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.
The teacher who reaches Impact level has largely fulfilled the Fantasy-stage dream—tempering it with experience and sound judgment. This is the teacher whose class all the best students want to be in, the teacher who stands out as not only effective but exceptional. Impactful teachers are full of energy, never lack for original ideas, and can engage almost anyone’s full attention. They love their work, and students love learning from them.
That isn’t to say such a teacher enjoys a problem-free career. There are still days when bad weather snarls up the commute or the DVD projector fails. Occasionally, there’s a serious problem: parents who complain about “abuse” because a teacher had the audacity to ask their spoiled kid to sit down, or an administrator who judges all teachers by how exactly they follow some outdated by-the-book regimen. But Impact-stage teachers know how to let minor annoyances roll off their backs, and how to deal effectively with tough problems. Teaching, with all its ups and downs, is something they couldn’t not do.
Tips for Making the Impact Stage Last