How my other life helps my teaching

It’s the holidays, woop woop!

This means I can do loads of other stuff and don’t have to think about teaching for ages.

This means I’m thinking a lot about teaching and coming up with some great ideas for next year. It also got me thinking about how all the other things I get up to away from the classroom affect my teaching.

Mindlessly surfing the internet

While it may seem to my husband the bystander that I’m just mindlessly surfing, I am in fact picking up great ideas from a plethora of sources, first of which on my list would be my twitter feed and places like edutopia or the British Council.

Running

Even during the school year I always come up with the best solutions and ideas while out running, it’s a pity that I forget them all in the shower! I read a quote recently about someone saying they ran for “sanity and vanity” and then definitely describes my running; jogging round our local woods exercises my mad dog, clears my brain and stops me snapping (quite so much!) at my family, the added bonus is the extra ice-creams I can eat guilt-free!

I have noticed however that as well as time to think through what’s going on in the grey matter, running also gives me the mental and physical stamina necessary to keep going during a long teaching day.

Volunteering

Having just recently organised our annual village race for around three hundred participants, I can tell you that dealing with about sixty volunteers, not to mention the inscriptions, barbecue, race wardens, Red Cross and the paperwork has taught me an AWFUL LOT! Not least dealing with the prefecture’s (county council) requirements for the heatwave we have found ourselves in recently.

I have learnt patience, determinism and more importantly the simple fact that in order to get people to do what you want, the thing that works best is… wait for this…

Being REALLY nice to them and saying THANK YOU a lot.

You wouldn’t believe how many meetings/ events I’ve turned up at to have someone yell at the few people who have shown up about how there’s not enough people to help, or sat through someone’s rant about how “it’s always the same people who have to do everything” (not surprising there’s no new blood if all you do is moan at them) or even worse, “if you want something doing properly you need to it yourself” (or patiently explain to someone else and help them learn how to do it?)

It may seem blatantly obvious to us, but it’s not to everyone believe me, you can get much more out of people with a positive, friendly attitude, be that chair-lifters or students.

Organisation

This is so hypercritical of me that I’m blushing as I write, as I’m the most unorganised person in the univers, however when up to your eyes in mails and paperwork, on whatever subject, it really helps to tag and file those mails so you can find them again, be it a promise of an ambulance for the security tent or a query from a parent. I would add the to-do list in this section; this cunning device has enabled me to get a good night’s sleep in the weeks before the race.

Of course it works the other way round too, everything I’ve learnt through teaching comes in useful elsewhere, for example I was the only race volunteer who could go the whole morning without a toilet break!

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About fabenglishteacher

I've been teaching English for a few years now and this blog is part of my never-ending quest to make learning English more fun, and easier for my students.
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