Two weeks ago, Education Nation spoke with a group of education reporters, writers and bloggers to ask for candid feedback on last year’s summit and to hear their thoughts on what topics are front and center in the education community right now.
One idea especially perked up ears at Education Nation's The Learning Curve: Teachers are headline news these days, but how many of us know exactly what a teacher does on a daily basis? The country is focused on student outcomes - with a particular emphasis on test scores - but there’s a whole lot more to a teacher’s job than Number 2 pencils and multiple choice questions.
So, we’ve decided to pose the question to all you teachers out there in the form of an essay contest with a big incentive: The three winners will be flown to New York to attend the Teacher Town Hall on Sunday, September 25. We will also publish the three winning essays on EducationNation.com during the Education Nation summit.
And the question is:
What are the biggest challenges you face in your job, and how do you measure your own success on a daily basis?
Here’s the nitty gritty:
Write no more than 800 words on the question above. The essays will be judged by a panel of NBC News journalists and education experts. Send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading “Essay Contest.” Please include your name, address, email address, telephone number, date of birth, the grade(s) and subject(s) you teach, and the name of the school where you work. The deadline for submissions is Sept. 2, 2011.
A word or two from our legal department:
Teacher Essay Contest
August 3, 2011—September 2, 2011
ELIGIBILITY: Open only to permanent, legal United States (“U.S.”) residents who are physically residing in one (1) of the fifty (50) United States or the District of Columbia (excluding Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands and other United States territories), and who are eighteen (18) years of age or older as of the start of the Contest Period and who are currently employed as a full-time teacher by a public, private or parochial school. Officers, directors, and employees of Contest Entities (as defined below), members of these persons’ immediate families (spouses and/or parents, children, and siblings, and their spouses, regardless of where they reside), and/or persons living in the same households as these persons (whether or not related thereto) are not eligible to enter or win the Contest. Contest Entities, as referenced herein, shall include Sponsors (as defined below) and their respective parent, subsidiary, and affiliate companies, and administrative, advertising, and promotion agencies, and any other entity involved in the development, administration, promotion, or implementation of the Contest.
HOW TO ENTER: To enter the Contest, during the Contest Period submit a statement of eight hundred (800) words or less (“Essay”) on the following theme: “What are the biggest challenges you face in your job, and how do you measure your own success?.” Essays must be emailed to email@example.com, and must include your name, address, telephone number, email address, date of birth, the grade(s) and subject(s) you teach, and the name of the school where you work (the “Entry Information”). Essay and Entry Information shall together constitute an “Entry”. Essay must be submitted in the English language. If an Essay exceeds eight hundred (800) words, only the first eight hundred (800) words will be judged. All Entries become the property of NBC News, NBCUniversal Media, LLC, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112, and will not be acknowledged or returned.
You must submit the Essay as part of your Entry to enter and be eligible for the Contest. Your Essay must be original (that is, written by you), true and verifiable. You must have the permission of any person that you identify or otherwise refer to in your Essay. By entering the Contest, entrants grant Sponsors the non-exclusive, royalty-free, and irrevocable rights to use, reproduce, copy, publish, display, distribute, perform, translate, adapt, modify, and otherwise exploit the Essay and to incorporate the Essay in other works in any and all markets and media worldwide in perpetuity. Entrants warrant that they have the sole and exclusive right to grant such rights to Sponsors and that the Sponsors' reproduction, publishing, displaying, and/or other use of the Essays will not infringe on any rights of third parties, including, without limitation, copyright, trademark, privacy, or publicity, or create claims for defamation, false light, idea misappropriation, intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress, or breach of contract. If any Essays contain material that is violent, pornographic, obscene, illegal, inappropriate, or racially or morally offensive or if any Essays do not comply with these Official Rules or meet Sponsors’ standards for any reason, as determined by Sponsors in their sole discretion, such Essays (and the related Entries) may be rejected as ineligible for consideration. Entries must comply with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations. Sponsors shall have no obligation to copy, publish, display, or otherwise exploit the Essays.
