How Do You Know?

Educators are so lucky for so many reasons. One of the main reasons teaching is such a great profession is that we get to see the fruit of our labor. On a daily basis we get to see all of our work matter.

Teachers plan lessons they hope will inspire even the most reticent learner. We want our kids to want to learn because we make the information so interesting, so compelling that they just have to be a part of the process. We want them active and involved. We want them asking questions, researching, and engaged. When they are… When we feel their excitement… When they complete a fantastic research paper, when they create an amazing visual project, and when they get with a group of other students to create an amazing presentation…we as teachers are rewarded. We can feel our success in their success. We can be proud because they are proud. We can feel inspired because we know that we did the inspiring.

Some educators have difficult classes. If you’re a teacher you know what I mean. Some classes challenge even the most dedicated professional educators. There are some years you just have to plod through. No matter how unique your lessons are, no matter how diverse your strategies appear, you just can’t seem to capture their minds. They just never quite lose themselves in the joy of learning. You feel like your year stretches out for decades. Many have these types of classes many times.


All of a sudden you hear a story about one of your most challenging students; that student who wouldn’t sit still; that child that just did not want to do any of your projects; the one that fought you every time you tried something new. Well it appears that the following year, that child is doing really well. All of the little things you would not budge on…neat penmanship, high quality work, turning in assignments on time, insisting on class participation, teamwork, and kindness; all of these things, finally that kid is doing. You start hearing that he’s the star of the class, she’s a leader, and he’s a wonderful upper class mentor. What the heck???? Then you see that student. He runs over to you all smiles. She is so happy to see you that she throws her arms around you, and he invites you to a major life event. And then he says, “You know…every time I go to write a paper, I ask myself what you would expect me to do.” She says, “Every time my friends want me to do something stupid, I remember what you said.” And he says, “I would never have made it if you hadn’t loved me even though I know I was a pain in the neck.”

Then you know.

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