I always enter the weeks before the end of a year with an uncomfortable feeling. There is a lot of pressure at work with papers, credits and exams, and there’s this fussy pre-New-year time, but those are not the prime reasons. The uneasiness comes when I, following my tradition, I open up one of my notebooks and write down 20__ __ at the top of a blank page. Then I stare at it — and I contemplate.
I approached the end of year 2011 with a bitter feeling of things going wrong. Being overwhelmed with numerous online activities and new connections, I totally fell out of REAL life. I lost important bonds and unconsciously devalued what is of true worth. Realizing this fact and overcoming its consequences I consider my biggest success of year 2012. By reflection and action, I’ve learnt how to come to terms with these two parts of my life, assigned each of them their own place, established the difference, and I now always remember my priorities.
I am slowly learning to get over my unflattering qualities. I am learning to be less judgemental and critical. I am getting to grips with the fact that everyone has his/her own place and that’s the only place you can succeed in, by doing what is in it for you. I’m learning to be forgiving, too. I used to be very individualistic, but now I’m teaching myself (and my students with me) to cooperate and value the opinions of others. It is not the wise quotes in my Facebook feed that have given me the motivation to change, but the conversations, the kindness of people around me, the diversity of opinions, the good attitude and openness of my PLN. Thanks to them, I have learnt to be more mindful and less skeptical. I have learnt how to socialize and take pleasure in it (something I couldn’t boast of for several years).
As a teacher I have acquired new practical skills. This year I have used several web 2.0 tools for the first time, read insightful professional articles and blog posts, and tried out activities from webinars and conference sessions that I visited. Going to conferences has proven to be especially beneficial as I not only learnt a lot but, more importantly, gained confidence and got an energy boost that empowered my teaching for weeks after the conference itself. With this uplifting feeling I discovered the will power to take action and step out of my comfort zone – to be bold in my ambitions, to formulate my ambitions.
On a more practical level, I’ve learnt how to optimize my note taking and goal-setting with the use of devices and good old pen-and-paper. I am still learning to set priorities and keep promises though, but I’ve learnt not to give myself too hard a time for sometimes failing to do that.
From this year on I want to carry into my classroom what I learn myself in order to share with my students, be it a new word or a phrase, an interesting fact, or a fresh idea. It looks to me that I’ve learnt to teach with intuition: Not too afraid to make a mistake, not too reproachful for being imperfect. Being a teacher, I can allow myself to keep my own personality in the classroom now. It’s another success of this year – I have stopped even the slightest pretense. In my class and after the final bell goes off, I am one and the same person.
I know this post is neither practical nor useful to readers as it is just as personal as a page of my diary could be, more like a revelation. Yet I know that iTDi is a safe place for me to share and exactly the right place where I would love to share. Everything I have mentioned above has had its effect on my teaching. Every positive change I’ve had in my understanding of myself has altered my way of teaching. Changing as a person, I change as a professional, and that means so much to me. It might seem too bold but that is probably the main message of this post. It is useful to aspire to be a better you.