In the words of actress, director, and civil rights activist of Maya Angelou:
People will forget what you said
People will forget what you did
But people will never forget how you made them feel
How will your students feel and view themselves after you have finished teaching them?
We tend to remember the extremes – the amazing and the horrible. If you think back to your childhood, it tends to be filled with these extremes. I remember the most horrific day of my schooling: Term 1, Year 4. I had a crush on a girl named Sarah. She had just arrived at our school, and within hours, I had had enough time to plot our future together and was convinced that she felt the same. The truth is, I doubt that she even knew of my existence. I only spoke one sentence to her. I asked her ‘Could I sit with you at lunch?’ To which, in front of all of my friends, she laughed and turned away. Looking back, that wasn’t such a big deal, but then, as a slightly chubby Year 4 student, I wished the world would have opened up and swallowed me whole. On the other extreme: the greatest day of my life was in Year 6 when I won a community award for my ‘engaging and entertaining’ acrostic poem on hot cross buns. Upon re-reading the poem many years later, I realised that there were a number of typos and strange rhyming sequences, including feast and treat, and Easter and minister.
If you’re reading this article I am going to assume that you want to leave a lasting teaching legacy.
- I want to be remembered as a teacher that made students feel as though they could achieve anything that they set their minds to.
- I want my students to leave my classroom with a sense of awe, wonder and appreciation for the world that they live in.
- I want my students to be passionate lifelong learners.
- I want my classroom to be a place where the words ‘hard’ ‘impossible’ and ‘boring’ are made redundant.
- I want my students to see themselves as active citizens of the world in which they live.
- I want my students to value individuality and value opinions that are different to their own.
One day your teaching time will come to an end. One day you will have taught your last lesson and all that will be left will be your teaching legacy.
How would you like to be remembered by your students?