The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

The Joy of Success

We did it! For months, my class has struggled to meet hallway expectations and to have other teachers notice them doing what they are expected to do. After all week after week and week of struggling to earn enough tickets to fly our Wiley flag, and after a week of earning a measly eight tickets, they set a goal: seventy-five tickets in one week.

We knew that other classes had earned dozens of tickets in a week. We knew that it was possible that another class would earn more than we would. But that didn’t stop them from trying. Each day we would count our tickets and recorded them on the whiteboard. Yesterday afternoon, just as we were getting to the last few minutes of the day, we had seventy-one tickets. I was hoping that my students would somehow get the last few they needed to reach their goal. And on the way out for afternoon recess, they did it! They reached their goal!

The class celebrated their victory and then looked forward to hearing our class announced in the morning.

Alas, no such announcement came; another class had apparently beaten us. My students were sorely disappointed, but I reminded them that they had achieved an amazing success: they had set a goal to earn more than twice as many tickets as they had on their best week, and more than nine times the number of tickets they’d received last week. I praised them for their hard work and dedication. I also pointed out that there will be many times throughout their lives that they will do all they can to accomplish something, but someone else may still do even better. But that doesn’t take away from their own personal success. That’s what I wanted my class to realise and to celebrate. I wanted them to know the joy of success in the face of great odds.

Then the teacher in charge of counting tickets came in and asked me how many my class had won. I told her that we had earned seventy-five. She then informed me that that meant we had tied the top class! There must have been an error in the final count. She told the class, and they cheered. We will get to fly the “bling flag” next. We will also have a class picture taken and join the other classrooms that have been hallway champions.

What a great way to end a great week!

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