After my recent diatribe on discipline and the terrors of teaching at our local elementary schools, it is a real pleasure to be able to report on the Humanities Texas Teaching Awards.
I had to good fortune to be part of a committee for our #HumanitiesTexas that chooses a dozen or more top teachers in Texas from a pool of over one hundred applicants. The winners receive $5,000 each, thanks to the contributions of one of our gracious and kind contributors.
It was a joy, and I will admit, a considerable relief, to read through the applications. There are hundreds of teachers across the state who are succeeding in reaching our students. Over 600 teachers were nominated and some 200 applied. I hope that many more will apply in the future. These teachers have come up with amazingly creative ways to excite and interest their charges. I wish I had room to list them all, but there are far too many and too varied.
I was very pleased to see that many of the newer teachers are bringing ideas from their colleges and universities. The Education Departments are realizing that they are responsible for helping the new teachers to find creative ways to reach their future students. The days of dry, dull lectures, or even “Professor Video,” are a thing of the past. All of the ideas are interactive, entertaining and way outside of the box.
But even teachers with twenty and thirty years of experience have found ways to entice their students. Their success is based on years of trial and error. They have created new and innovative teaching techniques that work. Their students are learning with excitement and come to class with anticipation. I doubt if the teachers would have survived burnout otherwise.
It isn’t easy. Influenced by television and social media, students have been taught to dread school. Many sit through their school years as zombies or rebels, not learning or appreciating what they hear. They come out uninformed and ill-educated facing a world where they do need to know our past in order to create a future for themselves and for our country.
Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and self-made billionaire, suggests that future trillionaires will come from the fields of Philosophy and the Liberal Arts. They will be the ones who can create and interact with the Artificial Intelligence world of the future. They are the ones who will be able to “think outside the box.” And they will learn to do that in our schools. Computers can’t come close to emulating a great teacher.
Thank you #HumanitiesTexas for supporting and encouraging our teachers.