Mental Health

Our mental health is completely dependent on our knowing and remembering that we cannot teach a language, but only deliver comprehensible input.

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7 thoughts on “Mental Health”

  1. And excellent reminder, indeed. Thank you for putting emphasis on our mental health and recognizing that if we are not healthy, then we cannot possibly do this work.

    This is my second year back in the classroom after a 14-year hiatus. I left teaching in 2002 because I was burnt out. Burnt out at the age of 28 (!) after just six years of teaching. Fast forward to Fall, 2017 (after a long and winding road back to the classroom) and I was feeling burnt out again — after just 6 weeks of school! I was panicking. And then I was fortuitously directed to this PLC and finally was able to breathe.

    I started teaching with CI on Nov 1 and haven’t opened my plan book since then. I am stumbling daily — sometimes hourly — but I am calmer and my students are noticeably happier and more engaged overall. It hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies (happier kids = chattier kids who need to be redirected often), but it’s a work in progress that I’m so proud to be a part of for SLA.

    My mental health thanks you for helping me realize that I don’t have to work myself to the bone on lesson plans that are lackluster at best. Delivering CI is the only plan I need.

    1. Welcome to the club. I know what you are talking about. I had a burn out after 8 years of teaching and it took me half a year to come back.
      I’m glad you made it bc despite stress, teaching languages can be so great!

  2. I agree, Robyn! That is what I call “advanced practice.” It totally reminds me of one of my teachers during my yoga teacher training. She said something like this (paraphrasing): “An advanced practice is not about where you put your leg. It’s about your intention and attention.”

    Ben’s original post:

    “Our mental health is completely dependent on our knowing and remembering that we cannot teach a language, but only deliver comprehensible input.”

    That is going up on my wall today. Right now. I need this reminder visibly. And I might even have my students come up with personal versions of this for themselves. Instead of “teach a language” and “deliver CI” they could come up with specific actions they can take to help them navigate the chaos and negativity.

    I’m so humbled by my students. Each day I find out something else that someone is up against and my jaw drops.

    ***tangential, yet related****
    I’m in my prep period right now. Getting some TLC from my PLC. I was in the middle of writing the post above when my principal walked in to chat.

    It was amazing and unexpected full support of what I am *trying* to do. She suggested something that I have been thinking about but had not asked for: drafting a brief letter to prospective students / parents describing the program, how it’s different (and why) than other courses, and explicitly stating that if the student is not prepared to participate (by following instructions, listening, etc) then they may not be ready to take the class. Since we are on a block, and since language is not a graduation requirement, students can wait until they are ready / mature/ etc.

    And…she also is in full support of my colleague’s and my recommendation that there be no “honors” option in first year language classes!!!!!!! YAY!!!!! My colleague is currently being harassed by parents demanding “honors” tracking for their students. Nope.

    1. What does honors mean anyway? In a CI dept I guess that would mean homework in the form of videos but then it defeat the purpose of taking the class for fluency… it would mean taking it to make the “honors” distinction.

      1. I see no reason to have “honors” CI classes. I am trying to push this agenda! The “honors up” thing is, I believe, a way to “create honors classes” within any class, since we are a small school. But to me it seems like a cluster #$&* all around, since it basically just creates more work for the teacher. I am not participating in this, and I am trying to argue that WL should be exempt from this, due to the nature of language.

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