We got into teaching for the right reasons, and in our heart of hearts we don’t want to leave. But how are we supposed to become better teachers, or people for that matter, when we’re being crushed between constant testing, enormous class sizes, and unrealistic expectations that make it impossible for us to do our jobs?
We’re givers, trying to make the world a better place, one kid at a time.
As teachers, we are frequently asked (even required) to do the convoluted, the irrelevant, and the unnecessary. There are often too many students, not enough money, and too few resources.
New circuses come to town each year (think Common Core, Smarter Balanced, state testing, PLCs, and the like) and while they can be well-intentioned, these programs can also complicate our purpose, confuse our intuition, and distract our energies from our sacred mission: student learning.
The expectations teachers face are extensive and divergent. And yet, in the midst of all this administrative hubris and political misdirection, and in spite of the white noise and the chaos, we still manage to teach.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful, though, if we were not only able to teach in the face of all these distractions, but were allowed to do it with grace, peace, and equanimity? What if we were able to eliminate distraction and increase focus on student learning in a way that was pure, simple, easy, and even fun for the teacher.
If that sounds inviting, you might be in the right place.
Don’t worry. It’s not about adding another program, committee, or meeting. In fact, the study of Zen advises us not to add on, but to take away.
The Zen approach is simple.
Reduce. Minimalize. De-clutter. Breathe. Be Open. Accept. Focus. Act.