It’s 7am on a bloody cold Autumn morning and I’m sitting on my lounge, stressing. School resumes next week. On Monday I have to run PBL workshops all day at a very prestigious selective public school. On Tuesday a guest speaker is coming to talk to my gaming class about game design and on Wednesday I am giving a presentation on VoicEd at a big conference in the city. Whilst I’m used to this kind of pressure/craziness, I’m usually excited by it. Right now, I’m not. I’m just stressed.
Last term was probably my worst term as a teacher. Or, at least, the worst that I can remember – I’m sure there was worse in year 1 or 2 or my teaching career. Maybe last term was worse, however, because I now know what quality teaching is – or should be – and therefore I’m more aware of how terrible I was and how far short of the mark I fell. To be honest, really honest, I haven’t even wanted to write on this blog all year. I have tried; I’ve shared a few things. Same with Twitter, I force myself to tweet something useful rather than just my own complaints or instagram pictures. Yesterday I even spent 20 minutes scanning the #pblchat tag to try and find some inspiration, or at least RT some tweets that my followers might find interesting.
I don’t know, really, what the source of my despair is… when it comes to the blog and twitter, I’m pretty confident that it’s pressure. The more and more people who follow me on twitter or who subscribe to my blog, the more frozen I’ve become. I keep questioning myself – should I post that? Does that make me sound dumb? Am I being too critical and not celebratory enough? Should I be honest about my failed projects? Why would anyone read this? Am I a hypocrite? I guess the same questions apply to my twitter feed. Am I inspiring enough? Have I pushed the boundaries? How do I use this social media stuff for good? Am I boring? Am I bitter? Have I lost my mojo?
And if I’m truly, truly honest, I think a lot of my anxiety at school stems from my new head of department. There’s nothing wrong with her – she’s actually completely awesome and the best leader I could have wished for, without a word of a lie – but she sort of ‘knew’ about me before she came. That sounds so damn arrogant. Urgh. But basically, she had a certain expectation, or a perception about who I was as a teacher, or what it is that I do or think, or something. I know cos we’ve spoken about this and she says really nice things about being excited to work with me – writing that makes me want to simultaneously gag and cry. I can’t deal with that… and it’s totally not her fault. It’s all mine. Evidently I’ve created some false image of myself via my blog, my tweets and my presentations. Last term I was outed for the fraud I am. My lessons were boring, my projects lame, my teaching didactic, controlling, even bitchy and downright mean at times. My students didn’t get excited about being in my class, they were bored or disinterested. I literally dragged my students through each ‘project’. They didn’t have the response that I seem to expect them to have – or is that just my false presentation of the impact of PBL? Probably.
I spent most of the 11 week term complaining about my students. It was their problem, they are apathetic, they lack knowledge of their world, they are narrow-minded, they are passive learners. I said all of these things in a high pitched voice with arms raised and a distressed facial expression. I did this for 11 weeks. Then the holidays came and I ignored school stuff… three days to school’s return and I’ve done nothing but bemoan the fact that I have to go back. My classroom is ugly; it repels me. There aren’t any projects forthcoming that inspire me. I know that it’s not about me (although the content of this post proves otherwise) but I can’t seem to think that there’s anything I can do (me, I) to make learning more engaging, inspired, challenging, thrilling for my students. I know I’m going to become a sullen cow within a week of term… I’ve lost it. I’ve lost my teaching mojo. I’ve lost all motivation to try. I’m pretty confident that term 2 is going to suck.