoke to CEA members Friday night at the CEA Representative Assembly.

“What all of us teach is understanding. Understanding of the world around us and the people in it,” Connecticut Teacher of the Year Blaise Messinger told delegates at the CEA Representative Assembly Friday night.

Messinger, a former actor, both amused and inspired the nearly 400 educators.  The Cromwell fifth-grade teacher encouraged educators to focus on their job—making a difference in children’s lives—rather than the tasks that have to be done but can sometimes overshadow the work that is ultimately more important.

Watch excerpts from Messinger’s speech below or here.

Teachers Recognized on the National Stage

CT 2013 Teacher of the Year Blaise Messinger.

Connecticut 2013 Teacher of the Year Blaise Messinger teaches fifth grade at Cromwell’s Woodside Intermediate School.

Teacher Appreciation Week, which starts Monday, helps bring needed attention to the dedication and hard work that teachers around the country engage in every day.

Last week that dedication and hard work received the recognition it deserves on the national stage when fifty-four teachers of the year from around the country, including Connecticut’s own Blaise Messinger, were honored in a ceremony at the White House. “Teaching is a profession and it should be treated like one,” President Obama said.

Messinger said his visit to Washington was “really amazing.” As he and the other teachers sat in the Roosevelt Room across the hall from the Oval Office he said he realized, “There we were at the seat of power, and yet the power that educators have to change students’ lives is one of the most important powers anyone could have.”

National Teacher of the Year Emphasizes What’s Right With Education

This year’s national teacher of the year is a science teacher at Zillah High School in Zillah, Washington. Jeff Charbonneau is a National Board Certified Teacher and co-president of the Zillah Education Association.

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel said, “Jeff wants the best for his students and understands the importance of challenging them and engaging them. We’re proud to have Jeff as an NEA member and leader as he puts a great face to the millions of NEA members who bring their very best to their classrooms every day for their students.”

Education Week spoke with Charbonneau after the Teacher of the Year Ceremony at the White House.

[Charbonneau] described how when students approach him with a problem, he will first “lift them up and tell them what they did right.” He said it’s important to do the same in discussing education. “There’s so much going right in education, and we need to celebrate that. Fundamentally speaking, we’re a nation of succeeding schools.” He pointed to after-school programming and extended-learning time as evidence that students in the United States have unique opportunities to be successful.

Teachers of the Year on Why Recognition Matters

This weekend over 100 teachers around Connecticut will be talking about an inspiring ceremony that honored them for their commitment to their students and school communities. At last night’s ceremony at the Bushnell, some of the state’s Teachers of the Year shared why they think it’s important to recognize great teaching.

Connecticut's 2013 Teachers of the Year

John Mason, Avon Teacher of the Year

The individual recognition is nice, but it’s the process that really makes me value the Teacher of the Year program. As a school community, we get the chance to step back and really reflect on what’s most important in teaching and what we value as teachers.

This isn’t a best teacher award as much as it is identifying someone who can represent the good things that are happening in teaching and learning today.

Jonathan Budd, Region 9 Teacher of the Year

Teaching is a profession that is undergoing a lot of complex change. We know that there are hundreds and thousands and tens of thousands of really outstanding teachers in this state. Focusing on them as individuals really gives the public an opportunity to see what the teaching profession is like and the excellent work that goes on every day in our public schools.

Kathleen Boland, Trumbull Teacher of the Year

Teachers do so much on a daily basis with the children whom we teach, but sometimes we’re shy about being recognized. It’s nice to have that acknowledgement every once in a while though. That’s because we sometimes don’t see the results of our work until years down the road.

Justin Mirante, Southington Teacher of the Year

I think it’s important for educators to be recognized publicly because there’s often a negative portrayal of teachers in the media. Really there are a lot of great things happening in the classroom, and there are many wonderful teachers out there who make a difference. Occasions like this ceremony get that out into the public eye and recognize teachers’ accomplishments.

