To have pride or to be proud is a feeling or a sense of pleasure derived from your own achievements or the achievements of those who you are closely associated with.

I am proud of a lot of things and a lot of people. Everyday something will happen where I will feel a sense of pride for someone or for something they have achieved. Having someone say “I am proud of you” can make you feel on top of the world. So let people know how proud you are of them. You never know, you might make someone’s day, week, month or year. 

My friends make me proud on a daily basis. They have overcome some huge obstacles to achieve their goals emphatically. Through everything they have stayed so strong and are just truly amazing people and I am so lucky to have them. 

I am proud of my siblings. My brother is working for the NHS and is still pursuing his dream of moving to Canada to be a paramedic. My sister fulfilled her dream of getting a scholarship to play basketball in America and is currently living out that dream.

For the ultimate sense of pride, I need to look no further than the students I teach. They overcome adversity every single day to achieve greatness. We watch them develop and mature into wonderful young people. Next time you say to a child “I’m proud of you” – just look at their face light up. It genuinely means the world to them.

It is hard to think of just one moment in teaching where I can say that was my proudest moment so I picked a few out. In March 2019 I was in the middle of enjoying my chocolate cake and custard at lunch when the email came through – ‘BTEC exam grades’. I instantly froze. We were not expecting the results to come back so quickly. This class had worked so hard and deserved only the best. After a couple of deep breaths we opened the email. The results were our best ever. I was beaming from ear to ear. I remember spending the rest of lunch running around trying to find the students to tell them just how well they had done. One student was so proud of herself that she made me phone her parents right there and then. I had her mum on loudspeaker and to hear her mum tell her how proud she was of her was a moment I will not forget. It was a truly special moment. I was so proud of that entire class and I am so glad that they were proud of themselves. I cried a lot of happy tears that day.

At my first school, I had the privilege of teaching an exceptional young man and to this day I am proud of everything he has achieved. Midway through my first year of teaching, on a Wednesday evening, he was still in school. The school had been told he was being taken into care. For many, this would turn their world upside down. As a year 9 student he took it all in his stride. He worked harder than I’ve ever seen anyone work before. He was the most mature, genuine and polite young people I have ever taught and was an exemplary role model for his younger brothers. He continued to shine and excel. When he was in year 11 I asked him about his aspirations. He told me that he wanted to go to a Russell group university to study medicine. I knew he would achieve this and true to his word he did. With hard work, his dream became a reality. 

A couple of years ago, we entered our then year 8 girls into our first ever rugby tournament. A first for the girls and a first for the school. We went to enjoy it and to give the girls experience. We ended up winning it and becoming borough champions. They didn’t just manage this once. This year they completed the ‘3peat’. Champions of Newham 3 years in a row. This year, the current year 8s also became borough champions. To top all of this, the now year 10s managed to pick up the bronze medal at the London Youth Games. For 3 years they stuck together, worked hard and they reached their goal of getting a medal. These girls are truly amazing!

The final moment I want to reflect on, focuses on one of the funniest, smartest and bravest students I have taught. We were in the middle of a basketball game away at another school on a Friday afternoon. This student was always competitive but what I was witnessing was out of character for her. I remember subbing her out of the game. I sat her down on the bench next to me. I asked her if everything was ok because she just didn’t seem herself. She turned to me and just broke down. She told me that her cousin had unexpectedly passed away during the night. She had only come to school because she didn’t want to let me down or her teammates down. My heart broke for her. I was so proud of her. From that day on, she came to me every day to chat and talk about how she was feeling. Just before I left the school, she represented the school at the borough handball tournament and they became borough champions. She dedicated her medal to her cousin. She always said to me that he was the one who knew she would make it in sport. To see such a young girl, deal with such a tough time in such a wonderful way was a truly proud moment. I know she will go on to achieve greatness.

If after reading this, you don’t think that teaching is the best job in the world, then nothing ever will. The students we teach will always inspire us and make us proud beyond belief because more often than not, they are dealing with battles we have no idea about.

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