A Huge Honor
The National Teacher of the Year Program began in 1952 and is one of the most prestigious national honors programs for educators.
Annually, the Council of Chief State School Officers brings together every State Teacher of the Year for a meet-up in Washington DC. The carefully selected educators have professional development opportunities, and they often have access to top education policymakers.
This past May, the group of teachers met privately with Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. They also went to a luncheon hosted by the second lady Karen Pence at the vice president’s residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory.
Different Regions Different Perspectives
We wanted to learn more about the trip, so we contacted Texas Teacher of the Year Tara Bordeaux.
Bordeaux says the cohort of teachers is amazing, and while they may have differing opinions, there is mutual respect for each person’s perspective.
“It’s very eye-opening you get to see that the issues that are in education and politics and society as a whole differ throughout the country, and you have to take that into consideration.”
The Wild Ride
Bordeaux says that being Texas Teacher of the Year has been an enormous honor, but she admits that being placed under the microscope has led to a bit of a “wild ride” for herself and others selected.
Bordeaux says earlier this year she commented to a publication about gun safety, but she was misquoted. She says the misquote led to her being attacked online.
Bordeaux also expressed concern about what happened to the National Teacher of the Year Mandy Manning, during their trip to Washington DC.
A doctored video of a White House event made it appear that Manning refused to shake the President Trump’s hand, and it was also altered to make it look as if she refused to clap for him.
Bordeaux says the misleading video led to Manning receiving death threats for something that she didn’t even do.
“Here’s this person that’s an amazing educator. That’s an amazing, mother, wife, friend, and she is taking the brunt of heat for so much anger and rage in America that is directed at the wrong person.”
To hear more about the behind the scenes of the 2018 Teacher of the Year gathering and Bordeaux’s experience as Teacher of the Year, listen to Episode 53 of the Class Dismissed Podcast.