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In January, I was privileged to attend the State Teacher of the Year Program Conference in Dallas, TX. Dallas had been the official start of my experience with the National Teacher of the Year Program a year before, so this was somewhat of a return trip for me, but from a new vantage point.

In Dallas this year, new and familiar faces engaged in familiar discussions. I watched the familiar process of helping Teachers of the Year understand the intent of the program and the role and responsibility of being an acknowledged teacher. I witnessed the professional competency and energy of the new class.

Here are a few thoughts on the power of teaching from several of the State Teachers of the Year 2000.

"After 20-plus years of being a teacher, I still remain excited (and enthused) about the job . . . As teachers, we hold in our hands the precious gift of opening the doors of learning for every student that we touch."

  • Susan Furey Adams, Physical Education, K–4, Jericho Elementary School, Jericho, VT

"Teaching is a challenge . . . Teaching is energizing . . . Teaching is the profession that makes all professions possible."

  • Kathy Politz, Kindergarten, West Vigo Elementary School, Terre Haute, IN

"My motivation for teaching simply is that by working with children, it helps me be my very best . . . I love what happens to me when I work with children. I do believe that classrooms can be places of great possibility and transformation, not only for young people, but also for teachers."

  • Kim Hughes, Kindergarten, Fox Road Elementary School, Raleigh, NC

"My kids keep me excited every day of the year. I learn more about how my children think and how to help them learn by making connections between what they know and what they do not yet know. I am a researcher as well as a teacher in the classroom."

  • Ann Dominick, Fourth Grade, South Shades Crest Elementary School, Hoover, AL

As I move into this fourth and final phase of my year as the present National Teacher of the Year, I remind myself to be grateful for what I have already encountered and to happily anticipate the unknown possibilities that lie ahead!

Until next time, good luck and good teaching.


Check back often to see journal entries from the coming months.

November | January | February | March | April | May

Scholastic is the proud corporate sponsor of the National Teacher of the Year Program.