This year, honoring San Benito Schools campus and district Teachers of the Year (TOTY)has proven to be quite a challenge as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that shook how we normally do things.
TOTY educators are selected each year for having demonstrated professionalism, dedication, and service above and beyond what one would normally expect from a spectacular teacher.
They are then honored publicly for their great work.
Shortly before the end of the school year, TOTY honorees are normally recognized during a TOTY banquet –during which the district elementary and secondary TOTY honorees are publicly announced for the first time. They are all recognized among an audience of all district employees at the end of the year assembly. The district elementary and secondary TOTY honorees deliver their special remarks at the start of the new year at the employee convocation.
There has been a pause in the normal timeline.
Amidst the pandemic, the district’s Communications Department and KSBG TV team hadto reevaluate how the TOTY honorees would be honored.
First and foremost, in order to meet the Region One Teacher of the Year competition deadline, the districtwide TOTY honorees were invited to a Zoom session for the big announcement. Superintendent Dr. Nate Carman, Board President Orlando López, select district administrators, and the respective campus principals announced to the top 2 winners that they were each the top honorees in their categories and would now advance to the Regional TOTY competition.
Maki House of Dr. C M Cash Elementary was named the district’s Elementary Teacher of the Year, and Clarissa Guerra of San Benito Veterans Memorial Academy was named the district’s Secondary Teacher of the Year.
The banquet had to be rescheduled and, at this point, may need to be cancelled.
How are they to feel honored?
“I want to remind everyone to be optimistic and open-minded when planning and preparing for this coming year. There are going to be situations that are difficult and unusual but we need to remain patient,” said Secondary TOTY Guerra.
She had the right idea! Be open-minded.
Last week, the district’s award winning KSBG TV crew went on-location as teachers taught remotely from their classrooms. Each of them had an opportunity to provide their insight on their passion for teaching. The crew also took photos and captured each honoree teaching virtual lessons.
The end products will be a special district TOTY magazine and video production featuring each honoree.
“A life is a long symphony or a large canvas. How we play or paint the piece is up to us. A classroom is only a rehearsal where we can make mistakes and learn to do better in the future. We are all learning how to conduct our own masterpiece in a life long journey,” said Elementary TOTYHouse.
How the piece is played or painted is definitely what counts!