Before I learned about storytelling, I was always, on some level, professionally sad. I had originally gone into teaching because I thought I could combine my love with French with my good will towards young people in a way that would enable me to be able to earn a living, but it didn’t turn out that way at first, for about twenty years.
Soon after starting out, I realized that I was actually reaching only a few of the kids, maybe four in each class. And that was just on a grammar level, so even those four weren’t learning much, if the truth were to be told. I thought I must be a bad teacher so I went on a frenzy of spinning my wheels trying everything I could think of for years and years. I even made up an entire method with a name and everything, but it didn’t work.
That lasted for about ten years, but then I went into a tailspin. My teaching had become too frenzied. I was fast coming to the conclusion that that the kids were a lot dumber than I thought. I thought they should all be like me, and really love French. But they had a kind of dumb look on their faces, and then, over that next decade after the first one, I just settled into a routine of focusing on the smart ones because the dumb ones weren’t getting it, or were getting it only to the extent that they needed a certain grade (they were very good at that).
All that changed the day I went to a Susan Gross workshop in Colorado Springs in 2001. That was the beginning of the end of my professional sadness. It doesn’t mean that it’s all rock and roll and home run stories now. I still struggle with the method a lot. But it does mean that I can go into a classroom now, fully armed with this powerful, powerful method, and reach 99% of the kids in the room in an authentic and professionally fulfilling way.
So the last decade of my life as a teacher, thanks to what Blaine Ray invented in the early 1990’s, has been quite wonderful, if not more than a bit scary at times. Interestingly, there has been a parallel track of increased happiness in my overall view of life. The two are certainly related!