News - January 28, 2014

Blog: Your own award

Yeah, the world is unfair, but it is great to have a small incentive for teachers to take time off from the hard knock life, the publish-or-perish, and share knowledge in an outstanding way. Last week I was taking pictures at the teacher-of-the-year award.

Having followed some of his lectures, I was happy to hear that Huub Savelkoul was awarded the prize. With humble words about the importance of committed teaching and a wink to his wife, Savelkoul thanked the jury, the audience and the other nominees. I was especially moved by how people honoured the nominee Marthijn Sonneveld, who recently passed away. It was genuine, and beautiful in a way and there was nothing cheesy about one of his students telling the audience that she wanted to be like him.

The minute of silence that followed reminded me of something, so important that many have forgotten it: don't wait for bad things to happen to tell people that you cherish what they do.  Boy, do their faces light up when I thank all the people that make a difference for me on a daily basis: The cleaning staff, my salsa teachers, my lecturers, and my gymnastics coach, just to name a few, I love you all.

Whatever it is that makes our teachers popular with students these days, I doubt that it is solely based on the quality of their teaching. There is a whole bunch of ridiculously well-read, skillful and hard-working teachers out there. And even though I am sure that they give it their very best ever day, they will never see an award for it.

So I would like to acknowledge you, the unseen, the unawarded and the ugly.

We appreciate you, and we look up to you, albeit silently. 

And if you, like me think that there are not enough official awards, you better damn well get out there and start giving people your own, personal award.

It starts with a simple sentence: ‘Thank you for today's lesson.’