The 2014 Christine D. Sarbanes Teacher of the Year

Faith Majors, 8th grade English/Language Arts Teacher at Samuel Ogle Middle School in Bowie, Maryland received the 2014 Christine D. Sarbanes Award on April 12, 2014 at the Maryland Letters About Literature Awards Ceremony. She has graciously allowed us to reprint her acceptance speech:

Good Morning.
This award realizes one of my life’s ambitions—to be recognized as an outstanding teacher. It is with gratitude and a deep sense of humility that I accept this award.

Faith’s students congratulate their teacher.

I would like to thank the Maryland Humanities Council and the Sarbanes Family for this great honor and for promoting the importance of reading and writing at large. I would like to thank my family and friends for their continued love, support and encouragement.
I would also like to thank all of my colleagues from whom I’ve learned so much, who’ve mentored me and given me fellowship and guidance. It is truly appreciated and has helped me grow both personally and professionally. There are so many teachers who are equally deserving of this award for their commitment and tireless dedication to inspire our youth.
And of course I want to thank my students for their determination and commitment to improvement as they stand up to meet the challenges ahead. I realize that the hard work, loyalty and personal sacrifices of those previously mentioned have made this recognition possible. I consider this honor as one in a representative capacity to be shared with all of my colleagues.

The love of literature is something that I have always had. My mother tells how she would hear me cackling in the middle of the night as a young child in my crib. She would come in and there I would be a book in hand, dolls around me pretending to read. Lining up the dolls and teaching them, reading to them, making up my own story. So it was no surprise to my mother that I would grow up to be a teacher, besides, it is in my blood. My grandmother was also a teacher.
The fact that I can be a part of instilling this love of literature, this love of words, in our youth is awe-inspiring. If I can get a student to enjoy a book, I’ve gotten them to enjoy reading, if I can get them to enjoy reading, I’ve helped to create a reader. If I’ve created a reader, I’ve helped to create a thinker which is a benefit to this world.
My hope is that these thinkers, writers, readers, the next generation, can continue to add to the voices of our diverse literary tradition. My hope is that they continue to read, continue to write, continue to let their voices be heard and make an impact on our world.
As a final thought, I would like to leave you with a quote: “When a reader enters the pages of a book…he or she enters a world where dreams transform the past into knowledge made applicable to the present, and where visions shape the present into extraordinary possibilities for the future.” – Aberjhani, Collected Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black.

I hope your dreams and futures are extraordinary. Thank you.

Faith Majors is a National Board Certified Teacher who brings enthusiasm, structure, and creativity to her classroom. She focuses on the whole child when she teachers, going the extra mile to find books and materials that will interest even the most reluctant reader. Her hard work, and that of her students, has helped to increase her special education students’ measured reading level during their time with her each year. Read more about Faith


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