Do you know how I feel each time I watch a teacher on YouTube? I feel like a crappy teacher. They make it look so easy, so natural. And look at the students ! They are so well behaved, they respond to verbal and non verbal cues, they rarely have side conversations, they answer a myriad of questions without ever getting distracted or bored. Surely, I must be a crappy teacher because I can’t get my students to do/be like that.
If you feel like me, here are five reminders to help us change our mindset:
1. Teachers usually post stuff they are proud of.
So, here is a 3 min excerpt of me providing rather poor input to my students (prior any formal training on how to provide CI, ca. 2013). Watch as I use isolated vocab words, barely any language in context, stubbornly refuse to translate the words “viande” (meat) and “oeuf” (egg), and instead waste everyone’s time by using gestures and sound effects while my poor students keep asking me what “viande” means. This is where I was in my journey at the time. I would not allow myself to speak English. This was a necessary step in order to be where I am now. I am on a journey. Teachers on YouTube are on a journey. We are all on a journey.
2. Where Teachers teach matters as much as how skilled they are at what they do.
Here are three videos of Story Listening at two different schools. You don’t have to watch the whole thing but upon watching a minute or so of each, in which video do I look like a better teacher?
Here is a video Story Listening with a class of 25 7th graders at school #1.
Here is a video of Story Listening with a class of 25 Kindergartners at school #1.
Here is a video of Story listening with a class of 20 8th graders at school #2.
Actually, I am the same teacher in all three videos, not better, not worse because these videos were taken within months of each other. Granted, I did have a lot more stories behind my belt in the last video. But that is not the reason why kids are quiet and attentive in video #3.
In fact, I posted these Story Listening videos from both schools on my YouTube channel because I wanted to show that kids have different ways of being engaged with stories. A quiet and attentive class (video #3) is impressive but a class that reacts out loud to your story (video #1 and #2) is really really fun and rewarding too!
3. How many kids are in the class and how long s/he has been with these kids is a super big deal.
Relationships are not built in a day. Enough said.
4. There has most likely been PD, practice, sweat, tears, and maybe even blood before arriving to this particular video.
I have been told that when I do Story Listening, I “make it look easy” but the truth is when I started transitioning to this method, I practiced every night at home. I scripted everything, I practiced my drawings, I practiced my pace, I practiced with my husband, I practiced with my kids. Until the day I felt comfortable with doing a little less practice, and a little less, and a little less, until I was finally ready to fly with minimum prep.
5. And finally, as the insightful Justin Slocum Bailey reminded me: “I am enough for my students.”
These five reminders have really helped me to be grateful for people who share their stuff, to continue watching teachers on YouTube, and to learn from them without feeling (too) insecure. I hope they will help you too!