• GradHacker

    A Blog from GradHacker and MATRIX: The Center for Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences Online


Celebrate Classroom Success

Take time to reflect.

June 13, 2017

Anne Guarnera recently received her PhD in Spanish from the University of Virginia. You can find her discussing teaching and learning on Twitter as @aguarnera and learn more about her work on her website.




Adios, spring semester—another academic year has come to a close.


Whether you’re finishing your first year of teaching or your fifth, I hope that you are ending on a high note, feeling productive and satisfied with your performance in the classroom. Even if the year wasn’t perfect, it is still worthwhile to step back and consider your teaching successes. While I’ve written before on reflective teaching practices and how they can improve your pedagogy, reflective teaching can also help you celebrate what went well and help you carry your classroom wins forward to future semesters.


Here are some easy ways to do just that:


1. Create a “feel-good” teaching file. In her article on treating the tenure track like a seven-year postdoc, Radhika Nagpal argued for creating an e-mail file to store all of your feel-good messages such as journal acceptances, praise from grant committees, or encouraging e-mails from colleagues. Why not create the same kind of file for your teaching? Keep positive messages from past students or summarize the best feedback from your end-of-semester evaluations and send it to yourself. Then when you have a rough teaching day in the future, encouragement (and some perspective) will only be a click away.  


2. Treat yo’ teacher self. Why not keep the good times rolling and reward yourself with something to support your future teaching? Here are some ideas:

  • A clicker to improve your classroom slide presentations (so much better than awkwardly hovering over the space bar!)
  • A consultation with an academic consulting service (such as The Professor is In) on your teaching statement
  • An online course to learn new software or skills that you can use in your teaching (see: this class on public speaking, this class on Articulate Storyline, this class on productivity)
  • A really nice set of pens, which you may/may not use in your teaching journal or #bujo


3. Harness your current momentum for next semester.

Write down the top three things that went well in your classroom this semester. Then, make a note to your future self in iCal or your paper planner about how to replicate these same successes next semester. Refer to your “big wins” when planning your courses for the summer or fall and see if you can incorporate the same techniques, skills, or lessons into your new classes.


What were your big classroom successes this year? What are you doing to celebrate them?


[Image provided by Flickr user CODnewsroom and used under a Creative Commons license]

Share Article


Anne Guarnera

Back to Top