By Nicole Kenngott
Teachers are driven by a passion to help others to become the best versions of themselves. We show up each day because we play a key role in someone’s journey. While we may only play a part for a brief chapter, we seek to cultivate relationships to help our students recognize their greatness.
Teaching is a calling. It is often a misunderstood and overwhelming profession. While we are a reflective community, we seek to improve and frequently overlook our victories. The Pinellas County Schools Teacher of the Year experience is unique. It has forced me to truly think about my practice. Questions I have been asked this year, while seemingly simple, have created an emotional response. Why are you a teacher? Which student has had the greatest impact on you? What do you want people to know about this profession?
We teach because it is a part of us. We may not like elements of this career, but we love it every day. No one child has had a greater impact on me because each one has taught me something different. A success story of one child will look exponentially different than another because no two students, even in the same classroom, should be viewed the same. The greatest impact we can have on a child is their identifying within themselves that they are capable. We are facilitators who provide the tools, strategies and determination, in addition to the knowledge.
The Evening of Excellence, presented by the Pinellas Education Foundation and Pinellas County Schools, is a celebration of education. It is an opportunity for colleagues to take a moment and be reminded that what we do matters. Its importance should not be discredited. Our seasoned teachers and those new to the profession can all agree that we do this job for the outcome, not the income. We are a community and share a common bond. There is no better mentor or resource than the teacher next door. We are better together.
What is the meaning of teaching? Teachers respect diverse talents and ways to discovery. Teachers are more than cheerleaders; we are coaches. We celebrate the wins and learn from the losses. What has this experience taught me? “Teaching is the best.”