- Though some criticize the process, anyone can nominate anyone, and indeed the efforts of more than 350 more educators were recognized with a nomination and celebrated on the nomination pages.
- The founders of the first EdCamp were recognized because their dream of creating free professional development by teachers, for teachers, has now been realized at more than 300 EdCamps.
- The founders of #EdChat, TomWhitby, Shelly Terrell and Steve Anderson, were honored because their creation has become a Twitter phenomenon, giving birth to more than 300 spin-off educational hashtags, each representing dozens or hundreds or thousands of educators who get together regularly to discuss their individual splice of the education profession. While the founders of #Edcamp and #Edchat are admired and valued in the connected educator community, their efforts often are not appreciated in their own districts, and the Bammys is a chance to thank them for their contributions to the profession.
- The six heroic teachers who gave their lives defending their students at Sandy Hook elementary school were remembered and honored with a special award that was accepted by one of their fellow teachers.
- Mallory Fundora, a 13yo who has raised money to support orphans in Uganda, was given the first Bammy for Student Initiatve (which I had the honor of co-presenting).
This was all in keeping with the theme that the Bammys are a celebration of all that is right in American education. Much of it matched the expectations I had after reading all the glowing reviews by educators of the first Bammy Awards, and the concept behind the Bammys, in this post by my colleague Angela Maiers.
So, are the educators who attended writing positive posts about all of the above?
No. None of these highlights are getting any mention at all.
You see, Lisa Murphy, a highly respected early childhood educator - yes, she is a teacher, not a professional comedian - bravely stood front and center and tried to make us laugh. In doing so, she proved the old adage, "dying is easy, comedy is hard." It was full of "inside humor" that might have been appreciated by most of the live audience, but for the fact that the event was shown on Live Stream to a large audience of friends, family and students who likely weren't "in on the joke." Errol St. Clair Smith, the Executive Producer of the Bammys, has expressly apologized for this miscasting.
The producers also had to make hard decisions about which award categories would not be presented live. The decision to exclude three teacher awards from the live awards show understandably upset the nominees in these categories. Several of them have ably expressed their disappointment online. I'm certain the producers of the Bammys will not repeat this mistake.
The ceremony was not perfect, nor did anyone expect that it would be. 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.
Further, no awards show gets it right, for everyone, every time. Do you remember fondly any host of the Oscars in the past 20 years not named Billy Crystal?
While constructive criticism of the shortcomings of the evening will serve to make the next Bammy Awards better, I don't understand why the magic moments of this night have disappeared from the conversation, lost in the relentless focus on what went wrong.
The only positives that I've seen were about getting together with other people who are equally passionate about educating kids. It sounds like next year they can skip the ceremony and just have a tailgate party.
It's unfortunate that a few, correctable shortcomings are receiving so much attention. Because I helped create a new category this year, I had the opportunity to get a glimpse of the inner-workings of the Bammys. It is a true labor of love by dozens of passionate educators who pour their hearts into it, mostly on a volunteer basis. Yet each of them is feeling bruised tonight because they dared to create a ceremony that recognizes what is right in the U.S. education system and came up a little short.
The Bammys is a chance to celebrate all that is right in the education system.
In many respects, the second edition of the Bammys did so very well.
So when can we start celebrating?