One of my earliest Facebook memories was receiving a friend request from a past student. A wonderful message followed thanking me for being the teacher I was. I won’t brag and go into details, but we don’t get this feedback often and when it comes it is treasured. It helps so much when we are beginning to doubt we are making a difference. And we all feel that from time to time.
It goes to the heart of every debate about assessment and outcomes in education. How do you measure a teacher’s performance when the results may not be fully known for decades, if ever. I don’t know much about the stock market, but the little I know convinces me that teachers are the only people who should invest in futures, and they do it every day in the classroom.Teachers are the only people who should invest in futures. Click To Tweet
This has been on my mind for the last few days following a replacement teaching day at the first school I ever taught in. It is a specialist school attached to the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) so tracking the alumni is a bit easier than in other places.
It was such a delight to see the adult musician or dancer who had grown out of that awkward Year 10 student from 20 years ago who did not want to do English any more than your average Year 10 student anywhere.
This is one of the things about Facebook that I really like. I have hundreds of past students now. They are hidden from my news feed or it would be overwhelming, but every now and then I can go have a peek at what they are up to and how they are travelling.
(Ethics alert – The rule has always been that they could not add me till either they graduated or I left the school. No exceptions.)
Every day of our teaching lives we sow seeds in young lives without knowing what will grow from them. In a less mobile era it was possible to keep track as students would often remain in the local community all their lives. Not so much anymore. I have past students living all over the world. So when I am wondering if I am making enough of a difference, I go and have a look at all the wonderful things they have done and am grateful that they want to be my friend on Facebook.
Do you have a way of keeping track of students? or
Is there a particular strategy you use to remind yourself that you are helping to make the world a better, smarter, kinder place, even if you don’t know it?
We would love to hear about it. Please pop on over to our Facebook page and share. Perhaps you can help another teacher get through the doubting times.
Till next time