“So much of our frustrations and stress arise from incongruity- incongruity between what we think, feel or say is important and how we actually spend our time” (Cirocco, p. 52)

Isn’t that the truth.   I don’t know about you, but in my teaching practice I seem to be spending more and  more time doing what I think isn’t important and less and less time doing what I think is important. That’s so frustrating.  I don’t want my teaching practice to be distracted by the frustrations of having to do things that I don’t value, so I plan to find a way to match my values to more of my actions in my teaching practice.

I have to be realistic. There’ll be forms I have to complete, meetings I’ll have to attend, and PD sessions that aren’t optional. Oh yes, there’ll be hall supervisions I can’t escape . But, I think I can find  a way to spend most of my time doing what  I actually think, feel and say is important.

The first thing I have to do is clarify what I value as a teacher and decide how these values can inform my teaching practice so that I’m not stressed and frustrated. Now, I remember doing value clarification exercises years ago when I was a newbie teacher or more likely during teacher training, but I haven’t really sat down and made a list of what I value as a teacher  in a long, long time. I think I know, but maybe there’ll be surprises.  Maybe I can’t walk my talk in the classroom anymore because of all the changes and the directives from the-powers-that- be . What do I do then? Any ideas?

Cirocco’s book Take the Step: The Bridge Will Be There offers guidance on how you can eliminate or more realistically reduce the incongruity between what you say you believe and what you do.  I find it ironic just as I was thinking about refining my teaching practice to avoid frustration and stress as much as possible, I find a book just lying on a table at my local bookstore that I can use to help me do this. I’m just reading the part near the beginning of the book  about choosing core values and using them to create a compass to guide your actions.

Usually, there’s more than one way to do anything.  Have you found a way to avoid frustration and stress at work that allows you to remain true to your values? I’d love to know if you have or are in the process of finding a way that lets you walk your talk at work.


Cirocco, Grace. (2001) Take the Step: The Bridge Will Be There. Toronto. On: HarperCollins Publishers LTD.

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My husband Kurt, who is not a teacher, made an excellent point about teachers the other day. He told me that a teaching staff is like a sports team. The rookie players that sign a new contract with a team do not get always get to play the positions that they want. I had mentioned that I wondered why new hot shot teachers( I mean that very respectfully because some of our rookie teachers are really amazing) get hired in June to play a certain position, I mean teach a certain subject and then find in September they’re not assigned to play their favourite position after all. In fact, rookie teachers might be teaching a subject they’re not even all that familiar with. Kurt argued that the rookie members on the team are there to support the team. That may mean getting the less desirable assignments. They may be future most valuable players, but right now they are rookies and have to learn the ropes and earn the respect of the veteran players and management.

I’d never thought about it that way before.

As a teacher I often use games to  teach or review facts.   Games make learning fun, even painless.  I’m always on the look out for new games.  Imagine my surprise when I read 

LONDON, ONT. – The public health unit in London, Ont., is using comic book-themed superheroes and a villain named the evil “Sperminator” to teach teens about safe sex.

Visitors to their website can play the game “Adventures in Sex City,” by choosing one of the characters: Wonder Vag, Willy the Kid, Power Pap or Captain Condom.

The goal is to then correctly answer 25 questions about sexual health and defeat the evil Sperminator, a character with penises for arms.  (healthzone.ca)

When I took a look at it,  I’m not sure what to think. What do you think?

There is a warning when you go to play the game that it is intended for mature teen audiences, but  aren’t immature teens engaging in sex and need to know this info if they choose to be sexuality active?

If teens are going to engage in sex,  it is important that they know about safe sex. I’m not advocating teens have sex, but if they are and many do, I want them to know about safe sex. As adults we owe them that.




In my last post, I suggested that students  spending 53 hours on the new media, mainly the internet, was too much of a good thing.  I argued that spending that much time on-line would lead to a totally unbalance life.  Tracy and MIrjan’s comments caused me to pause and reflect on my own life and the balance I  strive to achieve.  Let me tell you, it didn’t take long for me to start LOL.

Here’s why I started laughing out loud at myself.

  • I love to read books, magazines, newspapers, cereal boxes etc.  Now I download books, newspapers, and magazines from the net and read them on my laptop, netbook or iPod.
  • I’m always behind in my reading. So many books and so little time.  Now I catch up on my reading by listening to ebooks I download. (No more excuses about using the elliptical trainer boring)
  • I love doing jigsaw and crossword puzzles.  Now I down load jigsaw puzzles and do them on my laptop or netbook.
  • I love listening to the radio. Now I listen to it  on my laptop, netbook or iPod.
  • I love trivia so I was always consulting my set of encyclopedias.  Now I ask google my questions and download the answers.
  • I love to knit but find it difficult to find patterns I like in my local yarn shop.  Now I find patterns I like on-line  and  download them.  Many of the patterns are free.
  • I find shopping mostly a frustrating experience so now I do more and more  of my shopping  on-line.
  • I love learning new things so I’m forever downloading podcasts and videos.

Are you laughing out loud with me yet?

Those are just the things I do on-line that aren’t work related.  I spend hours on line looking for ways to engage my more reluctant/struggling students.  I’ve downloaded all kinds of teaching tools and learning tools. I spend writing this blog and reading many others.

Tracy suggested I consider the new media in all its  forms as part of students’  lives and not something  separate from their lives,  something that takes away from their lives or something that creates a huge imbalance in their lives.  I guess I’d have to say that the new media is a really big part of my life, a really valuable tool that helps me keep my life balanced.


Image thanks to mahalo





















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