This last week we sent out notifications to the teachers in our contest to let them know if they still had students who had not given permission to be published. I received an email back that one teacher has done all she could, but one of her student’s mother gave a verbatim “no”. The teacher was puzzled why a mother would say that.
There are many scams on the internet that accept everything that is entered in a contest. They have as their sole purpose to sell books. Often there is a fee to be published or you are required to purchase a book. That is not who we are.
Giving permission helps to recognize students who have earned a reward. As a parent and teacher I am very protective of my children. However, I would never conceptualize not allowing them to receive recognition for an accomplishment.
We have so many students who have taken this accomplishment and used it to make a difference in their lives. I have the attitude to always let other people limit my options. In college I applied for over 40 scholarships and received 36 rejection letters. The four I received paid for tuition, books, and a little left over. If I didn’t apply, I would not have received anything. However, when a student enters a contest, is recognized, and has put forth the effort, then finishing the process and getting recognition is important.
To release a student’s art or writing, we have to receive verification that each winner created an original work and get permission. Each year about 10% of the students we have chosen as winners fail to give permission. This could be because the work is not original or they just thought returning permission is no big deal.
If you have students enter a contest, then be a finisher. Follow the contest through to completion.
Have a great day.
Ten years ago, after I had been divorced for several years, I published a book called Broken Hearts….Healing: Young Poets Speak Out on Divorce. It was a compilation of kids from across the US who wrote on their feelings and the stages they went through from a divorce. It was written by the real experts, the kids, and received a couple of national awards.
Yesterday we published the ebook version at smashwords.com. In doing this I reflected back to what made me create and publish a book. After my divorce, my kids would come home and tell me that they were the only kids in their school that come from a divorce family. In reality, about half of their classmates were in this group. The book was created to help them realize that they were not alone.
However, publishing the book was more than the content of what was created. It was a project completed. How many of us have large goals that stay as good intentions. Something we think about and don’t follow through to completion. When I received my Ph.D., one of my professors stated that there are thousands of students every year that start a graduate program, often they finish the classwork, but end up ABD (All But Dissertation) and never receive their Ph.D. Aside from the big things in life like creating a book or getting a degree, how many small things do we need to cross off our list? Small things that we could accomplish, yet don’t, due to our just not doing them.
I look back at things I have done for my students in the classroom, for the students we work with in the contests, my family and personal areas of my life. When I take a task and finish it, looking back makes me proud of myself. I feel more confident. It feels good.
For the students we work with in the contests, we have hundreds of letters stating that becoming a published writer or artist became an event in their lives that is an accomplishment. Taking the time to create and finish a task, at any level, is something we can all do. Look around at the various parts of your life. What can you finish? What can you help your students finish? For me, 10 years ago it was a book that is now used by school counselors across the US. Something I did hopefully made a difference in some child or parent’s life. However, I do know that completing a goal had made a difference in my life.