Teaching Practicum Supervisor Diary #2: Something that keeps popping up…

It’s a thing that I’d say first started popping up maybe a year ago when I was still slaving away blissfully working as a CELTA tutor in Seattle, WA but seems an as strong if not stronger popper-upper than ever before now, frequently figuring into the input & feedback I’m giving to the student teachers I work with.

What is it? It’s the idea of “X will make things easier for you”. Emphasis (contrastive stress?) can be placed in two spots there:  EASIER for you (focused on causes of stress and difficulty for the teacher) and easier for YOU (focused on disentangling notions about “student-centeredness” from sensible teacher self-care…that it’s OKAY VITAL to consider any X’s effect on YOU, too).

Confession time, I don’t actually have time to write the blog post that really explores all this further (damn shame, really…reality bites)! Instead, I’m just going to lay down a digital clipping, diary scrapbook-stylee, from some materials I’m putting together for my student teachers. In it, we can see one instance of this idea popping up.

I didn’t fully realize this until just now, today: I have a rather strong feeling that the bullet points you see below would be tragically incomplete without the third one. It is essential. This is why I intend to far more consistently include X’s effect on the teacher in all input, guidance materials, and feedback I give to trainee/student teachers and others. I’m certain that this was an extremely rare feature in my work until recently. I believe (absent any research…as of yet?) that it’s an extremely rare feature in teacher training/education materials generally. I haven’t looked at a CB teacher’s guide for a while and I’m trying to imagine much of it there. It’s hard.

After the slide below I go on to describe this “hamburger” task management idea and along with giving reasons why this or that step benefits the learner or group dynamics or assessment opportunities, I try to acknowledge, too, how and why it benefits us, the human teachers who are all-in on using a “student-centered approach” but also have normal, healthy needs for things like self-expression, ease, and respect. If the way we teach denies us these things in some kind of viciously subtle way, everyone loses.

You know what’s pretty cool though? Certain things that are the best for us are also the best for the students. As I’m thinking about this, I want to mumble out a maxim-in-early-development:

a healthy approach to teaching is: prioritizing the work of becoming increasingly attuned to the effects of each aspect of our method on both the learners and ourselves…with a good long-term professional development goal being: to ‘harmonize’ our teaching practices to the extent that student and teacher wellness are as aligned as possible

What do you think?

The snippet:

(from a slide of a presentation about a task-planning/management strategy)

I hope to revisit this idea more in the future. It might be unclear precisely what I mean by acknowledging X’s effect on the teacher. More examples may be needed. I’m going to start collecting them and digging into this area more. I’m excited. I’m also hungry, much hungrier than when I began writing this post. I wonder why. The task before me is clear, and I shall monitor myself. Nom nom!


One thought on “Teaching Practicum Supervisor Diary #2: Something that keeps popping up…

  1. This is the closest I can imagine getting to self care without glorifying it, I think. Someone else on Twitter recently, forgot who, said self care only becomes necessary because teachers work ourselves into the ground. We need to give less of ourselves in bursts so we can sustain giving ourselves over time. Cheers Matthew!


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