Congratulations are certainly in order to Debbie Gill Leslie, Hillsborough County’s Teacher of the Year. Good — let alone exceptional — teachers certainly don’t get enough recognition. And reward. In this case, the Pride Elementary School kindergarten teacher received $2,000, a ring, round-trip airline tickets, a crystal apple, tickets to various sporting and entertainment events and more. By all accounts, she was still under-rewarded.
As admirable — and fitting — as such an honor is, the selection process needs improvement. It needs to be fair. Hillsborough County selects its Teacher of the Year from its total ranks, K-12.
The comparisons are challenging enough when comparing elementary teachers to each other — or secondary teachers to each other. To choose one winner among all the elementary and secondary teachers, however, is beyond challenging. It’s impossible — if fairness is to be more than a nominal consideration.
Call it the pedagogic equivalent of the apples-to-oranges metaphor. Only here it’s the more child-oriented, patience-of-Job elementary teacher incongruously compared to the more subject-oriented, adolescent-relating secondary instructor.
Surely, what’s worth rewarding is worth rewarding fairly.