Monday, August 10, 2009

Week 1 - Getting Started


photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathangill/2357002711

Bud the Teacher wrote a thought-provoking blog post with an open letter to the teachers available at http://budtheteacher.com/blog/2008/08/16/an-open-letter-to-teachers/

After reading his blog post, reflect and share with your colleagues two aspects of your teaching that you want to change or give a different approach.

Then, reply to at least one of your peers by adding a comment or asking a question.

Make this space an open area for your thoughts about the beginning of this journey.

Click on "Comments".

13 comments:

Inês Saboya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Inês Saboya said...

It´s amazing to be a teacher. Actually, teaching is a special calling. Most of all, teachers are the ones who mold the future each day in class.
There are some aspects I´d like to change regarding my teaching.
First of all, I´d like to find a way to motivate students all the time, and keep them motivated.
Secondly, I wish I had much more time to do even more.

Teacher André said...

Great words by Bud. Sometimes it's so hard dealing with the daily problems that we forget how inspiring this job can and should be. It's a good reminder of how not to let the little things get in the way of our teaching.

What can I say? Let's go crazy every now and then.

Let your hair down and surprise everyone.

Rick said...

One of the things I find myself doing more often than not is taking things for granted in the classroom. You know, you´ve taught the same lesson a million times and you think "oh well, let´s do the same stuff once more ... why try new things ... I don't have time anyway"... I fight myself fiercily when I feel and act that way. After all, teaching is about discovery

Dani Lyra said...

I've been teaching for such a long time now... and I've always done it passionately. If I've learned something throughout the years is that I do a much better job when I'm trully happy.

My family, friends, hobbies and teaching are the things that make me smile...
I'm here because I need to learn new things, not only for my students sake, but also for myself.

Carla Arena said...

@Dani Lyra I totally understand what you mean, for it is exactly what I try to do. I keep learning not only for my students, but for my own satisfaction and development as a human being. I can feel how passionate you are about what you do.

@Rick. Teaching is certainly about discovery about the others and even more about ourselves, our drives, our personal satisfaction and our disenchantment. I really enjoyed your concept of fiercely trying to go against common place, the comfort zone. And that's exactly why we are here, right?

@Andre You are so right! Routine and small things can really get on the way of our personal, professional satisfaction. It's really up to look around and ahead to make a difference in our learners' world and our own. So, let's go crazy every now and then!

@Inês I also think teaching is a very special calling. Time is certainly our biggest challenge in all aspects of our lives. I guess there's no magic, but we need to make what is possible and the best we can with the time restrains we face every single day.
As for motivation, I truly believe that if I can motivate at least one of my learners to go a bit beyond, it already gives me the strength to keep doing my best.

Rick said...

I really agree with Bud when he says "It doesn’t have to be a big risk that you always take – take little ones, too". Quite frequently teachers, especially ESL/EFL ones, aim at reinventing the wheel on a daily basis and forget that small stuff, like a simple change in attitude towards a student, for example, can work miracles.

Carla Arena said...

@Rick Wise words. That's exactly my point, keep things simple, and look around, be attentive to the signs. We can learn a lot from listening to the silent moments of learners or the disruptive ones. A change of attitude on our part certainly reflects the one of others around us. Love your approach to teaching, Rick.

Anonymous said...

Teaching is always a challenge. We are always looking for a way of reinventing our techniques and pleasing not only our students but ourselves as well!I like when Andre invites us to go crazy because that`s exactly what we should allow ourselves to do!
Carol Barretto

Debbie said...

I've been a teacher for 7 years now. It happened by chance, I had never had any plans on becoming one, but I think it's in my genetics... got it from my mother. Rick knows her! Well, I became passionate for what I do, and I've heard I was born to do it! I wish I had more time to do all the things I have on my mind! I think this text put in word everything we think from time to time, specially when the semester is
about to start. It was great!
Debora

Ludmila said...

Great text! Nice for motivation!!!
I'll run the risk and assume that being a teacher is not always amazing (most of time, but not always), and there are many reasons that could led us into teaching (some of them we want not to assume either for ourselves), many everyday factors that could make us feel weak (and sometimes we really want to disappear and to give up) and these aspects make me understand that maybe we keep on teaching because we are completely crazy for challenges (does it sounds a little bit punk?) , we need break on through all the barriers against emancipation (do u think it’s too political?), and we believe in human being (yes Sir, we r romantic).

I teach in an era in which methods are not seen as perfect or tight recipes anymore, in which local and transcultural knowledges should be explored and have same value. In which behaviorism and cognitive paradigms have already being questioned…
Such crazy times… we r much more than Indiana Jones… lol

germana said...

The letter made me think not only about my role as a teacher but also my place in this world. What I´ve discovered throughout my journey as a teacher is that I´ve learned much more than I´ve taught.
Now it´s time to continue with this learning process.
First I intend to surprise my students in the classroom by making use of a tool they are so familiar with.
Secondly I believe that learning is sharing and the web is the place where people meet nowadays.

Elysio Soares Santos Junior said...

Do you know what I've liked the most about Bud, the teacher? One simple sentence: "Relationships and mentoring cannot be outsourced or Googled. They take time and genuine concern."It's been a while since I last got to the same conclusion... no matter how much technology evolves or how knowledgeable you are, the point remains the same: we are and mustn't forget we are people. As I've already mentioned, this year, besides all my personal projects, goals and resolutions, I am really engaged in learning with and from my dog. It may sound silly or a little weird, but the more I read about dog psychology the more I learn about people. teacher's room, what was the high-rank complaint you are mostly likely to hear? From my experience I mention our quality of life. Yeah, since we have very little time for private issues such as going to the doctor's, or spending a night out with our family and friends or even resting under a tree, we may find ourselves digging into a big hole of mixed feelings regarding our professional identities. I guess we'd all agree that taking a day off would be amazing, although hardly ever possible. On the other hand, I have to confess I feel grateful when, for instance, unexpected suprises happen, as of last week when I got an SMS from a student who had missed a class and was concerned about her homework. She's only 13 and absolutely on her way to learn English with no other interests! OK, this kind of student is absolutely the minority, but if only did I have one like her every semester, I'm pretty sure I would feel rewarded for being a good teacher. Just to sum up, as teachers, I believe we should and we can find something to motivate ourselves even prior to thinking of motivating learners; we must accept our limits and recognize the importance of relationships based on trust, love and friendship; and at last, believe me, dogs are dogs, but we have a lot to learn FROM them.