Book Review

Awards and Recognition for Exceptional Teachers

by Hans A. Andrews, Matilda Press, Ottawa, Ill., 2006, 370 pp. with index, $24.95 softcover

Many school districts nationwide are finding it difficult to find teachers and when we do find them, we often discover even greater difficulty keeping them.

Hans Andrews in his book Awards and Recognition for Exceptional Teachers: K-12 and Community College: Programs in the USA, Canada and Other Countries maintains that many school districts do not have an effective means to recognize our finest teachers.

Teacher salary schedules and negotiated agreements usually determine that all teachers are paid the same regardless of the quality of their teaching. Andrews says teachers thrive on public recognition if they are putting forth high-quality efforts to educate their students. That recognition should be the outcome of an organized and systematic method of teacher evaluation that is respected by both educators and administrators.

The successful factors Andrews found in his research that will lead to an effective recognition program are the following: trust, respect, recognition that confirms teachers must continue to improve and fairness in selection.

The author’s research looks closely into the practices of many community colleges and school districts. Many types of teacher recognition programs are described along with suggestions as to the advantages and disadvantages of each that one that provides teacher recognition.

The quality of our schools depends on the quality of our teachers. Salary schedules do not recognize our best and brightest, and thus we must find other ways to bring public attention to those deserving teachers who go well above and beyond to provide a good education to our young people.

Reviewed by Dave Smette, retired superintendent, Jamestown, N.D.