Teachers could be forgiven for feeling under siege following recent warnings suggesting they are incompetent. If so, maybe a trip across the Atlantic would cure their blues. In the United States, teacher praise seems to be all the rage.
This month, congressman Peter Roskam honoured his fourth-grade teacher, Miss Lillian Anderson, and called for a National Teacher Day. California already has a teacher of the year competition, and last week, the Detroit Free Press's Yak's Corner kids' column proudly announced: "Today is teacher appreciation day and the Yak sure appreciates all teachers he knows."
Somehow, American cermonies are always more emotional than ours. Derenda Marshall, a finalist for the Georgetown County School District's teacher of the year award in South Carolina, said: "My students often call me Mrs Frizzle, because I dress like this magical teacher and take them on magnificent journeys. Being nominated is a humbling experience. Teaching is truly my passion. When I heard my name announced, tears came to my eyes."