In my last blog post several weeks ago, I talked about going back to classroom teaching this month but at the last minute, lost my workload due to low course enrollment. I was grateful for work in the second half of the semester but then lost that workload to another teacher with more seniority (that's what I get for taking 18months off). The good news is that I did get work in the end thus no weekly blog posts this month.
I can't say that much has changed at the college but I know that I have changed. If you have been reading my blog posts for the last several months, you may have seen this post where I talked about burning out as a teacher https://www.patricepalmer.ca/blog/what-i-learned-from-my-burn-out-as-a-teacher.
It is great to feel compassion towards my students again. I feel like the teacher I used to be and it feels good. (To be honest, during the last several months of teaching at the end of 2015, I was grumpy and impatient).
Almost one year ago, I wrote about Amy Cuddy and her research related to the "power pose". If you didn't read that post, here is the link (http:// https://www.patricepalmer.ca/blog/the-super-hero-pose-fact-or-fiction).
If you are unfamiliar with the concept of the "power pose", it means adopting a posture or stance like a "superhero" (hands on hips, standing tall and powerful). The idea is that we gain confidence from standing like a super hero!
Cuddy faced much criticism regarding her research and book - Presence Bringing Your Boldest Self to your Biggest Challenges (http://amzn.to/2mU6OmJ.
According to Cuddy, "the key finding is simple: adopting expansive postures causes people to feel more powerful". She reports that this effect has been replicated in at least nine published studies and in at least four unpublished studies from nine different labs.
In addition, Cuddy argues that "what’s absolutely clear from...
Do you feel drawing-challenged?
As teachers, we often use the board to "draw" a word or concept. I have always felt "drawing-challenged" and dreaded those moments when I realized that drawing on the board would be helpful for my students. My most recent "drawing disaster" was an attempt to draw an airplane which ended up looking like a sickly bird!
Have you also had drawing disasters?
Well, hopefully our drawing skills are about to improve! I was away last weekend and decided to make it a computer-free weekend. This meant spending several hours reading. While reading Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley (another great book), I learned about author Dan Roam and his wonderful books that help people become better visual communicators.
Dan has several books but the one that I think relates most to what we do as teachers is called Blah Blah Blah - What to do when Words don't Work http://amzn.to/2mDvlIn. We know as ESL/EFL teachers, sometimes our words "just...
On my last birthday, I received a wonderful book from my friend Ray. It wasn't a typical book that you read but a beautiful "colouring" book called Happiness, Colour Yourself Calm. The book contains blank pages of lovely mandalas (see one of my finished creations below).
Just to be clear, it isn't a colouring book for kids but a colouring book for adults! Perhaps you think this is odd but did you know that the New York Times has recognized a growing trend in the sale of adult coloring books? It seems that more and more adult colouring books are appearing on their best seller list.
I haven't "coloured" for a while, but when I feel like my heading is swimming and I can't concentrate on what I am doing any longer, I sit in my comfy chair, grab my pencil case and colour. It may seem strange but colouring for me is extremely relaxing. My breathing slows down and a sense of calmness washes over me. It is a wonderful...
"Self-Care is so important. You cannot serve from an empty vessel". Eleanor Brownn.
"I love this quote from Eleanor Brownn. I start my teacher well-being workshops with this quote. The relief on the faces of teachers is very evident when they hear it! It’s almost as if we need permission to give ourselves this self-care. However, we are the only ones who can give ourselves this permission!" Fiona Forman
Teacher burn-out is a serious issue. This post includes my personal experience and a wonderful interview with Fiona Forman, a teacher from Ireland, and Co-creator of the Weaving Well-Being Program.
Many of you know that I left classroom teaching after 20 years in December 2015. It was very hard to admit that I was burned-out so I jokingly told colleagues that I was retiring (even though I was years away from retirement). Being "burned-out" seemed like a weakness. In fact, this is the first time that I am actually admitting it.
So what caused my burn...
One of the reasons that I like social media so much is because of the connections I have made with thousands of English language teachers all over the world. This includes you! I believe that we all share the same desire which is to help our students learn (no matter where we live or where our students live if you are an online teacher).
Over the holidays, I caught up on some reading which included an article by Emily Esfahani Smith, author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters http://amzn.to/2hOArly and Jennifer Aaker, Professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Their piece entitled "In 2017, Pursue Meaning instead of Happiness" http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/12/in-2017-pursue-meaning-instead-of-happiness.html includes data from a survey of over 2 million people in more than 500 jobs. According to the survey, teachers (as well as clergy and surgeons) find the most...
Exactly one year ago today, I left my job as an ESL teacher after 20 years (including 7 incredible years in Hong Kong). I had known for a year or so that it was time for a change because I was feeling uninspired and tired. I felt the need to learn some new skills and travel at any time of the year, not just school breaks. I craved a creative outlet but I wasn't really sure what to do.
Was it frightening to think about life outside the classroom? Yes! But little did I know that having support to push ahead would be key in achieving so much in the past year. This is why I believe that we all need a "Ray"!
So who is Ray? A few years ago, my friend Ray asked me if I could write an online course for him. I said that I could and did. He also asked me to attend a 4 day training event for coaches, writers and online course developers. I went with the intention that I would learn more to help him with other online courses, but I ended...
Have you heard of “deep work or attention residue”? I recently had a discussion with a first year medical student about study habits, excelling in academics and high achievement. He told me that he has difficulty staying focused while studying (he studies with his laptop open and frequently check emails!) He is obviously a smart young man to have been accepted into medical school, but he has asked me several times to give him some study tips so he can learn more, and learn faster. His goal is to be at the top of his class.
A couple of days after our talk, I came across a book review for Deep Work, Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport (http://calnewport.com/books/deep-work). Newport is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University in the United States. He earned his Ph.D. from MIT.
Newport argues that in nearly every profession, better productivity and more satisfaction can be...
Exactly one year ago, I decided to leave classroom teaching after 20 years. My decision was based on a few reasons but to be honest, I was exhausted (I hate to use the term burned out). I was also bored from the sheer repetitiveness of teaching English. I didn’t leave the ESL field completely and in the last two semesters (I still think in terms of semesters and not months!), I have been teaching online, writing and travelling. When a friend of mine asked me to supply teach for 5 weeks, I decided that I was ready to return to the ESL classroom.
My class of new immigrants to Canada from Sierre Leone, Chad, Burma, Syria, Afghanistan, Vietnam, China and Somalia.
As teachers, we give so much to our students. It can be hard to find the time and energy to care for ourselves, too. Self-care - the act of taking the time and space to nurture ourselves - is not something that is “nice” to do but it is essential for our well-being as teachers....
Today I did something that I have never done before. I was a webinar presenter on http://www.tutela.ca! I presented a one hour webinar called "Planning Your Professional Development". In the last few years, I have signed up and watched many webinars but I have never been in a presenter role. Was I nervous? Yes, but I was more excited than nervous. Why? Two reasons - confidence and courage.
When I decided to leave classroom teaching after 20 years last December, I neededconfidence because I had to believe that I could make a living using my skills outside of teaching ESL. There is a certain comfort that comes from doing a job for many years but the downside for me was that there were few opportunities to challenge myself or have a creative outlet. So trying new things as a teacherpreneur (e.g. learning how to use social media, write and market e-books, and blog on MailChimp to name a few!)...