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Press Release | Education

Press Release: Montreal Teacher Returns NCTE Award with a Thank You but No Thank You!

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Montreal Educator Michael Ernest Sweet Returns National Award with a Thank You, But No Thank You!

The National Council of Teachers of English awarded the High School Teacher of Excellence award to 23 people from across North America in 2009. This award is given on the recommendation of local affiliates and then conferred at a luncheon at the annual convention.

Michael Ernest Sweet, most noted for his founding of the student press initiative Learning for a Cause, which has received endorsements from the likes of Martin Sheen and David Suzuki, declined and returned the award promptly after the November 21st luncheon.

“The award ceremony was a pathetic embarrassment to everyone involved. We were handed 'binders' with a computer print-off certificate (think elementary school attendance award) and our names – all 23 of them – were read out in about 2 minutes without us having the opportunity to pass the podium and say as much as a thank you. The official program named the 'flower committee' but failed to name the honorees. The whole thing felt like a poorly-planned false gesture. I was insulted. If we are going to be serious about honoring teaching and teachers and their commitment and dedication – their contributions to society – then let's be serious, let's invest the time and money needed to make it count.”

Sweet who is not short on awards recently won a 2009 Prime Minister's award for teaching in Canada and states that he hopes his gesture of declining the NCTE award will draw attention to the fact that teachers are worthy of real recognition and honor.

“We are not children, we should stand up and demand the respect that we deserve and actively work to protect the dignity of the teaching profession. I am greatly upset that now, apparently, we even have to do so with our own professional organizations. That's how bad things have become.”

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