In my new role as ESL teacher I am learning self-discipline and patience, even before the school year begins.  Although I can be self-disciplined when I need to be, I am not a very patient person.  I am thrown off course when confronted with ambiguous situations and unresolved issues, such as not knowing exactly what I’ll be doing or how many students I will be responsible for, or even if I’ll have many students to work with.  I want to get started on my classroom, study the curriculum, plan for the first week with students, but I can’t.  Instead I’m forced to wait and let things take shape.

It’s a good exercise for me.  When I’m feeling calm I think that everything will work itself out. But, when I’m feeling unsure of myself (much of the time) I start doubting myself.  I revert to ineffective habits:  if I’m focused on negative outcomes then when they happen I won’t be blind sided.  Because that’s something else I don’t like: surprises.  So, I find myself in a catch 22 where every negative thought or self-doubt produces similar thoughts and more self-doubting.  It’s a never ending cycle.

So, I remind myself that my thoughts and feelings, positive and negative, nurture each other.  If I let go of preconceived notions and ideas I will open myself up to unexpected experiences and relationships.  And, who knows?  I may create something better and more satisfying than I’ve known to date.

So, here are some of my affirmations for this school year:

Stay focused on the moment so that I can enjoy it.
Acknowledge that all is well now so that I practice gratitude.
Stay focused on the positive so that I can recreate it.
Be open to whatever comes my way so that I can take advantage of it.

How do you deal with changes and uncertainties?

4 thoughts on “Patience

  1. Ah yes, the start of the school year is so different for some of us. I was a “Newcomer” teacher for two years – a job I loved and hope to return to next year. While everyone else was writing out name tags and planning activities, I was running around trying to identify those students who most needed help with language and culture. Then, once they were identified, I had to figure out how to carve out time for everyone without infringing on Gym or Math or lunch.
    “It gets easier” isn't exactly what I want to say to you. You just learn to roll with it better with each passing month.
    Good luck!


  2. Elisa, being an ESL teacher is the best!!!!!!!! I love my job! Feel free to contact me if you would like to have company on your journey in the ESL world! And yes, staying positive is essential.


  3. Hi Laura,
    Yes, your comments pretty much describes what it's like for me right now except as the new kid on the block I am not yet running around figuring out which are the kids that require some kind of ESL services, either push in or pull out although my school is more supportive of the push in model. Actually, yes, it does get easier and I'm finding that my attitude has a lot to do with that. Thank you for your words of wisdom.


  4. Hi Jaana,
    Yes, I would love to connect. Thanks for the offer! Although the other ESL teachers at my school are great, I strongly believe in expanding my PLN beyond my current school site. I will contact you, soon.


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