Perspectives on Connecticut’s Achievement Gap: Stratford Teacher Gives Students Tools to Face Life’s Challenges

Connecticut’s 2011 Teacher of the Year Kristen Record says that the achievement gap is her reality every day.

“I live the achievement gap. It’s my reality, every day.”

That’s what Kristen Record, Connecticut’s 2011 Teacher of the Year, told a crowd of 100 people at the Hartford Public Library today, where she was one of the keynote speakers at the CT Mirror Forum “Perspectives on Connecticut’s Achievement Gap.”

Record, who teaches physics at Bunnell High School in Stratford, says she doesn’t only teach “good students, but all levels of students—from students from affluent two-parent households to students from homes with single parents who work two jobs to make ends meet.”

Stratford is diverse and teaching is challenging

“I’m not perfect, but I do my best and make a difference in the lives of my students,” she says.

But there are many aspects of students’ lives that impact their learning that she and other teachers just can’t control, including absenteeism.

“Anyone who tells you that a student’s grade is an indication of the effectiveness of a teacher does not understand the complex realities of public education,” says Record.

Watch an excerpt of Record’s speech.

She says teachers understand the work they do is important and that it can have a profound effect on children’s lives.

“I know I make a difference, and it’s a difference that matters,” says Record. “A lot of teachers in Stratford make this same kind of difference.”

Record points to several programs that are helping to close the achievement gap in Stratford, including two CEA and Stratford partnership programs: Power Hour and Real Dads Forever. Both programs are geared toward getting parents more involved in their children’s education.

“Parents play a crucial role in closing the achievement gap and initiatives like Power Hour and Real Dads Forever, help to foster collaboration between schools and families,” says Record.

The physics teacher believes students learn from their relationships, and that the relationship between a student and teacher must go beyond the content of the classroom lesson of the day.

“No matter where kids come from, they want to be successful at something.  Our role as teachers is to help them figure out what that something is,” says Record.

2013 Teacher of the Year Says Teaching Is All About the Connection

Blaise Messinger, a fifth-grade teacher at Woodside Intermediate School in Cromwell, was named Connecticut’s 2013 Teacher of the Year this morning.

Passionate.  That’s the word fellow teachers use to describe Blaise Messinger, a fifth-grade teacher at Cromwell’s Woodside Intermediate School and Connecticut’s 2013 Teacher of the Year.

Educators, family, friends, and students gathered for a ceremony at the school today, where State Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor introduced the state’s newest teacher of the year.

“We are here to celebrate a great teacher, and Connecticut’s 2013 Teacher of the Year, Blaise Messinger,” said Pryor.

Messinger, a former actor, began his teaching career in Los Angeles in 1998, after seeing the impact excellent teaching had on his son Ethan, who has autism.

“I realized what an excellent teacher can do, not just for the students, but for the families,” said Messinger. “I wanted to be part of that. I wanted to be able to make a difference in the life of a child and that child’s family.”

He’s been teaching for 14 years, eight of them in Cromwell.

Messinger believes that “good teaching is not about data, test scores, or teacher evaluation schemes, but about connecting with the students and making learning fun.”

“All children are aching to learn,” he said. “I believe that the key to unlocking the joy and wonder inherent in all students comes down to the relationship between me and that student, and the environment created in the classroom to nurture that bond.”

His students agree. Five girls who were in Messinger’s fifth-grade class last year, and who participated in his nomination for Teacher of the Year, spoke at today’s ceremony.

“He made learning fun, and made us excited to go to school every day,” said Gabi Gentile.

Julia Lemmon said he brought acting into the classroom. “He’s the teacher of every kid’s dreams,” she said. “He wasn’t just a role model for me, he was an inspiration—my favorite teacher—and I’m never going to let him go.”

Messinger wants to celebrate all that’s right in teaching today.

“Teaching is a team sport, and while I’m thrilled to be the most valuable player on the team, it’s what the team accomplishes that’s most important. I am very grateful that every day I get to do a job that I love.”

Messinger succeeds 2012 Teacher of the Year David Bosso, a social studies teacher in Berlin, whose term concludes at the end of the year.