being me, reflection

To Bammy Or Not to Bammy

image from icanread

I have been going in circles the last few days, thinking out loud, pulling my hair a little bit.  Nothing new if you ask my husband, but I am finally at a point where I feel ready to write about it.  You see, I was nominated for 2 Bammy Awards this year.  One as elementary education teacher of the year, the category I was up for last year as well, and new this year as education commentator/blogger.   To those who don’t know me or know this blog, this wouldn’t seem like a bad thing.  After all, being nominated for anything is an honor really. But the Bammys and I have a little bit of a history after last year.  And so I don’t whether to be proud or to hide it.  I don’t know what to think of this anymore, not after last year.

I had not told anyone about these nominations until now besides my mom and husband.  I guess the cat is out of the bag now.  So why I am so hesitant?  Well, there are different reasons.  First, I don’t know how I feel about awards still for me any way, I think many of my incredible colleagues should win awards, should get accolades for everything they do.  I think any time we can shine a positive spotlight on education, it is a wonderful thing.  And the fact that the people who nominated me actually know me and still think I do a great job makes the nomination very sweet indeed.  Yet, I don’t think I am the best elementary education teacher.  And I am definitely not the best education blogger.  I am only someone sharing the good and the bad and that’s not really doing much.

I am also hesitant because of last year’s ceremony.  Because of how teacher’s weren’t honored at the ceremony.  Because of how it didn’t seem to be about the kids much.  Because I had to go home and apologize to my students’ parents who watched and were offended at some of the entertainment.  I voiced those opinions and a huge debate started, one I don’t wish to revisit, but one that beat me up nonetheless.  In the end the Bam Radio Organization revamped many things, this year making it about the students, making it about honoring community and not just individuals.  And yet, I am not sure how it will all play out.  It seems like there is an overabundance of “connected” educators represented in the various categories again, it seems like there are a lot of repeat nominees (me included).  Are enough “regular” educators being nominated?  What does this even mean, does it mean anything to anyone?  All of these are questions that I continue to mull over.  And so I don’t know what to do.

One thing I know for sure though, is that I will not be asking for votes.  I will not be promoting my nomination.  I have thanked the people who nominated me, I am so grateful for your kind words, especially because both of the them are people who I greatly admire and strive to be like.  So for now, I will will sit back and see how all of this goes.  Will it be about the students?  Will there be winners and losers?  Will it be positive?  Is this even needed?  I struggle with these thoughts, I cannot be alone.

PS:  One thing I love is the initiative for a 4 minute TED-like talk.  If only I knew how to submit for that because I am pretty sure I have something worth saying about student voice!

I am a passionate (female) 5th grade teacher in Wisconsin, USA, proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day.  First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classroom Back to Our Students Starting Today” can be pre-bought now from Powerful Learning Press.   Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.


17 thoughts on “To Bammy Or Not to Bammy”

  1. Having gone to the first Bammy Awards, I left vowing never to return. Completely underwhelming and for the most part embarrassing. Anyone reading your post already knows you have reached an answer regarding “To Bammy Or Not to Bammy?” I’ll suggest that the daily successes of what you do in class with your kids is infinitely more important and of the highest value possible. But I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that.

  2. Just so you know, award nomination or not, we think you are teacher of the year. The impact you make on your students is one that no award committee could ever understand.

  3. Really, the entire thing sounds ridiculous, including your rambling on about the awards. C’mon?! Really?!

  4. I appreciate your honesty and reflection. I re-read your posts from last year…an interesting journey for sure.

    I agree that there are so many people doing great work that it is hard (impossible?) to acknowledge them all. How do we measure who is better? There are many amazing educators that do not share via social media, but are innovative and continually reflecting and honing their practice (like you), but are doing it in the annonymity of their school or district. It would be great if everyone was utilizing social media, but not everyone is wired to share and I think that’s ok.

    Your mixed emotions are understandable, but I think it’s always nice to be recognized for the effort we put forward. I’m interested to see how it plays out.

  5. I read your reaction to last year’s Bammy Awards and share your feelings about awards for teachers. I think measurement of such a thing is quite subjective and therefore by its nature biased.

    On the one hand, connected educators is all that is seen in this Bammy world. Surely there are great teachers who aren’t connected. I don’t think connectedness is a necessary element in making a great teacher.

    On the other hand, when something can be measured that represents something that is in fact valuable, it should be held up and acknowledged. Your personal impact with the Global Read Aloud is measurable and valuable. Through your project, you have done so much to connect educators and more importantly enhanced the learning and lives of so many students. For this I thank you as do my students.

    Perhaps your comments from last year will help the organizers redirect their ceremony in a more productive, positive fashion. Whatever you decide to do, thank you for all of your efforts.

  6. Pernille, you know how much I respect your work, and I think you know my feelings about the Bammys. Although I’m still skeptical about the awards, I too would like to present a TED-style talk, as evidenced my own post here: BTW, they aren’t taking applications this year for the 4-minute keynotes, I’m told by the folks at Bammy.

    As far as the Bammy awards go, I don’t know what I’d do if nominated. I don’t have the burden of deciding, as you do. Good luck.

  7. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It is so kind of you to open up and share your inner most stuggles. You are a winer to all of us as are your students!

  8. Thank you for your great thoughts. I would encourage you to go on and nominate the people, you feel deserving of recognition. Hopefully through all our efforts, we can make the Bammys what they should be, acknowledging great educators. I do wish had gotten on the i3talk application, I would have loved to hear your perspective up there. Thank you for always sharing great ideals….it’s all for the kids.

  9. Amen. Great post Pernille and it’s always about kids and our passion as educators. Thanks you for writing this post. It puts things into perspective! Vicki

  10. When I originally left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the same comment. Perhaps there is an easy method you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

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