How the Teaching Tolerance Award Expanded My Teaching Family

Learn from 2016 TT Award winner Cody Miller about how the award influences professional practice.

“So often, teachers are so focused on their specific context that they lose sight of how their work impacts the broader society,” says Cody Miller, a high school English teacher and 2016 recipient of the Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Teaching. “The application for the TT Award requires teachers to reflect on their work, and then highlight the powerful practices that happen in our classrooms.”

Every two years, Teaching Tolerance recognizes five educators from around the United States for their exemplary work in preparing students for a diverse democracy. Each winner receives a $2,500 cash award and travels to historic Montgomery, Alabama, for a collaborative meeting and award celebration. Winners also meet other innovative anti-bias educators and contribute to TT projects throughout their two-year terms.

Teaching Tolerance will accept applications and—for the first time—nominations for the 2018 award November 1 through December 10. Bookmark this page, and make plans now to apply or nominate another educator for the award!

If you’re hesitant to throw your hat in the ring for this award, Miller has this to say: “Teachers tend to be a humble group, so the TT Award process is a nice venue to focus on all the important work teachers make happen on a daily basis.”

But it’s not just the application process that led Miller to reflect deeply on his professional practice; becoming an award recipient actually influenced it.

“Winning the TT Award put me in orbit with an amazing group of educators who are constantly bringing new ideas to the table relating to school on a broader, socio-political level,” Miller says with his passionate smile. “You will meet so many wonderful people! Your teaching family will grow. These are dark times in our nation, but I know that across the nation there are teachers doing the important work of justice. I know those teachers personally because of this award.”

If you’re invested in this work, we hope you’ll apply. And if you know someone who fits the bill, nominate them! Our nationwide teaching family will thank you.