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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?

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A Confession

I have a confession to make.

I want to write a book. 
A professional book. 
I think I have a lot to say. 
I think others could benefit from my experience.
After all, I have been an educator for over 30 years.

But, what could I possibly say that hasn't been said before?
What new knowledge could I add to the table?
Who would even bother to read what I have to say?

These are questions borne of fear.
Fear of not being good enough.
Fear of not being able to complete such a daunting project. 
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Fear that I won't make time.
Fear that I'll run out of time.

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You can do it!Write for yourself.
But the message that is propelling me forward is this one: 
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Today's post is short and sweet because I just got back from a night of playing Bunko with friends. 

I share some questions I'm grappling with in my classroom. 

No answers. 

Just questions.

(1) What purpose do math stations serve in my classroom?

(2) How can I continue to engage writers without overwhelming them or me?

(3) How can I determine if my tangled readers are learning to be better readers from the books they choose to read?

(4) How can I strike a balance between student choice and making sure my students learn what they need to learn at any given time?

(5) Am I demanding too much from my students?

As I find responses and solutions to these issues, I will post some ideas on my blog.

Any thoughts are more than welcomed!