One Never Knows…

November 8, 2012

Dear students, a big warm thank you for your patience with my forgetfulness and distraction! I’m hopeful that I’ll focus eventually, and stop being concerned about issues which are not relevant, or even important, for learning like finishing textbooks!

Although I have always believed that succeeding in the Learning Enterprise depends on three key factors — on the teacher, on individual work at home by students and on collective collaborative work in class –, I have to say that I’m half the teacher I should or can be. I’ve realized that this week. And I’ve also realized why: it is because of my anger and disappointment (which I was trying to ignore or hide) with the harm education policies have done to public education in the past two decades. At a more personal level, technically speaking, I’m recovering from exhaustion — because I have worked so hard in the past 15 years to get this job (Teachers’ State Exams) while doing my best to contribute to the defense of Quality Education for All — that’s what Public Education in Spain stands for, in my view — while fighting teachers’ and students’ technophobia by developing projects on the exploitation of the Internet for teaching and learning purposes (against all odds!) — all of this precious effort to get to the point where I feel I cannot keep teaching in or fighting for public education because it’s exhausting, the policies harmful, irrational, absurd, ill-focused, lacking love and respect for people, culture, and knowledge… The policies closing on teachers, suffocating them!

These days people are saying the rate of suicides has increased because of the crisis (mostly, because of evictions). Well, I feel quite certain that teachers are not in that group, but I wonder how many are using antidepressants and tranquilizers, how many have ended up in one of the worst illnesses, depression, and how very many are having a hard time to scratch some energy and enthusiasm to succeed in conducting a learning situation. Being a teacher is not being a tool to voice a textbook. Teachers are always learning. They spend zillions of hours a year away from their workplaces working for students and for their school. It’s one of the most complex jobs I know of. It’s complex, and it’s hard but it’s also beautiful. Plus, you can wear whatever you like! 😀 And in my experience — and I’ve met many teachers — teachers feel good when students succeed in learning. That’s the most important reward, in terms of them getting enough energy to be teachers!

Anyway! — it’s true that people help people. When you feel low, doing things with people helps! Working together in the safe space of a classroom makes hardship bearable, and life more cheerful, interesting, lovable and exciting! This week I’ve had the joy to see a few students coming to the Speaking Test Area (especially in Intermedio 2) — love bubbles — and this is giving me the energy to put together some podcast episodes, which I hope will help you all! Then I have the feeling most of you are very interested in your learning, and eager to work with people in class. I’m also surprised and delighted because many of you have managed to do your Writing Assignments… 🙂 So this is food for a teacher! A most nutritious meal! And I’m hopeful I’ll manage to focus and inspire you and assist you in your learning, so that passing an exam becomes a very little thing as compared to all you have been able to learn and experience in this Peace Zone classrooms are!

Life is full of surprises, really. You think you know yourself, and then you just know part of what you are capable of doing! You think you know things, and life is always there, giving you big and small surprises!

And I think something is burning in the kitchen!!


  1. Hi Michelle. I know how you feel right know. Most people think teachers have a great job with a lot of vacancies, a good schedule and even a good salary. They don’t know how stress can be to manage all learning processes, to help students with different levels and, finally, to handle different expectations… challenges arrives and you haven’t enough time to face them.
    If you’re a responsible teacher, if you’re involved with your student’s learning, it’s so difficult to manage your disappointment because politicians are destroying Public Education. The more effort you do, less reward you have.
    As a teacher like you, I only expect my students’ learning. Nothing but learning gives me more vitamins to go teaching on instead of give up.
    I think you’re doing a great effort to teach us; now we have to do the same as well. I don’t care about the exam anymore. I’d like to learn English but I had recognized that I haven’t all time I need. Maybe my time to learn English is over.
    Meanwhile, I’ll get my car twice a week to go to my classes with you. You’re a great teacher, the best English teacher I had ever.

    Best regards

  2. Oh, Víctor! I’m lost for words! Thanks for your analysis and your kind words! I do appreciate! I’m moved, actually!

    Your English is awesome, and you are a true lifelong learner, like me! 🙂 That’s why we’re never bored, right? 😉

    Big hug!

  3. And the way you relate to learning English says a great deal about the kind of professional you are! Learning and Helping to Learn are so closely intertwined, right? 🙂

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