Monday, March 24, 2014

Missing the Celebrations and Successes in the Educational Landscape


Tonight was parent/teacher/student interviews. In between one interview and while awaiting the next, a parent of a past student came over and just had to thank me. I had taught her daughter five years ago in Year 8 and she was now in Year 12. The mother said that her daughter had asked her to thank me for challenging her all those years ago and that she was glad about it now.

It is not very often that you receive thanks in the teaching caper. Even more so when you work in administration. I believe that this is one of the most challenging aspects of education. Teachers are so often told when they have failed or should do something different. Very rarely do teachers get told what they have done right and if so, such celebrations often deny the complexities associated with such achievements. For example, the teachers of the dux of Year 12 may take some of the credit, but this denies so many other factors and influences, such as support from home and the effort of former teachers in laying the foundation for learning.

What makes student's thanks even stranger is that at the time I was chastised about what I was doing. The class had quite a few successful students who were not really taking to the idea of writing an essay with a prescribed structure. So instead I pushed the students to explore the structure that already existed within quality examples of writing. This was contrary to what the other classes were doing, but having tried everything else, I felt that it was what the students needed.

The reality is that this is the truth of celebrations and success. Although there are times in life when we do get to gape in the glory, but more often than not, stories of success go untold. This is not to say that they do not exist, but that life just doesn't always allow for them to be heard. Sometimes this is because they only come to fruition years later or we become too busy to tell someone.

Has someone thanked you lately for something that you that others were critical of? Also, when was the last time you thanked someone for what they had done?