As a future educator, what I want my students to take out of my classroom isn’t only the content; in fact, I would say content comes second. I want my students to learn their own value and the value of their work; I want them to know that what they create and what they think matters; I want them to act on the world, not just exist in it; and I want them to fall in love with learning. We all had teachers that did these things for us, and exceptionally so, otherwise we wouldn’t be here; we all aspire to be the teachers that inspired us to teach in the first place.
So, overall, it’s not super important to me if my students ‘liked’ the Scarlet Letter or remember the correct use of who vs. whom 20 years after they graduate (though I know content is obviously a focus). What matters to me is that my students know their worth, feel valued and respected in the classroom, have or gain the confidence to share their ideas, and know that the only way they will ever be able to effectively advocate for themselves is through education; and, of course, find some value in reading and writing both in and outside my English class.
If I can accomplish these things, I will consider myself a successful teacher for my students (even if Hamlet becomes a study that they used to know).