Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Reflective Teaching: Day 9, Unknown Accomplishments

Day 9--Write about one of your biggest accomplishments in your teaching that no one knows about (or may not care).

One of my biggest accomplishments in my teaching that no one knows about?  I don't know.  I tend to be a blabbermouth about my accomplishments and blow my own horn constantly.

Just kidding.  Mostly.

I think of teaching as building cathedrals (hence the title of my blog and my profile information).  In my debut blog post I talk about my educational philosophy (click here to read it).  I believe that each teacher does so much that goes under the radar.  Just like the woodcarver I mentioned in that post, we teachers do so much that no one ever sees.  He carved wonders that only God would ever see; we spend hours grading, giving feedback, planning for lessons, going to workshops, and more that no one ever knows about.

In addition to all that work that goes, often, unappreciated and underfunded, we accomplish miracles in the lives of our students that may never be acknowledged by anyone.  That one student who finally turns in his work without having to be told (this time... you spent all year nagging...er...working on that skill); the shy student with social anxiety who gives a speech after months of encouragement; the kids who frustrate you all year because they "don't get it" turn out a stellar performance on the State Tests--all these are examples of the marvels that teachers accomplish but do not always get recognized about.

Sometimes the miracle is that we don't strangle that kid who constantly pushes our buttons.  Or maybe it's that we manage to get the students to get work done the day before a holiday.  Or perhaps the great accomplishment is that we are able to make it through a day when we're really not feeling well.  Maybe our accomplishment today is that we were able to stay just that much ahead of our students to make it look as though we really did know what we were talking about.

We do so much that goes unnoticed, intentionally, not necessarily because people do not want to acknowledge us or our work.  If we do our jobs correctly, lesson plans run smoothly, classroom management is seamless, and the day runs like a well-oiled machine.  Our jobs SHOULD look deceptively easy to the person looking from the outside in.  Those of us in the teaching community know that we live in glass houses, and our own particular fishbowl gets a lot of attention when things go wrong.  This is the very reason we attempt to make our daily miracles look mundane.

So, my biggest accomplishment?  I'm not going to tell.  On purpose.

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