Certified Distinguished Stars

Tom Woodward:

Seriously. You can’t afford to be this naive any longer. That “award” certifying you as a really super X-brand teacher, that free conference registration- these are not things they do for you out of kindness1. This is for them. Every single bit of it, bought and paid for. Their return on investment is pre-calculated. If it didn’t make them money, they would not do it.

Posted from Phoenix in a hotel ballroom with other Apple Distinguished Educators while listening to Apple Retail Market Leader Christina Sanchez (Arizona / New Mexico) sell us on selling our students on a career selling Apple products.

About 
I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. More here.

15 Comments

  1. A bit harsh but not necessarily wrong. It is a tough thing to balance especially when you have to think of your skills as having some value that can/should be traded for. I think this is something I have to get better at.

  2. Jan van Hulzen

    July 21, 2011 - 2:11 am

    It would be interesting to study the relation between graduating with honors and the relation a person has with the institution grating the degree. It is the same as stating that your wife is the most beautiful person in the world. Everyone knows that objectivity is not the first word that springs to mind.

  3. Sadly this is true. I know of two people who were selected for ADE who don’t have classrooms and were selected solely on the basis of a business partnership between the university that they work for and their “relationship” with Apple.

  4. Woah, wait?!

    Apple trying to push educators to sell a career in retail as a sound life decision? Because we as educators should be encouraging our students to pursue menial jobs in which they will be required to work long hours in a position that requires very little skill, but demands you accept lots of punishment from the public. Is that right, or did I read your post wrong?

  5. The certified teacher awards remind me of the school and class Website awards that were popular in the late nineties.

    Personally, I’m an Target Elite Educator and Certified Tandy Dandy Teacher.

    Awesome teachers like me shop at Target and use Radio Shack electronics.

  6. Eric: Personally, I’m an Target Elite Educator and Certified Tandy Dandy Teacher.

    LOL’d in my pants right there.

    Ben: Because we as educators should be encouraging our students to pursue menial jobs in which they will be required to work long hours in a position that requires very little skill, but demands you accept lots of punishment from the public. Is that right, or did I read your post wrong?

    Well, I mean, you’re putting a lot of words in my mouth.

  7. A-freaking-men a hundred times.

    I am in education support, not the classroom, but Woodward’s comment about booth giveaways is certainly no different for us. A few months ago in New Orleans I declined a vendor’s offer to provide them with a ton of my contact information and detailed facts about my university’s current software needs so they could pitch tens of thousands of dollars worth of product to the decision maters. “Thanks, I have as many foam squeeze-balls as I need.”

    I am reminded of what’s become a very common phrase and is believed to have originated on Metafilter: “If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.” I’d modify that in this case to say that if you’re getting paid in ego strokes or equipment you couldn’t otherwise get then you’re being asked to be the shill.

  8. Marketing is certainly part of it; I’m fairly sure I have shifted hundreds of Macs for Apple prior to becoming an ADE, not counting institution purchases. But that doesn’t mean I’m not proud of it.

    The value is in the people you’ll meet, not the brand who is bringing them together.

    Me too.

  9. Dan, didn’t you apply for and receive that Apple Distinguished Educator award as well? I remember seeing a video you made that was intended for something like that. I’m not understanding a lot of this discussion, unfortunately, but I would really like to understand what your reaction is to the comment made at the beginning by Tom Woodward?

  10. I was an ADE in the 90’s and when I applied I did it because I believed in the vision that Apple had for education and that the tools they offered were the best ones for kids. I was chosen as an ADE (and in an excellent class of fellow ADE’s) and traveled widely to large events, presentations etc.

    I remember feeling uncomfortable with two things: 1) was I a pawn for their corporate mission and 2) how was I chosen.

    What I discovered was A) I want people to have and use and benefit from Apple products. I genuinely think they are terrific. I was willing to be an advocate for Apple because I think they have the best stuff… PERIOD. The ancillary gifts or tools that they offered were besid the point. So, if I was a pawn for them, so be it… we all pick our terms. I didn’t see myself as a pawn, but as an advocate for kids and teaching and learning and that, to me, Apple was the best thing for them. If that is naive, okay, fine. If folks genuinely think that things are calculated that way… I think I differ.

    B) I was chosen based on merit. Some folks were chosen to help business from the specific account or area they came from. Some were gifted teachers and administrators, some were gifted with political power to help Apple achieve their mission. One ADE was not the same as the other…

    Later I worked at Apple and advocated for people to become ADE’s and ALWAYS chose folks who I thought would inspire and advocate and be a great part of that community. The adult world is more complex than white hats vs. black hats… the really good guys are where you find them…sometimes they are working in classrooms as teachers, sometimes they are working for a corporation, sometimes they are across the counter…