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Guest Post: Joseph Masiello, 2010-2011 Teacher of the Year

Written on: October 17th, 2011 in Education Guest Posts

Last October, Joseph Masiello — a sixth grade language arts teacher from Cab Calloway School of the Arts in the Red Clay Consolidated School District — was named State Teacher of the Year for 2011. As this year’s 20 nominees prepare for Tuesday night’s award banquet when they will learn who will be the 2012 State Teacher of the Year, Mr. Masiello shares one last message as Delaware’s “Top Teacher.”

Each day teachers arrive early to their classroom and work late into the afternoon hours — often times bringing work home to be completed throughout the weekend hours as well. We know we will never be paid the salaries of Wall Street employees and we most likely will not receive the recognition that many people get in other careers.

But we continue to teach each and every day knowing that our rewards are far greater than any monetary accolade could provide: We know that we have an opportunity each day to change the world.

A teacher comes in contact with thousands of lives throughout his/her career and has the amazing opportunity to change outcomes, to send a child down a path that he or she never may have considered. Teachers have the opportunity to influence our world, to make it a better place to live in.

As the Delaware Teacher of the Year, I was fortunate to meet many teachers from our great state, and I came to realize that there are hundreds of teachers who are worthy of the same title that I was fortunate to hold for the 2011 year.

It became my mission to speak for those teachers: teachers who come to work each and every day, teaching in innovative ways , inspiring their students to reach higher and to push just a little bit harder. It became my goal to tell the people of our state that we have so many amazing teachers in Delaware and they too are working tirelessly to motivate, inspire and educate the children of our schools.

I am proud and humbled to have been given the opportunity to represent such a stellar group of Delaware teachers. Thank you!

Last year  I sat in the very same seats as this year’s 20 nominees, trying desperately to convince my family and friends that I would not be selected as the Delaware Teacher of the Year. I didn’t want anyone to be disappointed, and as I talked on and on, I realized no one was paying attention to me. I later pulled my partner aside and asked him if they weren’t listening because they were so sure I would be chosen.

He said something I will never forget: “Joey, no one is here to see you accept an award. You’ve already won — you won when you first became a teacher, you won when you took that first job 29 years ago making $10,000 a year, you win every time we’re out in public and a student comes up to you to say ‘thank you’ for being their teacher. We are here to celebrate all that you’ve done for the kids you have taught every day of each year you have been teaching. Tonight is not about choosing a winner, that’s already been done.”

My message to each and every teacher in the room tomorrow night is you already have won. You all are amazing, and the night is all about you.

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