That may sound a little overdramatic – but it really was a roomful of the very best. Each year, the ten finalists for Georgia Teacher of the Year gather to give short speeches discussing their motivation for teaching, their vision for the profession, and pressing education policy issues. It’s part of the formal judging process, but it’s also a time of inspiration. Each speech is a reminder of the many reasons that teaching – while difficult, and often completed in the face of tough odds – is, as State School Superintendent Richard Woods told this year’s finalists, one of the greatest professions on earth.
Here are a few words of wisdom on teaching, relationship-building, and the future of the profession from this year’s finalists.