Entries must be received before September 2, 2011 at 5:00 P.M. ET to be eligible for the Contest. Sponsors’ computer shall be the official timekeeper for all matters related to this Contest. You may enter once during the Contest Period. Multiple Entries received from any person or email address beyond this limit will void all such additional entries. Entries generated by a script, macro, or other automated means will be disqualified. Entries that are incomplete, garbled, corrupted, or unintelligible for any reason, including, but not limited to, computer or network malfunction or congestion, are void and will not be accepted. In case of a dispute over the identity of an entrant, the authorized account holder of the email address used to enter will be deemed to be the entrant. “Authorized account holder” is defined as the person who is assigned to an email address by an Internet access provider, online service provider or other organization that is responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted email address. Entry constitutes permission (except where prohibited by law) to use entrant’s name, city, state, likeness, image, and/or voice for purposes of advertising, promotion, and publicity in any and all media now or hereafter known, throughout the world in perpetuity, without additional compensation, notification, permission, or approval.
JUDGING: On or about September 9, 2011, a panel of qualified judges selected by Sponsors (“Judges”) will review the eligible Entries received during the Contest Period and select three (3) potential winners (“Winners”) based on the following judging criteria (“Judging Criteria”): Originality (50%) and Creativity (50%). In the event of a tie, the Judges will break the tie by selecting the tied entrant who received the highest points from the Judges for Originality as the potential Winner. In the event a tie remains, the tied entries will be judged by an additional tie-breaking judge, using the Judging Criteria, to determine which of the tied entrants will be the potential Winner. Decisions of Sponsors and Judges are final and binding with respect to all matters related to the Contest. Winning is subject to verification of eligibility. Potential Winners will be notified by email. Potential Winners may be required to execute and return an affidavit of eligibility, release of liability, and, except where prohibited, publicity release (collectively, “Contest Documents”) within five (5) days of such notification. Noncompliance within this time period, with these Official Rules or the return of or inability to deliver any prize/prize notification may result in disqualification and, at Sponsors' discretion, and time permitting, an alternate potential Winner may be selected from among all eligible remaining Entries based on the Judging Criteria.
PRIZE: There will be three (3) prizes awarded (“Prizes”), one (1) to each Winner. Each Prize will consist of: Winner’s Essay being published on Education Nation’s The Learning Curve Blog at EducationNation.com during the week of September 25, 2011 and a trip (“Trip”) that consists of: round-trip, coach-class airfare for Winner from a major airport in or near Winner’s place of residence (as determined by Sponsors in their sole discretion) to a major airport in or near New York, New York (“Airport”) (as determined by Sponsors in their sole discretion); accommodations for Winner (standard room, single occupancy) for two (2) days/one (1) night at a hotel in New York, New York (“Hotel”) (as determine by Sponsors in their sole discretion); round-trip ground transportation between Airport and Hotel; and breakfast on the second day of the Trip that consists of one (1) entrée and one (1) non-alcoholic beverage. Sponsors will provide each Winner with a payment in an amount intended to mitigate any potential tax liability (“Tax Mitigation Payment”) as determined by Sponsors in their sole discretion. The aforementioned amount will be based on a standard tax rate which may be higher or lower than a Winner’s actual individual tax rate, as determined by Sponsors in their sole discretion.
Estimated Retail Value (“ERV”) of each Prize is one thousand dollars ($1,000) plus the Tax Mitigation Amount. ERV of all Prizes is three thousand dollars ($3,000) plus the combined Tax Mitigation Amounts.
Actual Retail Value (“ARV”) may vary based on dates of departures and dates of travel. Any differences between stated ERV and ARV will not be awarded. Each Winner will receive an IRS Form 1099 from Sponsors for the total ARV of Prize for the calendar year in which Prize was awarded. Winners must be able to travel on dates specified by Sponsors, on or around September 25, 2011, or Trip portion of Prize will be forfeited. Certain travel restrictions and black out dates apply. All travel will be at the risk of Winners.
