100% Success in Exams vs the Joy of Teaching


The results are coming out tomorrow. We know this for sure. A message was sent. The night is going to be long and stressful. Will everybody have passed? And if not, what does this mean for me as a teacher? At 4am the results were out and yes everybody had passed.

This was also the question every student asked me. “Did everyone pass?” What a daunting question. The equation of 100% success with success. Success of course is something relevant. It depends on the kind of test the students have taken. A B2 or C2 certification varies in difficulty depending on the exam you have taken and the score the student achieves. The endgame of 100% success is a roller coaster ride that may deprive students and teachers from the true essence of education- which is learning, exploring, using your imagination. Benjamin Franklin has articulated it best “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement and success have no meaning”.

Text by: Dimitra Dougekou

Bombarding the social media with 100% success in exams is what happens next.  We feel that this is the way to prove our worth. But let’s ponder about it. Is 100% success achievable every year? And if it is, does it define our success as a school, as teachers? Is it really the exams rate that we want to be remembered for?

Personally no! For me success is bonding with students and seeing them become competent users not only of the English language but of a new way of thinking and behaving. I want children coming to my school and say “ I went to my English school today and I felt happy, successful, independent, excited”.

My magic moments this year were seeing shy students stand up and perform. It was the moments that we shared trying to analyse the characters’ motives and trying Drama activities where students had to express themselves, stand up for their beliefs, talk about their life, their dreams. It was when as a team they tried to solve the mystery of the death of Goldilocks. It was when they had to cope with losing because we played so many games and we all know that in every game one team wins and one loses. It was when all students cooked and organised a charity bazaar for helping stray cats. It was when they gave a speech about the Greek educational system and when they performed “Tempi: Don't let their crime be forgotten” in front of a big audience. It was when we laughed and cried in the classroom when we read and performed different stories.

And yes! These are the moments my students keep in their hearts. It's also true what if you love what you do, if you have a good time and if you practise the language meaningfully most probably you will pass the exams, too. And if you don't, it is nice to know that there is always someone there who believes in you and will help you continue the journey and give the exams again.

This is life, right?

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

Are there second chances? Sure there are!

What you share and how you feel as you are learning (and as you are teaching) is what really matters. The certification will come sooner or later and trust me when you love what you do it will come sooner!


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