The 2013-14 Michigan Teacher of the Year could be teaching your son or daughter at Trenton High School.
Teachers Mark Hoffman and Rebecca Caldwell recently submitted applications for the statewide award. The two were nominated anonymously in November 2012.
Hoffman, who teaches history and political science, and Caldwell, who teaches science, chemistry and math, collectively have almost 30 years experience teaching in Trenton Public Schools.
Both teachers had to meet a set of criteria to be considered for the prestigious award. According to the Michigan Department of Education website, each nominee:
- Is an exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled Michigan teacher in pre-kindergarten through grade 12.
- Currently spends a minimum of 50% of her/his time teaching students.
- Inspires students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn.
- Has the respect and admiration of students, parents and colleagues.
- Plays an active and useful role in the community, as well as in the school.
- Is poised and articulate.
Caldwell said she was instantly curious about who nominated her.
"It's always nice when somebody thinks something you spend so much time doing is worth while," Caldwell said. "Because it's difficult. Especially, in teaching because the rewards are far and few between."
After finding out about the nomination, Hoffman and Caldwell had to complete a somewhat arduous application process which included a battery of questions including:
- What do you consider to be the major public education issues in Michigan today and address one of these issues in depth, outlining the possible causes, effects and resolutions?
- What have you done to strengthen and improve the teaching profession?
- What is the basis for accountability for the teaching profession and do you agree with it? Why or why not?
Hoffman said teaching is his passion and, though he set out to become a college professor 17 years ago, he wouldn't change a thing about his career as a high school teacher.
"I have zero regrets," Hoffman said. "Even in light of what's happened in the teaching profession these last two years. I have zero regrets about all the degrees I ended up getting, all the student loans I took out to get them. I used every bit of what I learned."
Recently, Hoffman achieved his dream of becoming a college professor when he was hired to teach at Wayne County Community College District and the University of Phoenix.
They are both worthy candidates--like all teachers at Trenton High School--they both do a good job," Micheal Doyle said, principal of Trenton High School.
The teacher of the year is expected to be announced sometime this spring.