As we head into Module Four of our PME 811 course, I continue to focus on my burning question of:
How do we keep our teaching innovative and creative? How do stay relevant and create programming that follows curriculum, teaches students the necessary skills and engages them with the material?
Lately, I have felt like I’ve started burning the candle at both ends. In previous years, I’ve been one of those “A-Type” personalities that try to go, go, go until they collapse. Having a full-time job, full course load, life, health, exercise and more, it all adds up. Which got me thinking back to one of my previous posts…
I still don’t have the answer to: How do we do it all and not get burnt out?
However, I have been having some thoughts about this. First of all, I don’t think it is about “doing it all” necessarily. And I also don’t think it’s about “it is what it is” (addressed in an earlier blog). I think it’s about the balance. The balance of reusing material, collaborating with our peers, doing our research, readapting the older content to be more relatable, and also establishing new material.
And most of all? It’s about taking care of ourselves in the process of it all.
This week I read Teaching as Contemplative Professional Practice by Thomas Falkenberg. It was the concept of “ongoing work on one’s awareness, attention, and noticing of one’s inner life while teaching.” The concept of mindfulness.
If you’ve explored the rest of my blog a bit, you’ll know that I’m a bit of a mindfulness and motivation nut. I enjoy inspiring people and helping them to achieve their best – one of the reasons I want to teach – but it’s also about me and being in check with my emotions and needs. Being aware of my thoughts and actions, and how they are affecting my day to day life.
I think this is another aspect of my burning question – One of the ways that we can keep our students engaged is being engaged ourselves. In order to be in engaged, we need to be present. We need to take the time to teach ourselves to be present and in the moment – and this takes practice! In moments when we feel like we are “burning the candle at both ends” (as I am now), it is the perfect time to sit down, be silent and reflect.
What do you think? Are you a mindful meditator? Are you present each day? If not, how do you think you can be more present? What happens to your classroom when you’re tired or incredibly busy or just feeling “down”?
Falkenberg, T. (2012). Teaching as contemplative professional practice. Paideusis, 20(2), 25-35.