Teaching is full of ups and downs: good days and bad days, activities that go exactly as you’d hoped and others that are just plain disaster, students that are motivated and others that couldn’t care less, parents that understand and others that never will… There are days when I wonder why I put so much time and effort into what I do when students don’t seem to care much and parents only want to complain about something. But there are other days (thankfully!) that completely offset those days of frustration. Sometimes it only takes just one fleeting moment to restore the balance in my teaching universe. The following is a list of things that make me smile and remind me why I do what I do:
–a six-year-old student who hugs me and tells me, ‘I love you!’ in English (there are a few in that class that do this daily!)
–hugs and more hugs from my little ones: they’re showing me that they value me and trust me
–when one of the four-year-olds gets impatient because the other students in front of him are taking too long and he says, ‘Let’s go!’ spontaneously in English
–students who try to ask me questions or tell me something in English without me having to remind them: young learners often don’t see the point in using English when they don’t have to so it’s nice to see them motivated
–when a student offers to help another student: I try to stress collaboration in the classroom and small gestures like this one really make my day
–when a student corrects another in a tactful and helpful way: certainly a special feat for young learners
–a student who normally hands in homework assignments and projects late if at all suddenly has three assignments ready to hand in
–while waiting in the playground before class, watching the five-year-olds invent and organize some sort of ball game: children’s creativity and social skills will never cease to amaze me
Reflection is an important part of teaching. It’s helpful to think back on a class and consider what went well, what needs to be changed and what we should never attempt again. I think we should also include those moments that make us smile. Those are the moments that keep the ups and down in check and make it all worthwhile.
Please share the things that make you smile with the rest of us.