For the month of April, I am participating in the Blog A Day Challenge for educators. All prompts are provided by Meredith Towne (@BklynMeredith), an educator from New York.

Today I am supposed to share a teaching win. Here’s the thing: I almost never feel like I have teaching wins–until my students leave.

Like the time I got an email over Winter Break one year from a student who had taken my Pop Culture class the semester prior: “Ms. Rowse–I just got back from seeing a movie with my friends and I noticed all kinds of product placement! I never would’ve without your class. Thank you for making me notice!”

Or this text from a student, in her sophomore year of college: “I should have listened more in pop culture and taken time to absorb the information you were trying to share. It’s taken a year of intense humanities classes to finally understand the lessons you continuously tried to teach in class.”

Or this, from another college sophomore: “Used Maslow’s Hierarchy in a paper today. You’re the best.”

My teaching win is two-fold: first, validation long after the fact that what I’m teaching is relevant, useful, and powerful for my students; second, that I develop strong enough relationships with them that a handful of students want to stay in touch after graduation and that they spontaneously let me know how my classes help them.

The cliches are so true, that teachers often never know that they have teaching “wins.” So I’m grateful for the former students who let me know that I do.

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