A California Teacher of the Year serves as an ambassador of the profession. As such, the teacher articulates the many ways that teachers contribute to the profession. He or she conveys, both orally and in writing; in person and through various media, ideas on current issues and challenges that confront the profession. The teacher responds meaningfully, thoughtfully, and concisely to concerns raised in public forums -- concerns that range from specific (such as how to resolve a playground argument) to general statewide impact (such as credentialing requirements). The teacher may be asked to explain a specific program, instructional strategy, or activity that he or she has developed; how those efforts benefited students; and how the experiences might help other schools and teachers. A California Teacher of the Year may also be asked to conduct demonstration lessons or contribute to teacher recruitment efforts.
In past years, teachers have been called away from their classrooms for as many as 30 instructional days over a period of three to five years, and several days in following years. The employer of each California Teacher of the Year is responsible for any costs associated with necessary release time without adversely affecting the applicant's salary or benefits. In addition, the teacher will be expected to travel to Sacramento several times during the year of service and approximately 1-2 times a year for the next five years. The district or county will be expected to cover substitute teacher fees, as well as travel expenses, when necessary.
The teacher selected as the candidate to the National Teacher of the Year Program will attend a meeting in Arizona in January/February 2016. Airfare, lodging, and meals are provided for the meeting; however, a registration fee will be required of the district or county. The teacher's district or county is responsible for all travel costs associated with a special ceremony in Washington, D.C. in the spring. If selected as National Teacher of the Year, the candidate would be required to be out of the classroom for a year of service following the award year in order to meet a rigorous schedule consisting of interviews, site visits, speeches, and other presentations around the nation. The employer of the candidate selected as National Teacher of the Year would be responsible for any costs associated with necessary release time without adversely affecting the applicant's salary or benefits.