Somehow or other I keep coming back to this question.
As a parent, it was hard to accept that my children's failures and mistakes and even their successes as they got older were their own, rather than a reflection on me and my parenting. I remember when my oldest daughter decided at 17 to take the GED. I had a hard time accepting that it was OK -- good even. I was worried about how it would look, what people would think about me. Fortunatley, I have pretty much gotten past that.
But now I find myself asking the same question as a teacher. Are the mistakes of my students a reflection on me and my teaching?
In a comment to my previous post, Bronwyn indicated that they are. In the not-too-distant past I would have agreed with her; I felt that if my students appeared to be less than perfect, it somehow meant I was not a "good" teacher. But now I have to say that I don't agree.
My students, all learning English as adults, make mistakes in their writing. Those mistakes are probably a reflection of what they have not mastered yet, but they may not reflect at all what they have been taught and taught well. Learning a second language is not a matter of being exposed to the "right" way to do things in English and then being able to do it consistently. This is especially true when it comes to writing. I expect them to make mistakes. And I don't think it means I am a bad teacher when they do.
I would really appreciate hearing what others of you think about this. Obviously, despite what I have written here, I am still somewhat conflicted.