Before starting teaching, I was told by a number of people in the profession that “It’s the little wins that makes teaching so special”; this is the reason why, as many have quoted to me, they love the job. Today, I was fortunate enough to have two of them.
The first came towards the start of the day, during one of my more difficult classes. In this class, I often feel like it is a battle to get some students to open their book, let alone complete the assigned work. Homework completion is patchy at best. The class is dominated by boys, and includes a well-intentioned but disruptive and easily distracted group of five. At the end of today’s class, one of these boys came up to me to chat about the work currently being done. Of his own accord, he told me that would like to be doing more textbook work, and in fact, would like me to set some more work for him to go on with at home.
The second moment of celebration came prior to the start of another class. Chatting to the students outside the classroom, I asked them what they had learnt in yesterday’s class. I had been out visiting another school for the day, so the lesson was taken by a casual relief teacher (CRT). While the responses produced from some students was in no way worthy of celebration, two students stepped forward and handed me hand-written and signed notes. In these, the students apologised for not completing the assigned work on stem-and-leaf plots (“pea pods or whatever they are”) from the previous day, as they – and the CRT – did not understand the activity. Instead, as their notes explained, the two students went on with textbook work, Mathletics and maths games.
While there is still much I have to learn in this profession, these small wins have given me optimism that I’m stepping in the right direction.