…and getting nothing done. Or, to be more precise, failing to satisfactorily facilitate learning.
Over the past week and two days I have begun teaching again. It is the first time back in a classroom since the end of January. I am in a new country. I am already on my second apartment (which both have different voltage standards = huge headache) since my arrival. I have taken over a class, in the middle of an 8 week term, from a teacher who left due to a lack of…well he wasn’t a good fit shall we say.
Basically, I have been tasked with completing a term worth of work in half the time. This is hard enough in the best of times, but when I am still learning myriad admin duties …whilst trying to settle in professionally and personally … and help students with developing classroom/learning skills outside of the remit for the course.. the situation calls to mind one word, cluster….difficulty.
And yet I have been working my tail off to manage it all; perhaps from naivety, perhaps from hubris.
While I was reflecting on this clusterdifficulty today I realized that I had allowed the immensity of the task to consume me like quicksand. I realized I had lost my focus.
Somewhere in the mess of life I stopped facilitating learning. Instead my focus turned to keeping the juggling act going at all costs.
We teachers manage an immense amount on our proverbial plates. I know that I have often taken pride in how much I can handle on mine. There is, however, a limit to our abilities to manage.
I know now that when I try to do too much it is my learners who suffer.
Reflection, feedback and experience all helped pull me out of the quicksand. And you know what, I’m not upset with myself for losing focus. Believe you me, this is a major surprise to myself most of all. Usually the self flagellation takes at least 24 hours to work itself out of my system. I put this success down to presence. Daily practice with being present has provided a monumental shift with how I interact with the world. But most importantly it has provided the most wonderful gift, true self compassion. Words yet fail me in attempting to explain this. But I am sure I will find them, most likely in a future blog post.
And so ends this rambly blog entry. Here’s to avoiding the quicksand and finding the self compassion to truly be kind with ourselves.