Much is involved in competing for an HEB award

This year marks my fourth time I have entered the HEB Excellence in Education Awards.

I’ve entered in 2007, 2009 and 2012, and was named a semi-finalist in each of those years.

It’s a lot of work to complete the application. Besides the usual name, address, phone number and such, one also needs to complete sections such as school information — complete with demographic data — and TAKS and STAAR scores.

Next are questions asking about university attendance and degrees earned, and employment history, memberships in professional associations and developmental activities. Then honors and awards received and community involvement.

Then, six essay questions covering topics from why did you become an educator, accomplishments, and defining success for students, among other topics.

You’re limited to 500 words, which believe it or not, are quickly used up. Four of the six were 490-something words.

So, why enter if it’s so much work? For me, it’s pride in my profession as a teacher of journalism, and I feel as if I’m at least as good as anybody else, if not better.

Then, it’s a good exercise in thinking. The essay questions are challenging, and then on top of that is the word limit.

I could have going on and one with one question, “How do you define and measure success for yourself and for your students?”

I was way over 500 words, and when I did some tough editing got it down to 499. The same with some of the others.

Once the application is submitted (either online or through the mail) applicants receive an email or postcard confirmation. Semifinalists get a certificate in the mail, and for the 10 state-wide finalists, a personal visit from HEB people and school district administrators.

If you were here when I received the One Class at a Time award, then it would be something like that.

So, in a month or two I’ll know how I did. Do you think it might be worth a picture in the paper?