How to feel valued when no-one will give you accolades

Witnessing kids learn and grow is a joy and a privilege that all educators thrive on.

It nourishes us and proves to us our effectiveness as teachers.

But, by itself, it’s not enough.

We all like to feel valued, and we all need some positive reinforcement.

The trouble is, though, that we are far more likely to field complaints from concerned parents or to be given an increased workload from admin, than we are to be given credit for our efforts and for there to be a celebration of our successes.

Society says that we get our regular paycheck and our summer holidays and that that should be enough.

How, then, do we satisfy that inner part of ourselves that craves praise?

We need to change the lens through which we choose to see our day-to-day interactions and reframe them. To recognise what is truly being communicated, and to take the hint.

To look- really look- for acknowledgement. And to recognise it- even in the smallest of gestures and from the most unlikely of sources.

When a student from a previous class smiles at you on the playground, that is a gold medal for around your neck.

When a colleague comes to your room to debrief with you at the end of a long day, that is a compliment.

If a parent emails you with an anecdote about how their child “came home and told us all about what they’re learning in….”, that is a trophy for your cabinet.

When the deputy notices that display of work on your wall that students made with pride, that’s another scout badge to sew onto your uniform.

Teaching is hard. Take the wins when you can get them.

Notice when there are signs that show what you are doing is making a difference.

Pat yourself on the back. Pat hard, pat often, and mean it.

What we do matters. Even if we don’t hear it often enough.

Want to read more of my thoughts and ideas on all things teaching? Check out “A Teacher is like a Candle” on Facebook 🙂

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