Sunday, September 25, 2011

Let's Evaluate "Success"

From an early age I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to teach, and I wanted to teach young children.  I've always had a passion for helping people and I've always felt the need to be a leader.  Now, looking back now on all my accomplishments I realize how many times I failed. I am thankful, though, that I've never let that stop me from chasing what I was made to do. Too often people are intimidated by failure. It's the worst thing that can happen, right? Wrong, and this idea of failure got me thinking of success. How does one become successful? What or who determines whether or not you are successful?

I am currently a junior education major at the University of Northern Iowa, which has an excellent program for education. If I had to be honest, though, I have second guessed my ability to be an effective teacher countless times. I think that when you're talking about something you're extremely passionate about, like teaching, then at some point you're going to doubt your chances of success. That idea got me thinking, too. Everyone doubts their ability at some point. UNI is preparing me with an abundance of resources, rewarding field experiences, and challenging courses. Studying among some of the most intelligent, confident, and driven people I've met, it almost wouldn't be right not to assess my own abilities. One of the steps to success is failure.  It's going to happen at some point, but if teaching is something I've always wanted to do then how could I stop? I won't and I'm going to work hard to make it happen. I know that success can only be achieved if you work through the doubt, work through the failure, then make something of yourself. 

Check out this video by Richard St. John about the 8 secrets to success. 

Doesn't this inspire you? Doesn't this make you feel so much better about your chances of success? The key is that you can't be afraid to chase your dreams. Let your ideas be heard. Persist through failure. Challenge yourself, and accept challenges from others. Stay focused. And most of all, love what you do.

Melissa Kelly published a post on sharing 6 keys of a successful teacher:

1. Have a sense of humor
2. Have a positive attitude
3. Set high expectations
4. Be consistent
5. Be fair
6. Be flexible

I would add a seventh, be passionate. If you love what you do then it isn't work!

Check out this video that I stumbled upon about what teachers make.

You see, to be a successful teacher it isn't about how much money you make. It's about having the passion, having the drive, having the desire to help other people succeed. Successful teachers are leaders who aren't interested in gaining more followers, but instead encouraging their students to become a leaders. I want to teach because to be successful all I have to do is be myself. 


  1. You have a great mentality when it comes to school and your future, it is truly refreshing.

    I like the perspective offered to those seeking to be millionaires in the video featuring Richard St. John. The first thing one needs to do while seeking their fortune, is to quit seeking their fortune! People earn their riches by providing a service or something of value to others, not by seeking ways to benefit themselves. In our society, I think a lot of people spend their energy trying to manipulate and control life's outcomes, instead of putting in the time and hard work.

    Most students will say they are pursuing a college degree so that they can make a decent living; wise college students are less concerned with making a living, and are more concerned with making a life.

  2. I loved the video about what teachers make. Everything is so true! My favorite part was about calling the parents at home. I'm not a current teacher, but I think we often forget about the kids who are "good." Most kids just blend in the entire day, it is important to send a note home or give the parents a call about their "just ok" student doing something special or thank them for being so consistent and dependable.
    Your title is also really interesting to me. I am excited about evaluating success. Success to me is different than to you. That's great! You may try using a neat iPad app in your class and it will work ok; not great--doesn't mean that you failed. I can use the same app and it could work out great, but the students didn't learn as much as I planned--you might call that a success, but would I? It is all so relative, and the important thing is to be consistent and flexible, learning to adapt in our classrooms will be a great trait to learn...and a success?