When we use the words "pride and joy" we are referring to the children we parent, not the ones we teach. However, in terms of my teaching career, my pride and joy are my students. They are the focus of my profession and their successes bring me a great deal of pride and joy. Furthermore, as an ESL teacher, their success outside of my classroom (social, academic and extracurricular) is what determines if what goes on in my classroom is truly effective. When they earn high marks in core academic classes, when they can successfully give an oral presentation in front of their native English speaking peers, when they are able to obtain that sought after job, when they are honored with an award or even when they are gaining new friendships, they are making progress in English and they make me extremely proud.
So what am I most proud of to date in my teaching career? While I am certainly proud of my accomplishments and growth as an educator, my greatest pride and the source of my joy comes from my students. My career is not about me, not about my skills or abilities, not about my professional development. It is not about my performance as a teacher or how well I collaborate with my peers. My profession is about those young people who I'm honored to teach as they embark on their life journey. While we work hard to achieve passing scores and quantifiable growth, there is so much more that goes on in our class and all of it makes me proud and brings me immeasurable joy.
In a nutshell, I'm proud of being a student-centered educator who teaches much more than English, but addresses the needs of the whole student.