I was asked the other day,
What’s the highlight of your teaching career, Joanna?
and that question was quite difficult to answer because it made me wonder
what is the highlight?
the best or most exciting, entertaining, or interesting part of something
Cambridge online ddictionary
Exciting? Entertaining? Interesting? Hmmmm.
So, for a teacher, what is considered a highlight?
Is it getting a promotion? Yes? No? I ask….what’s a promotion? Is the best case scenario becoming a principal at a school? Maybe becoming the Prime Minister of Canada? Is it becoming teacher of the year? How many steps does the career ladder of a teacher have?
Is it gaining degrees and diplomas? Becoming the best you can become because of your education?
Being acknowledged, respected by your peers?
Going to conferences? Presenting at conferences? Being invited to conferences?
Owning your own ELT business?
Is it writing articles? Getting published? Writing a book that people actually read? Seeing your book quoted somewhere?
Maybe it has nothing to do with the career. Maybe it’s a feeling.
Can a highlight just simply be getting out of your rut, avoiding burnout, and feeling like a super hero every time you walk into the classroom? Having the ‘energy’ to keep going on. Having the strength to keep trying even though you are underpaid and not appreciated.
Is it feeling like you had a very productive day with a very challenging class?
Is it being creative? Making something? Sharing something? Having a zillion
Is it inspiring learners? Making a kid say,
I want to become a teacher because of you.
Is it seeing your work… ‘work’? I mean, witnessing a child or adult acquiring knowledge? Using a language? Having the chance to experience things in another language? Opening doors to a whole new world?
Is it when your kids make you a card or stay in touch even though you haven’t seen them for 10 years?!
What exactly is a highlight for a teacher?
Probably all the above.
That’s a very difficult question to answer because I cannot put my finger on just one thing. I felt extremely happy when I realised that one of my kids ‘got it’ or when I saw another kid be able to express himself in English and thought to myself, “Hey! I helped make that happen”. I also felt very good about myself when I got to teach academic English at a university in the UK. I have managed to educate myself quite a bit. So, as I said, I don’t really think I can mention just one thing. It’s not just one thing…………………
I also think that there are many more ‘highlights’ ahead.
So, how do you measure success?
Till next time…
Hiya. Caught me in an odd mood about teaching, teaching organisations and such. I’d say the highlight was finding out that I have agency to do as *I* see fit and that I’m not beholden to teach as a senior manager sees fit because I can leave jobs or I can pay lip service and continue to do what’s best for my learners and not follow silly short-term business thinking.
LikeLiked by 5 people
I agree with you that there are so many possible highlights. Mine is probably also seeing my students ‘get it’, especially the first time it ever happened, when I was 19 and on my gap year. I already knew I wanted to be a teacher, but that probably cemented the decision. 🙂
LikeLiked by 3 people
I did find it initially interesting that all the possibilities for highlights didn’t involve any actual teaching, but things teachers do outside of teaching itself… but then you ended with your ‘got it’ moment included. I imagine many people would choose something that happened within their careers so far, but were not actually part of their in-class experiences. What does that say? 🙂
LikeLiked by 2 people
My highlight will probably always be the first time teaching teenagers on a summer activity language course and being told it would be unrealistic to do a movie option with low level learners (A1/A2) in the time allowed. Buoyed by having just passed the Celta, I felt inspired and was flying on that course. As a first experience of using film and English as a Lingua Franca, it was great. I’m not sure it was about the students ‘getting it’. I couldn’t even say they learned much English. But it ticked all the boxes for the course requirements, namely that it should be fun. http://bit.ly/2lESJpq