Kevin A. Ryan, founder of Boston University’s Center for the Advancement of Ethics and Character, lists the “four stages of teaching” as Fantasy, Survival, Mastery, and Impact. Insight into all the stages is useful for a teacher at any stage.
Too many teachers, disillusioned after losing the Fantasy stage, never grow beyond Survival. The hard truth that teaching isn’t easy proves too much to accept. Thoughts of progress are buried under the frustration of endless “coping,” and creative energy is spent on self-pity.
Truly committed teachers, however, are resilient and ever-growing. To them, a tough day is more than an endurance test; it’s a tool for learning and moving forward. And move forward they do—into the Mastery stage of teaching, which is characterized by a strong sense of responsibility and a passion for the work. One secret of Mastery-level teachers is that they never forget learning is for them as well as for their students.
Tips for Mastering the Mastery Stage