A return to authenticity – “beginner’s mind”

When I started this blog my goal was to use it as a space to explore both my personal and professional growth. When people who don’t get it say “try to separate the personal from professional” I’m like nah… that ain’t me. They’re the SAME. This is WHO I AM.  That’s why “Authentic Señora” seemed to be a fitting title. It was learning about #authres and more real, personalized teaching, and if I had $1.00 for every time I heard and read the word “authenticity” or “authentic” in my counseling MA program, well… I wouldn’t have student loan debt.

Today I am in a mood that brings me back to this original feeling. I’m having a lot of negative feelings about the school year. Not the kind that make me not want to go back or make me not want to teach, but rather the anxiety, shame, doubt, “I’m not good enough” kind.  These have to do with my job, yes – but more so my mental and emotional state as a human being. For example: Why haven’t I followed up on my work from Curriculum Camp yet? Why haven’t I had new posters and materials printed? Why haven’t I been garage sale-ing for flexible seating options? Why haven’t I made a better plan about incorporating movement and designated “spaces” in my classroom vs. free-for-all seating? Why haven’t I set up Google Classroom for next year? Made a technology agreement for kids to sign? Started a back-to-school news letter? Who are all these fools online acting like they’re actually good at teaching? IS ANYONE REALLY THAT GOOD!?!? Why doesn’t anyone think I know what I’m doing? Is there a secret club that I’m not in? Why doesn’t anyone invite me to be a cool online CI teacher? I hate everyone (myself.) This is stupid. I hate everything. I’m going to bed. I think you get the idea. 

Well – there are a lot of potential responses to those questions that my own inner critic can come up with. You spend too much time on Facebook. You watch WAY too much Netflix. Maybe if you didn’t nap every day like a hungover college kid. Although anyone who knows me knows I’ve been on FULL BLAST momming like a boss this summer with my 3 year old, so I could also be telling myself Hey, you’ve made unforgettable memories with your child this year. You’ve done so much work on your new home with the garden. Your husband was gone for 3 weeks and you had to crush the single parent thing – including a 3-state road trip! Hey – you did Curriculum Camp with Frau like you always said you would! That’s great! Hey – you went to a CI conference in Chicago, that’s great! 

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So anyway… there I was, reading in bed a few nights ago reading the book Start Here: Master the Lifelong Habit of Wellbeing. Don’t be too proud of me – It is one of approx. 5,000 mindfulness and self-help wellness books that I have and haven’t finished. I also checked out Don Quixote from the library this summer and read about 30 pages of the 1,000 and reached my limit of renewals from the library, so. 

Image result for Start Here: Master the Lifelong Habit of Wellbeing

I’ll summarize this one for you – the key to happiness is…  1)Meditate 2) Exercise 3) Keep an open mind. 🙄 UGH! Who has time for THAT?! (I don’t know why I have a squishy belly and acne – I ponder as I finish my 2nd bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch for dinner. #thisis30.)  But the chapter I read the other night was a good reminder of what I already know and never remember. See for yourself.

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Señora translation: Remember; you don’t know shit about shit and neither does anyone else. But at least you know you don’t know shit. 

This resonated with me and gave me a legit source to back up what I said about what Frau and I both think about “how to teach”: stop thinking that there is a right way / wrong way, and stop trusting people who present their information like that.

Reading this Socrates quote coincided with a nice, succinct post from Martina Bex this week, titled HOW TO TEACH SUCH THAT THEY UNDERSTANDMartina wrote, “Let’s dig in and explore the top comprehension support tools that we can use to take comprehensible input and ensure that it is comprehended by our learners” and published it with an adorable and colorful graphic organizer that will be easy for me to print and keep by my monitor to look at every day at work. Summary:

  • Teach to the eyes
  • Ask questions
  • Slow down
  • Rephrase
  • Simplify
  • Shelter vocab
  • Link meaning to L1
  • Contrast meaning
  • Pop up grammar
  • Make facial expressions
  • Use sound effects
  • Personalize
  • Gesture
  • Illustrate
  • Use props.

OK I thought. I do these things already. I go slow (but could go slower), I link words like “verdad” to verify in English and “edificio” to edifice. I’m already planning on starting a poster next year of new fancy English words the kids learn via Spanish. Illustrate? Like a boss. (Can you tell what Wooly song this is introducing?)

wooly.png  Sound effects? DUH. Facial Expressions? Yeah DOI. I’m a total dork when I teach. I have C7NJtUBVoAA8PSQ.jpg2 cabinets full of random stuff for props.

My old lady wig for abuela in Houdini, my Moana costume left over from a spirit week, old food toys my kid doesn’t use anymore, old home telephones, barbies, pink glitter Uggs for Sr. Wooly videos,

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my first aide gear for acting sick or injured…

So wait a minute… am I actually doing a pretty alright job at teaching? GASP!!!  Did I just discover my AUTHENTIC TRUTH? 

I texted Frau and said “ok so – I like this Martina Bex blog post because it puts all the strategies in one place without using confusing buzzword names and because basically you can do whatever you want with whatever content and curriculum or novels or chapters or #authres or IPAs or songs that you want, if you are doing THESE THINGS.

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She wasn’t exactly pumped that I texted at 6:10 in the morning (that teacher summer life has us rockin’ some pretty legit sleep schedules), but she was on board too.  Maybe we’ll present at ICTFL together and call it “Knowing that you don’t know stuff but teaching well anyway: two teacher BFFs on their Spanish/German teacher journey ” 🤷‍♀️

Frau laments that she doesn’t have her own German Martina Bex (or Herr Wooly… she’s pretty salty about that.) So let me just use this platform to let anyone reading (is it just Frau herself? LOL) know that she is anxious for a German teacher Bex or Wooly to present him/herself any moment now!

My husband is back from his 3 week work trip. There are 3 weeks until school starts. I think my conclusions is that I’m probably going to be OK…. right?!

✌🏼- Señora

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