Professional Learning

Edutopia Community: The Triumph of Small Victories

We asked the Edutopia community about their small victories in the classroom, and this is what they shared. 

May 4, 2016
Photo credit: Innisfree Hotels via flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Aside from their love for their students and their love of learning, what keeps teachers doing the tough job of teaching? In part, it’s those slight -- or not so slight -- accomplishments throughout their day.

It could be that moment when your student comprehends something that has been perplexing throughout a unit of study, or when you’ve finally mastered -- sort of -- that online attendance program your school district adopted this year. Who knows! The zany, spontaneous, anything-can-happen daily adventure of a teacher is anything but dull. It’s not a job for those looking for predictability, nor is it very rewarding for those who overlook the little leaps that are made each day in the classroom.

As educators, not only is it important to reflect on our own day-to-day accomplishments, we need to do so with our colleagues and communities as well. We asked the Edutopia community to share their small wins, and we gathered some of the favorite remarks. We invite you to add to the celebration by sharing a small victory -- or not so small -- in the comments section below.

A quote from teacher Meg Cernaro in white text against a light blue backdrop: 'My quietest student came up to me this week and said he loved being in this third grade classroom. Melted my heart.'

“A smile from a super, super quiet and shy seventh-grade student -- just this morning!” -- Kelly Leonard

“A special education student passed her division test!” -- Kristi Wl

A teacher quote: 'A conference with a student's father last night went great. He told me he has seen such an improvement in his son. He wakes up every morning super excited to come to school because of me.'

“I had a note left under my windshield wiper from a challenging student I had last year in the eighth grade that I went out of my way to help. He said he missed me as a teacher, but especially missed my video productions class. Made me feel better on a day I was feeling sick.” -- Spencer Folkerts

A teacher quote: 'Throughout last year, one student hid whenever I took a class picture. On the last day of school, he took a selfie of us. He had the biggest smile. The picture hangs on my wall to remind me that growth is not measured by tests!'

“A mostly non-verbal three-year-old clearly said, ‘rainbow’ today when I was reading the class a story with a rainbow in the illustration.” -- Cecelia Danziger

“A child who refused to come to school for a week due to anxiety promised me he'd come back to be in my class. He's been here for five days straight!" -- Megan Stoler Heng

A teacher quote: 'One of my lowest readers moved from a second grade to a fourth grade reading level with lots of hard work and determination! So proud of him!'

“A student passed a test and was so excited that she wanted to take it home and show her mom her accomplishment. I haven’t entered it in my grade book yet, but couldn't say no because she was so excited and proud of herself.” -- Tracey C Huffman

“I was gone for three days sick. I got hugs and happy smiles. It made me feel good!” -- Andy Thrush

A teacher quote: 'A parent who said her child just started reading for pleasure at home!'

“My students don't want to go to snack, lunch, or even home when I stop the novel at a cliffhanger.” -- Jeimy M. Gonzalez

A quote from a teacher: 'After swapping my role and letting my year six students be the teacher for some lessons, my students told me they have a whole new appreciation of what a teacher does.'

And C.j. Goin shared this: “I once heard it said, ‘It's not a teacher's job to save the world; a teacher's job is to make the world a little bit better place to live.’ If you accomplish that, you've succeeded.”

We couldn’t agree more. Thank you for all that you do in your classrooms each day. We look forward to hearing your stories.

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