It’s nice to be back from three weeks traveling around India with two of my boys. I hope that all of us in our group are rested and ready for the next semester.
During the break, on the beaches of South India, I gave a lot of thought to my instructional priorities for the coming semester. I wasn’t doing it to be obsessive during a vacation, but for my own mental health.
So, in keeping with a major breakthrough I have made in the past few years about what my deepest priorities are as a CI teacher, I have decided to base my instruction for the rest of this year on what is best for me and my own sense of balance within my school building, and not on choosing and implementing best instructional CI practices for my students.
We must always remember in our jobs that most of us, with very few exceptions, teach students who are required to be in class and are therefore not particularly motivated. Or worse, are motivated by grades, which motivation mixes with CI about as well as oil and water mix.
So when we overly try to play all the cards in our CI deck (a considerable arsenal as we who have been in this group for years know), we make of ourselves something akin to Tarot fools. Such preoccupation with CI to an excessive degree wears us out and has ruined careers because the teachers were trying to drive a bullet train through a junk yard – it didn’t work.
I will no longer base my instruction on how much language I can teach my students. I see too many of the best and brightest CI teachers in the world burning out these days. Why do that? The joke that “it’s all about me” is not really a joke at all. How can we serve others unless we take care of ourselves first?
Many of us here, of course, recognize this thread as a recent one and a good one one on the PLC. Each year it seems to gain energy in our daily discussions as many of us begin to realize the supreme importance of conscious self care in our work as teachers.
It’s not about the CI. It’s about how we use CI to create relaxed, happy days where everyone in our classroom is free to enjoy themselves in the real way, so that we don’t get destroyed in the daily insanity of school, but rise above it, rise above it. We can and we will rise above the undeniable chaos that education has become today. But we can only do so by carefully tending to our own mental health, each day, in each class, every day until June.
In the next post on this topic I will describe my plan for keeping my mental health as my top priority as we begin now to move into springtime. This new plan, really the latest variation on the original “Two Week Schedule” (which can be searched here) is the fruit of much thought over many years. I am really looking forward to implementing it on Monday!