All details of Prize will be determined by Sponsors in their sole discretion. Sponsors reserve the right to substitute ground transportation for airfare if a Winner resides within one hundred (100) miles of New York, New York. Sponsors reserve the right to substitute a similar Prize (or Prize element) of comparable or greater value. If a Prize element is not available for any reason, as determined by Sponsors, Prize Provider and/or Sweepstakes Entities in their sole discretion, the remaining elements of Prize shall be awarded and shall constitute full satisfaction of Sponsors’, Prize Provider’s and/or Sweepstakes Entities’ Prize obligation to Winner and no additional compensation or substitution will be awarded. Airline and hotel reservations are subject to availability and travel restrictions may apply. Airline tickets are valid only for travel on the airline(s) chosen by Sponsors in their sole discretion. Airline tickets will be issued only to Winners. Winners are responsible for any tax liability, including applicable departure taxes or fees, inspection charges, and security charges. Once issued, tickets are non-transferable and may not be reissued once travel has commenced. Open tickets may not be issued and stopovers are not permitted. Winners are solely responsible for obtaining all necessary travel documents including passports (if applicable). Sponsors, Prize Provider and/or Sweepstakes Entities have no responsibility for alterations to any travel plans caused by airline delays or for any act, omission or event. Sponsors, Prize Provider and/or Sweepstakes Entities shall have no responsibility or liability for cancellations, delays, or any other change by any company or person providing any element of Prize and are not responsible or liable for any expenses incurred as a consequence thereof. Winners specifically release Sponsors, Prize Provider and/or Sweepstakes Entities from any and all claims for loss or damage to baggage or property, or from personal injuries or death, or from loss or delay, arising out of the acts, omissions, or negligence of any independent contractors, such as air carriers, hotels, restaurateurs, transportation providers, medical personnel or other providers of services or facilities. All taxes and other expenses, costs, or fees associated with the acceptance and/or use of Prize are the sole responsibility of Winner. Prize cannot be transferred by Winner or redeemed for cash and is valid only for the items detailed above, with no substitution of Prize by Winner. If Prize is unclaimed within a reasonable time after notification from Sponsors, as determined by Sponsors in their sole discretion, it will be forfeited, and time permitting, an alternate Winner may be selected from the remaining eligible Entries at Sponsors’ sole discretion.
CONDITIONS: By entering the Contest, each entrant agrees for entrant and for entrant’s heirs, executors, and administrators (a) to release and hold harmless Contest Entities and their respective officers, directors, and employees (collectively, “Released Parties”) from any liability, illness, injury, death, loss, litigation, or damage that may occur, directly or indirectly, whether caused by negligence or not, from such entrant’s participation in the or Contest and/or his/her acceptance, possession, use, or misuse of Prize or any portion thereof (including any travel related thereto); (b) to indemnify Released Parties from any and all liability resulting or arising from the Contest and to hereby acknowledge that Released Parties have neither made nor are in any manner responsible or liable for any warranty, representation, or guarantee, express or implied, in fact or in law, relative to Prize, including express warranties provided exclusively by Prize supplier that are sent along with Prize; (c) if selected as a Winner, to the posting of such entrant’s name on Website and the use by Released Parties of such name, voice, image, and/or likeness for publicity, promotional, and advertising purposes in any and all media now or hereafter known, throughout the world in perpetuity, without additional compensation, notification, permission, or approval, and, upon request, to the giving of consent, in writing, to such use; and (d) to be bound by these Official Rules and to waive any right to claim any ambiguity or error therein or in the Contest itself, and to be bound by all decisions of the Sponsors, which are binding and final. Failure to comply with these conditions may result in disqualification from the Contest at Sponsors’ sole discretion.
