Redefining Success – and Staying Optimistic

Sometimes we have to redefine success in our English language classrooms. Sometimes we disappoint ourselves, sometimes our ESL students disappoint us – and sometimes school administrators disappoint us. ESL and EFL teachers, often underpaid and overworked, have to deal with high expectations, numerous classroom frustrations, and stay focused on improving student skills.

Working with mixed levels and often difficult situations this summer, I’ve found myself falling back on a classic Winston Churchill quote. “Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Sometimes redefining success just means cultivating resilience, seeing new possibilities, and staying optimistic that tomorrow we will learn more and do better as teachers and students. Sometimes.

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  1. Very nice piece, exactly what I read blogs for.

    Another way of looking at it is “Did I at least cope better in that class/ school/ observation/ meeting with my DoS than I would have a year ago?”

  2. And sometimes it’s just about patience.

    Other times it’s just about our egos getting in the way of understanding what success really means.

    If there are no bad days we have no understanding or appreciation of what the good days are like.

    Thanks for sharing, Eric!


  3. Alex – Thanks for the kind comment and excellent question.



  4. Karenne – Good point!

    Patience remains an under-appreciated virtue, especially in the age of Twitter and instant email. Today was a really good day with beach walks, kayaking, and good talks… and a far cry from the difficult day when I wrote that post.

    Thanks for dropping by my still primitive blog!

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