Yesterday, exhausted after a full day of speaking with people around the world, stressed out and with lots of "life"on my mind, I stepped back and watched a TED Talk I've been meaning to watch for awhile: The 3 A's of Awesome.
If you have 20 minutes to spare in your life - WATCH IT! Neil Pasricha is just so true and real as he tells his own story. His words hit me like a brick about my own self and what I believe has helped me in life and in what I do - despite so many set backs and obstacles.
But I also got to thinking how his 3 A's apply to teachers as well as to our own individual lives. So here in brief are what these 3 A's mean for teachers and why we need to practice them daily in our classrooms and as part of who we are as a teacher.
As a teacher you understand how difficult teaching is. At times it can be like a war zone and as debilitating as PTSD. I remember my early days of teaching, being a classroom teacher and just being so exhausted that I'd spend the whole weekend on the couch, zoned out. Overwhelmed. Felt like I couldn't carry on. It can even be harder overseas, alone, as so many EFL teachers are.
However, great teachers reach for the positive and after falling down, they look up. And if they can look up, they can get up. We accentuate the positive and keep in front of our noses that tomorrow will be another day, a better day. This is what makes our teaching great. We don't say to students "Don't do this!" but we say "How about doing that?" It is the smile and positive approach of a teacher that makes them a success.
Great teachers are so aware! They sense and see everything in their classroom and more importantly, they see this information as "new" and vital. The details matter to a great teacher and amaze a great teacher. They take interest in and pay attention to the small things that make up each student. Great teachers are curious, amazed and energized by the wonders of the world around. Students pick up on this, follow this and in a strange way, become aware like their teacher.
Teachers wear many hats at school. We also have to be great actors to get the teaching job done, especially language teachers. However amid all our antics and acting, there is something that great teachers do well - being true to their own self.
We are open and honest to our students and share with them our selves as human beings with ups and downs, smiles and frowns. We don't hide behind a "teaching veil". We are who we are and great teachers bring students close to them by teaching with an open soul. They are approachable because we sense these teachers are comfortable in their skin.
As Neil points out at the end of his talk - it all adds up to seeing how AWESOME the world is. It is truly amazing, all the diversity, all the beauty and being. Great teachers sit at an incredible banquet table of human spirit - so blessed we are. There are so many things to be happy about as a teacher. My own list would be endless......
Let's enjoy our class today, for this class, this teaching day will never come again. That's the message of Neil, of awesome, of the 3 A's. It is the timeless message of Ecclesiastes - "drink your wine in joy and eat your bread in peace, this day will not come again ......"
If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy: Lessons for teachers from "The King's Speech"
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