There’s no greater honor for a teacher than to be recognized by his or her students. So when I was named 2016 Teacher of the Year at Hofstra’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication last week, I couldn’t have felt more gratified, humbled and joyful knowing my students saw fit to give me an award.
But it’s my students who deserve the accolades. They inspire me every day. Their dedication to learning and desire to succeed fills me with the motivation to be the best I can be as an educator. As another semester ends, I say goodbye to our graduates feeling good about the work my colleagues and I do to prepare the next group of future public relations professionals.
This year I’ve been inspired by seniors and grad students including Lauren, who wrote and presented a significant research paper on #blacklivesmatter; Ashley, who thoroughly researched and reported on PR ethics; and Samantha, who studied the state of public relations agencies in Estonia where she lived for a semester. Their efforts rivaled the best of any academic work.
I’ve watched how Nathalie, whose charisma and unparalleled leadership of Hofstra’s PRSSA Chapter worked to build PRSSA into a powerhouse campus club, and helped inspire fellow students Saralynn, Kristin, Lauren, Tara, Arielle, Briana, Jasmine, and others to run dozens of programs and events. Together, they were selected to host what was a highly successful regional conference.
I’ve been inspired by international students who left their homes and moved thousands of miles to be educated in the United States. Significantly challenged by language and culture, they’ve succeeded through their determination to earn a college degree.
I’ve also been inspired by my graduate assistant Jessica and student aide Emily. They’ve handled several special PR projects this year with competence and enthusiasm.
I wish I could name every student who’s inspired me because as my sixth year at Hofstra ends, I’ve never been happier and more excited to be in a classroom. I’ll miss our graduates terribly but look forward to another year of inspiration. Your thoughts?