I am going to bed with a smile on my face. I was honored and thrilled to spend the weekend with cherished friends, colleagues and fellow change agents as an attendee and presenter at the second annual Bammy Awards in Washington DC.

There is so much to celebrate in our profession and so much to be proud of.  I was anxiously waiting for some down time after the event, to go back into the tweet stream and see all that was captured and all that I missed.

I was fully expecting the usual “why we shouldn’t have awards for teachers-because it goes against what we stand” banter that emerges when we try to showcase what is good within our field.

But I was not expecting what came with it.

The ceremony was not perfect; a few aspects of it upset some people. This was only the second time it was held, and it operates on a tight budget – tickets to the ceremony are free – and with no full-time staff. My friend and fellow educator Pernille Ripp fairly lays out her feelings on the issues here.

I am not writing to debate what anyone perceived to be the shortcomings of the ceremony. What I find upsetting is the ensuing avalanche of negativity as educators “pile on,” as though they want to bury the Bammys for good.

As Pernille brilliantly wrote in the wake of the Bammy nominations in May, “We are so good at making each other feel bad….We are so good at taking moments that should be celebrated and turning them into moments of shame….if we squelch the movements that are springing up to turn the tide of teacher bashing, then we are giving those who hate us a helping hand.”

In the midst of my brewing and stewing, I sent this Tweet to 12yo Mallory Fundora, who I presented with the first Bammy for Student Initiative, for a fresh perspective:

And you will see in here response why I prefer to hang out with children!!

“I feel like winning this award means that people take me seriously for the work that I am doing, instead of looking at me like I’m just a kid. I want the educators in the room to understand that there are other kids like me in their classrooms and they could be overlooking them every day. I started Project Yesu when I was in the 6th grade. From then to now (not including this school year) I have had 14 teachers and only 3 of them ever showed any interest in what I am doing in Uganda. This year it’s different, after my teachers found out that I won a Bammy, it’s like they realize that I am for real. It bothers me that my teacher didn’t seem to care about what I do outside of their classrooms. So what I would like to say to the teachers, principals, superintendents or whoever that were there Saturday night is its great that you blog or tweet your great classroom ideas and experiences, or that you found a great app to use with your students, or helped them to understand fractions better, but what about caring about their passions? Showing interest in their lives? Encouraging them, finding their spark and helping them grow it, even if it doesn’t make them better on a standardized test.”

Be The Change,


Founder of Project Yesu

How many teachers are in the same position as Mallory? How many are known around the country and around the world for their contribution to the field of education, for their innovations in learning, and yet utterly ignored in their own schools?

The Bammys is a chance to celebrate all that is right in the education system, which is not done nearly often enough.

That is what matters most about the Bammys.