Monday, January 12, 2015

Week 18: How I Get Unstuck

I will start with a simple truth. I have not really worked to get "unstuck" this time around. Sometimes it just feels easier to start fresh and make improvements the next time.

Today's #flipclass chat has helped me to realize that I think the root cause of feeling stuck has been getting bogged down by the unmotivated around me. And the funny thing is, that is a pretty small minority, really. I also have people around who have worked their butts off for me. So why has the negative had such an impact on my actions? This is, of course, the unanswered question.

I think I used the nearing end of the semester  to become a light at the end of the tunnel to resort to looking forward to a fresh start with a new group (and a new course to flip!). Maybe that is not so much of a a bad thing anyway. We are at a point in the semester now where we are in review and culminating mode, so there is not much "new" to act on.

We have to remember that there will never be a perfect way to do something. There will never be a 100% buy-in to everything that we do in a class. There will never be an entire group of completely motivated people. But the drive to work toward the 100% will always be a part of the hopes for many educators so sometimes we will get dragged down by negativity. We are human, so sometimes we will be unmotivated, or need a break.

So, in the end, I will seek to embrace the "stuck" moments and remember that they are part of the process. They are what lead us to do some real reflection and make the bigger decisions about our classes.

Now, my fear is that I have too much motivation for the new semester and it will lead to little sleep (which inevitably leads to burn out...and the cycle begins again). But hey, one day I will find better ways to use my time and sleep will become important again ;)


  1. Great post! I think we all keep looking forward to the next semester and that is "a good thing".

    I have a few of repeat students who failed my course last semester and will be interested to see how it goes with them this semester. Will I successfully engage them better this time around? We'll see.

  2. Isn't it interesting how only a few students can make you feel like things are going badly, or that you want a new class, or that you are stuck. I, too, have a new semester of kids starting next Tuesday, and frankly, I love the relationships that I have build with this group, that I don't want them to leave. Getting a new set of students will be fun, but I want to keep the old set too!

  3. For Andrew and I, one of our running jokes is that one of us will say "I can't believe how awful class was! The kids did NOTHING. So frustrating!" and the other person will respond, "So, how many kids are doing nothing?" And inevitably, it's usually less than five kids. Out of 30.

    It's really easy to lose perspective and feel overwhelmed, because teaching IS overwhelming! But you're right - getting stuck forces us to reevaluate, reconsider, and revise. Which is ultimately good...but frustrating, still.

  4. Thanks for the comments, guys. You all made me say "Me, too!" at least once. I had a great convo with some of my Grade 11s today about exams, stress, and university. I will miss that class as a whole, just have to ignore the ones that did not do the work and definitely had a better day today.