ADDITIONAL TERMS: Sponsors reserve the right to permanently disqualify from any promotion any person they believe has intentionally violated these Official Rules. Any attempt to deliberately damage the Contest or the operation thereof is unlawful and subject to legal action by Sponsors, who may seek damages to the fullest extent permitted by law. The failure of Sponsors to comply with any provision of these Official Rules due to an act of God, hurricane, war, fire, riot, earthquake, terrorism, act of public enemies, actions of governmental authorities outside of the control of Sponsors (excepting compliance with applicable codes and regulations), or other “force majeure” event will not be considered a breach of these Official Rules. Released Parties assume no responsibility for any injury or damage to entrants’ or to any other person’s computer relating to or resulting from entering or downloading materials or software in connection with the Contest. Released Parties are not responsible for telecommunications, network, electronic, technical, or computer failures of any kind; for inaccurate transcription of entry information; for errors in any promotional or marketing materials or in these Official Rules; for any human or electronic error; or for entries that are stolen, misdirected, garbled, delayed, lost, late, damaged, or returned. Sponsors reserve the right to cancel, modify, or suspend the Contest or any element thereof (including, without limitation, these Official Rules) without notice in any manner and for any reason (including, without limitation, in the event of any unanticipated occurrence that is not fully addressed in these Official Rules). In the event of cancellation, modification, or suspension, Sponsors reserve the right to select Winners from among all eligible, non-suspect entries received prior to the time of the event warranting such cancellation, modification, or suspension based on the Judging Criteria above. Notice of such cancellation, modification, or suspension will be posted at Website. Sponsors may prohibit any entrant or potential entrant from participating in the Contest, if such entrant or potential entrant shows a disregard for these Official Rules; acts with an intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any other entrant, Sponsors, or Sponsors’ agents or representatives; or behaves in any other disruptive manner (as determined by Sponsors in their sole discretion).
DISPUTES: THE CONTEST IS GOVERNED BY, AND WILL BE CONSTRUED IN ACCORDANCE WITH, THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, AND THE FORUM AND VENUE FOR ANY DISPUTE SHALL BE IN NEW YORK, NEW YORK. IF THE CONTROVERSY OR CLAIM IS NOT OTHERWISE RESOLVED THROUGH DIRECT DISCUSSIONS OR MEDIATION, IT SHALL THEN BE RESOLVED BY FINAL AND BINDING ARBITRATION ADMINISTERED BY JUDICIAL ARBITRATION AND MEDIATION SERVICES, INC., IN ACCORDANCE WITH ITS STREAMLINED ARBITRATION RULES AND PROCEDURES OR SUBSEQUENT VERSIONS THEREOF (“JAMS RULES”). THE JAMS RULES FOR SELECTION OF AN ARBITRATOR SHALL BE FOLLOWED, EXCEPT THAT THE ARBITRATOR SHALL BE EXPERIENCED AND LICENSED TO PRACTICE LAW IN NEW YORK. ALL PROCEEDINGS BROUGHT PURSUANT TO THIS PARAGRAPH WILL BE CONDUCTED IN THE COUNTY OF NEW YORK. THE REMEDY FOR ANY CLAIM SHALL BE LIMITED TO ACTUAL DAMAGES, AND IN NO EVENT SHALL ANY PARTY BE ENTITLED TO RECOVER PUNITIVE, EXEMPLARY, CONSEQUENTIAL, OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES, INCLUDING ATTORNEY’S FEES OR OTHER SUCH RELATED COSTS OF BRINGING A CLAIM, OR TO RESCIND THIS AGREEMENT OR SEEK INJUNCTIVE OR ANY OTHER EQUITABLE RELIEF.
WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT: For the names of the winners, available after September 9, 2011, visit EducationNation.com, or send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to be received by September 30, 2011 to: Teacher Essay Contest, NBC News, Attn: Education Nation, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112.
All statements and opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors, and not of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation or NBC News.