Realizations of my first month of teaching:
Many of these epiphanies and revelations have been preached by education gurus for a long time… I’ve also added a few of my own:
- Planning sessions for class happen at my desk, but also at bookshops, in the daily news, memories from my past, stories people tell me, lessons that changed my own life!
- Structure, structure, structure! So I can do my thing, and the flow can do its own.
- Rituals! Super effective and fun tool to create a sense of community! So we hit-snap-clap, we do the “Sevener”, and we chant. If you want to find out more, come by!
- Less is more! One, max two, goals per lesson entirely suffice! …And sometimes, Mondays can only take a half goal. That’s ok too.
- Repetition is my new best friend! It’s a little clingy at times, but that’s alright.
- When students make comments, I react to content over grammar for ultimate motivation and deeper thought production!
- Phones aren’t evil. But they aren’t everything, either.
- But whatsapp groups are phenomenal ways to keep in touch when we’re all off in different realities again. And with my students, the realities are as different as can be…
- Positive relationships all day every day! And that doesn’t mean we’re bffs!
- Games and stories are an awesome way to create emotional connections with the content.
- Asking open questions is gold. Listening is platinum. And responding is an art.
- If I have fun, they do. If I’m not laughing, and they are, I better find out what the punch line was…:P
- Open doors are scary when new, but so welcoming, so awesome when normal!
- Sometimes improvements are big and glittery and bold and fierce. Sometimes, improvements are so small, three trained people need to examine them with the biggest magnifier they can find. And sometimes, they only become visible a long way down the road.
- Hobbies and parties have never been more important!!! And you know what’s best? Swing dancing is BOTH at the SAME TIME!
- I cannot not teach kids something when I’m with them. Something always gets across. It’s my job to be cognizant of what that is and make it as intentional as possible. It has a life of its own anyway…
- Learning can unleash massive amounts of energy. I better find spaces where students can run and jump and be moved to entirely new lands…
- I like Mondays now! That means I have four more days ahead of me – with the kids, with English, with the craziest adventures!
- And finally: when I’m telling other people about what I do, that I teach but am not a trained teacher, that I teach in a system that almost leaves no spaces for people like me, that I love what I do more than anything I’ve ever done, I’m ok with the fact that they don’t get it entirely. I don’t either sometimes. That’s why teaching is an art. And spiritual.
Happy Monday, folks!