This year of teaching 2015

In France the year begins twice – in September with la rentrée and then in January with the rest of the world!

It’s time for me to start preparing the rentrée, and my Summer.

Before I do that I want to thank my students for their energy and goodwill since the rentrée in 2014. As I mentioned in my ‘confession’ post I have not always appreciated my students as much as they deserve.

We all have challenges in studying. For some it’s strength, for others it’s memory, or mobility, or coordination and awareness, or balance, or belief about ability, or injury.

For most of us it’s a mix of all these. In reality they are not separate – they all exist in the complexity of a human body.

I have plenty of challenges too – the same as the students. Also as a teacher a lot of mine are about ego and imagination. In my mind I have a mix of very high standards of how things should be done, and also I have been cringing under the scrutiny of imaginary critics. Before I post a video of myself I imagine it will be vilified, ridiculed and attacked. If I feel sensitive about videos or pictures of me, I feel even more so about my students.

But really, I understand that this kind of worry is bullshit. Things are what they are, best accept it. The internal voices may have good intentions, but they do not have control. As for the external voices, I’ve been on the internet long enough to know that there is a mixture of delusion, insecurity and malice. What genuine criticism there is may be a little painful, but is usually helpful in equal measure.

What has helped me understand this?

The struggles of my students.

They have kept going despite my lack of understanding of how or why they cannot do certain things (and in the face of their lack of understanding too). They have kept going, and improved, learned, developed. I saw my frustration and impatience was also a reflection of my own inner critics.

Then with each little improvement my students reminded me that I don’t need to listen to those voices. Small steps were worth celebrating, inner critics worth ignoring.

(When they laughed at me, that helped too).

So thank you students! You’ve taught me a lot!

With a bit of luck, this will make me a better teacher.

student sticks