Your Mental Health Counts Most – 1

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8 thoughts on “Your Mental Health Counts Most – 1”

  1. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    I see a fair bit of martyr complex or something that sits like a lil devil on many a teacher’s shoulder, whispering that in order NOT to be a phony or a sham, we have to do recognizably teacherly ‘stuff’ to earn our paychecks: Lesson planning, learning targets, formative and summative assessments; rubrics, grading, lists of all sorts to inventory ‘territory covered,’ and the inventory continues….
    Most of it is an utter waste of time and energy in terms of practical application, and if we are truly engaging in or conducting an improvised conversation (perhaps centered on a visual prompt) make no sense and do not align with SLA.
    So if we must create that documentation to satisfy our masters, then we ought to do it, and dispense with it – perhaps using some of the templates generated here on the PLC.
    And then pivot to spend our time refining our delivery skills and getting to know our Ss – not just their affinities and personalities, but which sorts of classroom activities and fun do they respond well to, so that we can craft engaging cycles of instruction.
    The other traditional teacherly stuff robs our time, energy and inspiration if we let it.

  2. Alisa what I read as the key piece in what you wrote above is the part that all that garbage that we insist on doing doesn’t align with Second Language Acquisition research. SLA research says one thing and we do another.

    I can’t tell you – once I found CI – how much time I didn’t waste on doing that needless stuff to satisfy our masters . I didn’t. I floated around and faked grades and never actually did any of that stuff. It looked to them like I did it (keeping close tabs on grades, etc.) but I didn’t. Jen Schongalla does that. Matava does it to a big degree. Greg Schwab does it while running his department, I’m thinking. There are a few of us.

    The “lack of planning” piece is going to save us, but there are so few people who get that. Oh well, planners gotta plan.

  3. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    Once at an ACTCL session with a big-wig, I heard the presenter say, (regarding WL curriculum and lesson): “A failure to plan is a plan to fail.” I won’t soon forget it!
    And I thought, WHOA! I am truly a failure…
    Cuz the level of planning was WAY too many bits and pieces for me. It involved, for each of the 4 grades in the sequence I teach, the 5C’s, a Scope & Sequence doc w/ articulated thematic units & associated vocab lists, pre- and post assessments, KUD’s, daily and unit targets, scripted dialogues, video-recorded student conversations in the hallway, and that’s just a partial list…

    1. All of these ancillary things are just a waste of time and money. Students have NEVER liked those, yet they pump them out, make them shiny w/ HD cameras, film them on location, use real native speakers, etc. and pat themselves on the back for a job well-done. I remember having to watch them when I was in high school. Now, I was a language nerd, so I was always searching for new words to understand, but those videos were so lame. And the scripted dialogues. How are those even allowed? How does anything stick from those? They read it off a paper and then chat in English with their friends. It’s an insult to REAL communication.

      With all that planning, the focus is more on the planning and targets than where the kids are and what’s going on in their lives, their likes, dislikes, their gifts, etc. We leave them behind for the sake of being “organized” and “on target”. We reject authentic interactions because they’re not “in the curriculum”. I think the teachers just as much as the students desire to have those authentic, unscripted moments with their students. At least I know I do. When we deny ourselves that, we suffer. Last Thursday, I started a convo w/ my most difficult class that launched into them telling ghost stories and other personal stories that lasted the entire period (90 min). It was awesome! They told ghost stories and they were loving it. It was money in the bank. I needed to have a good moment with them. We laughed together and got to know each other better. For a little bit, the tension was gone from the class. It was like a huge sigh in my day.

      1. Good job, Jake. Yeah, we live in crazy times. I can’t believe that humanity has always educated their youth in this way. We wouldn’t be here. It’s always about stories with children. Ghost stories in English fits the bill. If we don’t build community, we fail.

  4. Gag me with a stick. Just getting all that down on paper is a full time job, and reveals a kind of, actually not a kind of, but a full blown mental problem. I know what’s going to happen. People are going to stop planning, and give themselves permission to work a lot less. They will. All they need to do is stop ignoring the research. I got an idea after reading Jenna’ post today and while taking a yoga class this morning that is radical – won’t go into it here but it is a zinger.

  5. It’s funny how the guilt about not being “teacherly” enough lasts for years even after teaching CI in a school that supports CI.

    As traditional teachers from my school move on and get new jobs I find myself being more vocal with parents and students and other teachers on how the old way just doesn’t work. That seems to help.

    The feeling of guilt is still there somehow sometimes.

  6. Speaking of mental health I would definitely recommend the works of Dr. Abraham Low- who was the first Cognitive Behavioral Psychologist (althougth he never got credit for it). Here are a list of some of the key ideas in his system.

    One of them (may not be listed on this sheet) is “Drop the excessive sense of responsibility.” Another is “Lower your expectations and your performance will rise” (Directed at perfectionists).

    Here are his key terms:

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