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A Few Words from Tom Rademacher, the 2014 Minnesota Teacher of the Year

Published: May 12, 2014

Today’s post is a guest blog from Tom Rademacher who was recently named the 2014 Minnesota Teacher of the Year:

When my name was announced as the 2014 Minnesota Teacher of the Year, I was almost completely unprepared. Given the chance to speak my first words as representative of over 70,000 public, private, and parochial teachers in Minnesota, I pulled a woefully inadequate piece of paper, hotel stationery actually, with five words scribbled down the night before. I did not think I would win, could not imagine deserving the honor.

I work impossibly hard at teaching, at improving my craft and at addressing the concerns of my students, but that’s nothing exceptional among teachers. I work long hours, and on my hours off, spend much of my brains space thinking about what I’ll do back at work, which is true of nearly all teachers. My students have good days that make me sure they will fulfill the promise of the world-beating geniuses they are, and my students have bad days that make me feel like I have no business putting on my wrinkled tie in the morning and calling myself a teacher. That is true of all teachers, all educators, everyone who works with kids everywhere.

There is nothing exceptional about me or my teaching, nothing I have done that makes me feel that I possibly deserve the honor of Minnesota Teacher of the Year. I am ready, though, and have already pinned my acceptance sheet paper above my desk. The five words on the sheet, the only things I wrote that amounted to a full thought for my speech, were "Earn it in a year." That’s the plan. This year will be spent talking with teachers, hearing their stories, sharing them with anyone interested in what is really going on in Minnesota’s schools. Expect to hear stories from me of the great triumphs, phenomenal successes, and the regularly exceptional work of Minnesota’s teachers. Expect me to work hard at deserving this honor by the time my year is done.