Stephanie Day, Washington, D.C., Teacher of the Year
Photo: Meredith Rice
One month before her first year of teaching began, Stephanie Day sat in a workshop during a summer school teaching session and had an argument with her instructor.

"When asked about priorities, I told her that the most important thing for a teacher is that you care about your students. The instructor told me that I was wrong and that caring about your students was only apparent by being the best instructor, with the most diverse teaching tools and strongest lessons you can possibly create," Stephanie says. "I see now what she meant."

Stephanie believes this means that teachers must hold their students and themselves to high standards, especially when it comes to teacher accountability and evaluation.

"I challenge educators to no longer fear these performance tests, but embrace them. There is no reason to fear, because we know that when we do our jobs, our kids have no limits to their potential," Stephanie says. "As excuses and the pressures of what we cannot control enter our minds, we push back and realize what we can control. The time is now for us to be more, because the stakes are just too great and the needs are too important in our country."


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