A few days ago my husband and I were talking about what constitutes tangible success in the field of education. He noted that being an educator isn’t like being a carpenter, where you start out with a pile of wood and end up with a cabinet. I told him that I felt like I could see tangible success in my middle school students, but had trouble giving him an example at the time.
But, I was thinking about it now! And as often happens, once it was on my mind it didn’t take me very long to find examples of how I measure success in my classroom.
1. A classroom where questions are welcome.
I got an email from a former student asking me to answer a question for her. I felt flattered that she though of me when she needed an answer. It’s July, and we have been away from school for 2 months. On top of that, each student at my middle school sees 8 teachers in a day. It felt like a teaching success that when this student had a question and needed to think of someone who would be willing to answer it, she thought of me. It’s a teaching success to me to create an environment where my students know that questions are welcome.
2. A classroom where the students feel loved.
The family of a former student visited my church yesterday. I have had the oldest son in class for the past 2 years, and he is headed to high school on a few weeks. His younger sister will begin middle school this year. They sat in the pew in front of with their mother, and I was chatting with her. I said, “I loved having your son in class.” He turned around and said, “What?” I looked at him and said, “I loved having you in class.” He smiled and said, “I love you too,” and turned back around. A few minutes later while we were singing a hymn, his sister shyly turned and around and said, “I hope I have you in class.” Both kids filled my heart. The ultimate teaching success is knowing that in my classroom students feel loved.