This week, I have been thinking SO much about how as educators, we often find ourselves so focused on curriculum, assessment, meetings and report writing… it’s easy to forget to take a step back and see that we are in fact a successful teacher!
I know for a FACT that every single one of your students have come so far over the last two terms. For some of your students, this will be in the academic space – where you have seen them learn SO much and develop incredibly in your classroom. For other students, it’s more personal – you’ve seen huge progress in behaviour or a massive increase in their self confidence.
Whilst the busyness of Term 2 can really rob us of seeing our success as teachers…so can COMPARISON!! Sometimes, that gut wrenching feeling of failure comes from seeing everyone’s picture perfect classrooms on Instagram. Other times, it’s comparising ourselves to other teachers when proofreading their reports. After all, this is when we really see how much another teacher’s students have progressed. It is so true that comparison is the thief of joy. I know for me personally, I can get so swept up in comparing myself to what everyone else is doing that I can no longer see what I have achieved.
So today I want to share with you a few ways to reflect on how much your students have grown and how successful you are as a teacher.
#1. Redefine what it means to be a Successful Teacher
While we’re assessing students and writing reports, it’s easy to get fixated on measuring our success as a teacher based simply on the numbers on our students’ report cards. So I want to remind you that while this is a measure of how you’re doing as their teacher… it is just ONE!
For me personally, my success is about much more than that. When I have a classroom full of children in my care for a year, I am committed to impacting the lives of these students and our shared future. So I feel affirmed in my role as teacher in a number of ways. I feel a sense of accomplishment when:
My students grow in confidence
The children feel excited about learning
The class celebrates each other achieving their learning goals
Kids have those “ah ha” lightbulb moments
I see a child from a difficult home life smile for the first time
I receive affirmation from parents, colleagues and the school
Students go up a reading level or solve a maths problem for the first time
The kids and I are having fun together!
Behaviour issues are managed well, or are even non-existent
Parents tell me they notice their kids reading better at home
I can see I’m making a difference in my students’ lives
These are just some of the measures of a successful teacher and there are many more! So… I would LOVE for you to find five minutes in your day, make yourself a cuppa, sit down with this list and have a think about where you’ve seen that happen in your classroom this year. When you’ve done that… prepare to be blown away by how much growth you’ve seen in your students this year. And it’s because of YOU!!! This is what success looks like.
#2. Remember how far your students have come
Some of you might be thinking…that’s all good and well, but what about learning objectives?! The important thing about using learning objectives to measure your success as a teacher is to not just look at what your student has achieved, but how far they have come!
Sometimes we can look at where our students have landed and feel like it doesn’t reflect how much you’ve taught them… because so often it doesn’t! We’ve all taught students we’ve needed to spend time revising basic principles that they just didn’t grasp. So when you’re looking at the learning objectives, remember that not all of your students started from the same baseline. You’ve probably traversed more ground than you remember!
#teachertip If you need to remember just how far your students have come:
Grab one of their writing books and compare it to one from beginning of the year (or flip to the first page of the book)
Compare their first Running Record from Term 1 with their most recent one
Remember all those moments you celebrated your students progressing through their learning goals
Read their gorgeous stories from your Narrative or Non-Fiction units
Now celebrate those successes and how far your students have come because you’ve done a frickin awesome job!!!
#3. successful teacher: Reflect on your WHY!
Lastly, another great way to help you view yourself as a successful teacher is to remember WHY you became a teacher in the first place. Was it… to create a positive learning environment for children? To raise the next generation of leaders that will shape our world? Perhaps to bring light into children’s lives? And to teach children that everyone is good at something and to help them find what that is?
#teachertip Each of us was drawn to teaching for a different reason and I encourage you to think back to your why. Then find a way to remind yourself that you are ACHIEVING your why!! Find a card a student has written to you that just melted your heart. Remember that parent who came to you crying because of how much their child has flourished under your care. Recall that moment when something happened and you said to yourself, “This is why I became a teacher!!”
Let that be your measure of success!
This blog post is part of the Acing Assessment journey where I have been sharing helpful resources, tips and advice. My #1 Resource to support you in this journey is my Acing Assessment Bundle!
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