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…