Secret Teacher: let the government think I’m a failure, I’ve got my own success criteria

After being turned down for a pay rise under performance related pay, the latest Secret Teacher, writing in the Guardian, decided to develop his/her own success criteria.

…I realised I needed to find my own measures of success to bring back my faith in my own capability and restore my love for my work. I will always fail to understand the measures of success that our government and schools use because they do not take into account some of the most important aspects of my job. So, here is my criteria. I am successful at my job when:

  • My students understand the complex material that I present to them in class.
  • I can excite students about a topic they have never given a second thought to before.
  • Students question what I am telling them.
  • Students leave my classroom discussing what they have learned with me.
  • Students in my classroom are happy and laughing together, not at each other.
  • A student feels safe to express themselves freely in my classroom.
  • I see my students supporting one another with their work.
  • A student is proud of the progress they have made.
  • I can comfort, support and get a smile out of a student going through the most traumatic of life experiences at too young an age.
  • I instil confidence and self-esteem in the most fragile and vulnerable of my students.
  • My students feel successful.

My own measures of success are based on my students because they are why I do this job and why I still love it. These measures are difficult to remember in an environment consumed by data, paperwork, observations, inspections and unrealistic expectations, but they were well worth writing down. I would encourage any teacher to do the same…

More at: Secret Teacher: let the government think I’m a failure, I’ve got my own success criteria


In the full article the Secret Teacher reveals they did get the pay rise in the end, but what do you think of the 11 criteria they suggest above?

Anything you would add?

Please share in the comments or via Twitter…

Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or  just someone who cares about education and has something to get off  your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.

Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.

We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!


GCSE pupils to be taught that the nation's earliest inhabitants were Africans
School threatens teenager with exclusion if he doesn't change this hairstyle
Categories: Teaching.


  1. Johnthe14th

    SchoolsImprove What a great teacher! Should be given a high position in teacher training to counteract the brain dead lefties.

  2. MyAuntyDoodoo

    SchoolsImprove I agree with article but performance management is demoralizing & at end of the day, we have mortgages and bills to pay.

Let us know what you think...